Braids are a staple protective style for Black women. They’re convenient, low-maintenance, and come in an endless variety of styles—like Fulani braids. While the style has been around for centuries (more on that below), they’re still hugely popular for all the fun and imaginative ways you can wear them. Think bright colors, unique patterns, and a mixture of accessories in all different shapes and sized.
Here’s a quick primer on what you should know about them.
What are Fulani braids?
As celebrity hairstylist Susy Oludele—who’s responsible for some of the phenomenal styles you’ve seen on Solange—explains, Fulani braids are a mixture of cornrows and box braids and can be worn with or without beads. Most commonly, the style—which gets its name from the Fulani people in West Africa, where the braids originated—is created with cornrows in the front and box braids in the back.
The look has been modernized recently—often seen on red carpets, music videos, and in everyday life—“but it has been worn for many, many years now,” says Oludele. Symbolizing not just its African roots, Fulani braids can also represent “social status, wealth, religion, or marital status,” Oludele says, adding that “braids have always been part of our culture.”
Ready to ask your stylist for them? Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Fulani looks and braided hairstyles—from neon green beads to platinum blonde braids.