The Editors
Updated on January 16, 2024

Braided hairstyles are witnessing a true renaissance moment, and one style that holds a fresh perspective in the midst of the braid craze is the rope braid. You are certainly familiar with old favorites like the French braid and the Dutch braid, but the “rope” is definitely the road less traveled.

So, what is a rope braid and why it is so popular? The rope braid is, in fact, a false braid, a plait made out of two twisted hair strands. It has become one of the most beloved hairstyles because it is super-simple. You just have to divide your hair into several parts and twist them (how to twist depends on the hairstyle chosen).

Agree that this sounds interesting and fresh. A lot of us are tired of wearing regular 3-strand plaits but are afraid of trying complicated French and Dutch plaits. We need something quick, cute, and comfortable. Different rope braids are a perfect answer to all our needs. Plus, they are regularly sported by models on Paris and New York catwalks and by our favorite celebs.

How to Do a Rope Braid: The Easiest DIY Possible

There are a lot of rope braid styles, and for each of them you will need specific skills. However, there are plaiting techniques that even the beginner will be able to handle.

To make a basic rope braid, follow the instructions in this step-by-step tutorial:

  1. Comb your hair and tie a ponytail.
  2. Separate your pony into two sections.
  3. Twist the right section clockwise, the left one counterclockwise.
  4. Cross the two twisted sections over one another tightly multiple times.
  5. Secure the braid using an elastic band.

If you want to upgrade this basic look, you can make it tight and sleek or slightly loosen it for a trendy, messy effect. Change the position of your ponytail, for a high, low, or side rope braid. You can also make a bun by wrapping the twisted braid around itself. Need more options? Hide the elastic band by wrapping some hair around the ponytail’s base for the office, or decorate the braid with a colorful or glamorous accessory for festive events. Be creative!

Rope Braid Styles

Rope braids are versatile; they can look plain or intricate, worn down or in updos. They work well for all hair types and textures. The following pictures will give you ideas for different types of rope braids and how to incorporate them into your favorite updos and half-up styles. Check out the images below to find a match that is right for you!

1. Easy French Rope Braid

This is a variation of a regular French braid, but much easier; it takes only 2 minutes to recreate. You look put-together, your hair is away from your face, and the hairstyle pairs well with both casual and formal outfits.

A Quick Guide on How to Do a Rope French Braid

To copy this modern French twist rope braid, read this tutorial:

  1. Brush your hair back and separate the front section.
  2. Divide the front section into 2 parts, cross them one over the other 2 times.
  3. Make sure there is no hair sticking out.
  4. Add some hair from the sides to both strands, smooth them out.
  5. Twist these parts one over the other.
  6. Repeat until you reach the nape.
  7. Twist the last 2 parts of hair a few times.
  8. Take an elastic band, tie the rest of the hair into a low ponytail.
  9. Make a messy bun or leave a ponytail, wrapping a piece of hair around the base.

2. Intricate Rope Braid Ponytail

The easiest way to experiment with a rope twist is on a tried and true favorite: the ponytail. This simple style elevates the classic look. Try it for your next party or formal event.

To make the rope braid ponytail, comb your hair back, and take two front sections. Twist them into a basic rope following our tutorial above, secure with a clear elastic. Now tie your hair into a low pony, leaving one thin hair section from the side. Wrap that piece around the ponytail’s base.

3. Double Rapunzel Side Rope Braid

Switch up your normal hair routine by trying a style worn by your favorite childhood princess. While this ‘do may look complicated, it essentially involves combining two smaller side rope braids into one large 4-strand rope with a wrap at the base of the main braid.

To master that chain link braid with a rounded, 3D effect, divide your low ponytail into 4 equal parts, and place them between your left hand fingers. To start the braid, place section 2 between the thumb and index fingers of the right hand, section 4 between index and middle fingers, section 1 between the middle and ring fingers, and section 3 between ring and baby fingers. Repeat the same process from hand to hand by placing section 2 between thumb and forefinger on the left hand, section 4 between index and middle fingers, section 1 between the middle and ring fingers, and section 3 between the ring and little fingers. Continue this technique to the bottom of the ponytail. Secure the braid with a small elastic and “pancake” it a little bit.

Watch a tutorial for twisted rope braids with the same 3D effect here.

4. Side Braid for Long Hair

Add some creative flair to the casual rope braid by blending two forehead framing plaits into one and finishing the look as an extra long side braid. You can either braid tightly for a neat, put-together look or add flyaways for a chic, messy style.

Find out how to create this hairstyle on The Freckled Fox.

5. Messy Rope Braid Updo

The creator of this hair masterpiece says it is a perfect solution for days when you need a crown. So true! The double rope braid updo, like the one pictured here, is perfect as a festival hairstyle.

Two loose side rope twists are combined with a stylish, messy fishtail at the top. Add a low bun at the nape, or end the hairstyle with a knot, a pony, or a tuck.

6. Updo with 2-Strand Braid and Curls

Rope twist braids provide an excellent opportunity to spice up a well-known, romantic style: the updo. Using the 2-strand braid method on freshly curled hair, braid a rope that wraps around your head on one side. Pull the ends of the braid and unbraided hair to the crown and secure with bobby pins.

7. Partial Updo with Small Twists

Need a solution for second day hair? Look no further than a rope twist. What can be easier than twisting two sections of hair on each side, bringing them back, and securing with a hair elastic? The freely hanging strands are better left with their natural wave.

A full tutorial here.

8. Rope Twist Updo with Accessories

While color is always a great way to upgrade your rope braid styles, it is not the only way to diversify your look. Clip in a fun hair accessory like a flower or unusual pin and let your personal style shine through. The roll with French rope twists is a perfect foundation for accessories.

The basic technique of this plaiting is described on Cute Girls Hairstyles.

9. Loose 4-Strand Braid

If the length of your hair allows you to experiment with different styles, you definitely must try this voluminous, 3D, 4-strand rope braid. Not sure you can manage it? There are many Youtube video tutorials that can help you learn new plaiting techniques and make your style even more interesting.

We advise watching this tutorial to get the idea of 3D plaiting.

10. Pink Rope-Braided Style

Embrace your inner fantasy character by adding a pastel color to your hair and dress up your rope braid, French plait, and other fancy styles. On longer lengths, color creates a “wow” effect sure to leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet!

11. Casual Braided Combination

Combining a few different types of braids in one hairstyle always promises a creative result, especially when you work with highlighted hair. Add a messy finish, gently pulling at the braids for a loose, effortless look.

12. Loose Twist with Hair Wrap

The impressive style you see in this photo doesn’t actually need a tutorial. You can easily achieve this yourself or with the help of a friend, even if you don’t have any styling skills. Pay attention to the extra fullness and looseness of the braid. You will need some hair spray to keep the style from falling apart.

The process of creating this hairstyle is shown here.

13. Long Hair with Multiple Braids

Adding multiple rope braids to one look is certainly a showstopper! This style is great for those with medium length or long hair and can be achieved in a variety of ways. Simply create rope twists throughout the hair and bring them into one braid or ponytail.

14. Wavy Bob with Twists

Add interest to a wavy bob by making a few rope twists across the crown. Hide the ends somewhere under the shaggy waves. Make the look your own by experimenting with 3-strand and 4-strand twists.

Read instructions how to create rope twists on bob hair here.

15. Rope Twists with Straight Hair

Healthy black hair with bright underlights looks gorgeous even without any styling, but you can always add an interesting twist to your eye-catching locks. Two rope plaits on both sides create a simple and interesting hairstyle you can do yourself within minutes.

16. Rope and Fishtail Braid

Show off your passion for popular braided styles by combining two of your favorites. There are no limits or rules! If you have the patience, try doing a partial rope braid that transforms into a fishtail.

Watch a step-by-step DIY.

17. Dramatic Rope Twisted Braid

Pump up the drama of your look with this bold braid style. Reminiscent of the Mohawk, the edgy style is easily achieved by simply pulling all the hair towards the center of your head and creating a 2-strand twist all the way down. Use bobby pins throughout to keep those stubborn pieces in place if necessary.

More casual variant of this hairstyle is shown here.

18. Renaissance Braids

A blend of 2-strand and 4-strand rope braids creates a truly artful style you can surprise your friends or someone special with. Adorned with pieces of baby’s breath, this can even be worn to a wedding. Creating loose curls with a heated tool and forming four separate twists that lead into one larger braid is what it takes to achieve this old-world glamour.

Watch one more idea how to make a pretty rope braid downdo.

19. Pastel Colored Updo with Rope Twist

This delicate rope braid hairstyle is lovely and interesting from all angles. It adopts many elements and includes different textures along with highlighted hair color, but still doesn’t seem overwhelming.

20. Black and Brown Senegalese Twists

If you are seeking a protective style to support the health of your natural hair, consider getting rope twist braids. With proper care, they will last for weeks, plus, smaller braids will give you almost the same versatility as straightened hair: wear them half up, pulled into a ponytail or bun, or create a large French braid.

A very detailed Senegalese twists tutorial.

With so many varieties to choose from, learning the technique for rope braids is the easy part! This braided style is a unique twist on classic braided looks, and it’s appropriate for many different occasions. Remember, adding accessories or color to your braid styles is a great way to take your style from mundane to masterpiece!

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