If you’re not old enough to have heard of actress Bo Derek, you’re probably at least old enough to know who singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is. Aside from being stately, beautiful, and successful women, these gorgeous celebrities have something else in common: they’re both known for their classic Fulani braids.
What Are Fulani Braids: History and Styles
So, are you wondering about the origin of this hairstyle? In the first place it’s associated with an African ethnic group known as the Fula, who live throughout much of the Western and Eastern parts of the continent. Fulani braids are usually styled with unique patterns of thin-to-medium tightly plaited braids that are close to the head and taper into hair extensions of all lengths. They are sometimes called “Bo braids”, or simply “braids with beads”.
Below you’ll find 20 of our favorite braided styles to consider wearing, if you want to sport an authentic Fulani hairstyle.
#1: Wrapped Ponytail with In-Front-Of-the-Ear Braids
Strategically-placed bronze hair cuffs near the cheekbones are the way to go. Combine them with symmetrical curved head braids and extra-long golden blonde extensions that pop out of the wrapped ponytail. It’s like your hair is saying: “Check me out! Here I am!”
#2: Nubian Princess Fulani Braid Pullback
One braid straight down the center of the part line, and a smattering of hair cuffs placed at different points in the design, make it one of the most classic braid patterns you can wear. It’s a perfect “conservative” choice for the confident woman who is just beginning to experiment with Fulani hairstyles.
#3: Super-Long Dark Braids with Cuffs
If you’re a Fulani braid pro, you won’t hesitate to commit to a thick and luscious headful of braids. Wine-colored extensions and a menagerie of hair cuffs throughout the weave will show the world you’re a woman to be reckoned with. A single dropped jewel at the forehead is a perfect way to accent the hairstyle.
#4: Cornrows with Artistic Beaded Twisted Bun
It’s not simply a hairstyle – it’s a work of art! A crowning collection of angled braids have been backswept and gathered together in a loose, twisted bun that cascades elegantly down the back in a vertical “waterfall.” Beads of many shapes and sizes are strategically placed in the bun and adorn the end of each braid.
Related Post: 20 Super Hot Cornrow Braid Hairstyles
#5: Two-Toned Fulani Braids in a Top Bun
Sometimes you just can’t have your braids loose when you’re running around doing lots of errands. When that happens, just sweep them up in a twisted updo and be done with it. The top-knot bun is a fantastic option for the mature corporate woman, and it’s easy to create based on most Fulani hairstyles. The dramatic copper color guarantees that the braided bun will stand out from amongst the rest.
#6: Extra-Long Blue Rainbow Braids
Bold, beautiful and 50 “Shades of Blue”; it’s a Fulani braid style that’s a head-turner for obvious reasons. Since there are oversized blue-glass beads and extra-long rainbow blue extensions, make sure to keep your clothing and accessories in neutral colors so the braids can make an appearance on their own.
#7: Classic Fulani Braids with Loose Cascading Plaits
Soft, simple, and neat, a cascade of medium-width braids is just what you need if you want a professional Fulani hairstyle. The loose and uniform extensions are a light golden brown, which means that they’ll match perfectly with any color of business suits or casual attire.
#8: Youthful Fulani Crown with Horizontal Braids
When you’ve done Fulani braid styles for what seems like forever, you’re probably looking for a complete change of routine. The beautiful plaiting in the top section of the head gives it a beautiful and elegant touch. It’s a break from the norm and a unique twist that will have you feeling like a new woman!
#9: Shoulder-Length Loose Curls with Beaded Mini-Fulani Braids
Can’t you just picture Oprah Winfrey wearing such a sumptuous Fulani hairstyle? It’s an elegant showstopper that works like a charm for the woman who has the facial features to pull it off. It’s exotic and feminine, while at the same time showing off your bold and courageous side.
#10: Ponytail Wrapped in Copper Wire and Beads
Nothing looks more fantastic than a Fulani braid ponytail that features copper wire and chunky beads. Dainty and fashion-forward, the upswept braids are gathered towards the crown and adorned with swirls of wire. The Japanese calligraphy printed on the thick beads adds the final touch.
#11: Artistic Fulani Braid Crown with Shell Adornments
If you want to get complete strangers to stop you in the street and ask you about your Fulani inspired braids, go no further. The geometric pattern of the braid crown is a real attention-getter, and the extra-long golden extensions tapped with tiny seashells will make you feel like you’ve gone to the beach, all year long.
#12: Simple Center-Part Fulani Braids with a Forehead Bead
If you’re in search of a simple, traditional Fulani hairstyle, you’ve just found it. Why not try a headful of gorgeous backswept braids and a dainty center braid trimmed with one solitary jewel bead. Two over-the-ear backwards braids offer a pop of surprise, just when you weren’t expecting it!
#13: Cleopatra-Style Natural Braids with Beads
You’ll be “walking like an Egyptian” when you choose to wear a shoulder-length Fulani bob. Sleek, feminine, and full of fancy details; only a confident lady like you can pull it off. Unlike the majority of Fulani braid hairstyles, these heavily beaded braids drop straight down the sides, beautifully framing the face.
Related Post: 20 Ideas for Bob Braids in Ultra Chic Hairstyles
#14: Side Top-Knot Ponytail with Copper Wire Wraps
Sassy and playful, the wrap-around top-knot ponytail offers the wearer a fabulous combination of high-end sophistication and casual frivolity. The simple lines make the hairstyle quite different to other Fulani braids with beads. Copper wire wrapped around the length of several braids completes the overall jeweled effect.
#15: Minimalistic Fulani Braids with Geometric Crown
Squared-off braids make the Geometric Crown a fantastic variation of the traditional Fulani hairstyle. Straightforward and direct, there’s no better choice for an office or a conservative work environment. Three gold-tone hair cuffs add just the right boost of sophistication.
#16: Top-Knot Ponytail with Pink Extensions
Like the song says: “Girls just wanna have fun!” And you’ll have more fun than you can handle sporting these waist-length pink hair extensions that are weaved into a classic Fulani wrapped ponytail. No need for beads or other adornments, the color is the shining star here. Fun and frivolous, it’s a sizzling hairdo you can’t help but show off.
#17: Geometric Tribal Fulani Pattern with Curly Wisps
You might say it’s the super-fine curly wisps that grace the forehead of the Fulani inspired braids that make such a strong impact. We call it “The Full Package” where geometry meets femininity, and femininity meets art. Take a deep bow (or curtsy) and show off your Fulani crown to all your awestruck admirers.
#18: Swooped-Up Playful Ponytail with Cuffs and Beads
A playful ponytail works as a great option for active girls and teens. Easy-to-maintain and manage, the Fulani ponytail keeps its shape while you’re playing your favorite sport, or just going out for an afternoon with friends. Scattered hair cuffs and beads are optional, especially if you want to keep the braids featherlight and comfortable.
#19: Top-Knot Bun with Cascade of Thin Braids
A signature hairstyle that shows off your graceful neck line, the top-knot bun with a cascade of braids offers you the best of both worlds. A classic half updo with jet-black extensions that fall to the waist are all that’s needed for a romantic dinner and drinks with that special friend.
#20: Classic Fulani Braids with Massive Ivory Beads
One of the most traditional ways to wear Fulani braids is choosing a splash of subtle color. The copper red extensions are weaved throughout the entire length of the super-long braids. As if that weren’t enough, bright ivory-colored “tusk” beads bring the sepia tone down to a level that matches with every item of clothing in your closet.
So, now you know: when you’re looking to take your traditional Fulani braids to a whole new level of style and pizzazz, you’ve got 20 great new ideas to make it happen. Let us know what you think, and of course, send us pictures of your own Fulani inspired braid creations!