Braid hairstyles are great for keeping your hair off your face while keeping you chic and cool. Also called as the inverted French braid, reverse braid, and outward braid, Dutch braid is known for its look as if they’re laid on top of the hair. A great thing, this hairstyle is perfect for special occasions, dinner dates, weddings, and even for gym. So, keep on reading for the 85 Dutch braid inspirations to give you an effortlessly chic look.
What Is Dutch Braid?
There are lots of braid hairstyles that look similar, but Dutch braid is known for its braided look as if it is laid on top of your hair. More than that, it has a three-dimensional look and more volume than traditional braids, making it perfect for women with thin hair. Also, Dutch braids work with any type of hair whether you have straight, curly, or even kinky hair, along with shorter and longer hair. Dutch braids are sometimes called as boxer braids, especially when two parallel braids are created on the hair.
Do you know that the Dutch braid has the same braiding technique as French braid, but you’ll cross the strands below instead of on top? Just like French braid, a Dutch braid is a three-strand braid, but the braiding technique is inverted, so the final look will align along your scalp. Dutch braid is also called boxer braids by some, since it is also the go-to hairstyles of athletes and women for workouts. However, the boxer braids is about having two parallel Dutch braids worn on the head.
We all know that French braids started thousand years ago, but Dutch braids started to look like a new hair trend when someone not a black woman sported it. Remember, Dutch braid is only the reverse of French braid that started thousand years ago. Unfortunately, cultural appropriation comes into play with this braid. After all, French braid or Dutch braid sounds more appealing than African braids, regardless of the hairstyle origin.
A Brief History of Hair Braiding and Dutch Braids
Some think that Dutch braids are emblematic of Dutch, but that is not the case. We know that Dutch braid is the reverse of French braid, and French braid isn’t French at all. In fact, French themselves don’t even claim the French braid their own, so why it is named after their country? Do you even know that hair braiding was popular in Egypt and royalty even wore wigs? But according to experts, Eurasia isn’t the origin of these braids, but instead North Africa.
Do you know that Africans have been wearing these three-strand braids for thousands of years? This is evident on their rock art, especially at the mountain range in Algeria where you can see carvings on the wall about a woman wearing braids. According to history, wearing hair braids in Africa can be traced back as far as 3500 BCE. In fact, sporting braids is a social event for African women, for where they practiced hair braiding while they were still young, making it a social practice till they turn adults.
More than that, hair braiding is an opportunity to socialize for African women. In fact, their hair means a lot for them, especially when a certain type of braid represents their tribe, identity, and culture. Also, hair braiding has a cultural function for some African tribes. For instance, only married women that belong to the Hopi tribe wear their hair braided, making the braids more traditional, cultural, and personal to African women.
According to experts, braids are one of humanity’s oldest hair inventions. Do you know that braids can be spotted on Celtic warriors, ancient Sparta, and women of Sung Dynasty? Aztec women in the Americas even decorate their braids with strips of colorful cloth, making them more stylish. Yes, hair braiding is an ancient hairstyle practice that can be traced back from 3500 to 4000 BC. When it comes to renaissance Europe, French were believed to braid their hair just to keep it clean.
However, French braids probably got associated with France because the country has been connected to fashion, so as Dutch braids. If you have a colonial mentality like most people, you’ll find something associated with France or Dutch as fancy whether it is a hairstyle, fashion trend, lifestyle and such. Our love affair with everything French, Dutch, and European play an important role on what looks fashionable and not. Do you know that French braid is also known as French plait?
When it comes to European and Asian countries, hair braiding is only a form of art and fashion to make you look stylish—not something associated with culture or tradition. Some people just find it practical, especially if they don’t have the time to prepare their hair or simply want to keep their hair off their face in a more stylish way. Yes, in our modern times, sporting Dutch braids or French braids is more about function of style, and sometimes practicality.
French braids and will always be called as French braids, and Dutch braids as Dutch braids. French braids aren’t from France and Dutch braids aren’t from Netherlands, but whatever you call them they will look elegant and sophisticated as the fashion-forward countries. More than that, these braids have been a huge of many cultures all around the world not only in Africa and Europe but also Egypt, Asia, and America. Like everything, braid hairstyles are evolving resulting to different variations like Dutch braids.
Difference of Dutch Braid and French Braid
French braids and Dutch braids are a three-strand braid, but the latter is a reverse for where the middle section goes under the sides, adding hair to the middle then crossing it over. Yes, the difference of the two braids is just on how you do it—Dutch braids are crossed under while French braids are crossed over. That’s the reason why the final look of French braid look like the hair blends with the rest of your hair, while the Dutch braid looks like it sits on top of your head.
A great thing, you can go for different Dutch braids to make your everyday look appealing and stylish. Some women use the Dutch braiding technique when creating more elaborate braids be it fishtail, crown braid, or even waterfall braids. Your choice of hair braiding method can always be French or Dutch, depending whether you like your braids to hug your head or make it look sitting on top. A great thing, both French and Dutch braid look great on any type of hair—thick or thin, long or short, straight or wavy.
Some hairstyles will look better when your braids are sitting on top of your head, while others will look more polished when your braids are flat. Do you know that the Dutch braid can be a great base for most hairstyles? In fact, cornrows can be formed using the hair braiding technique of Dutch braids. If you want a Victorian hairstyle, you may think of Dutch braid too, but create a headband-like braid around the top of your crown. Just experiment with Dutch braids and get the most stylish look.
Dutch Braid as a Variation of French Braids
Do you know that Dutch braid is one of the many variations of French braid? Also, cornrows are another variation of French braids—Dutch braids actually as the look feature multiple small parallel braids. If you want a more romantic look, think of fishtail braids. Do you know that a fishtail braid can be a variation of French or Dutch braid depending on how you want it to look? When it comes to the fishtail braids, you have to divide your hair into two braiding sections instead of three in French and Dutch braid.
In fact, you just need to grab a small piece in each section, passing them over the other to create the braid. Yes, the final look might feel intimidating and complicated, but it is not. Since this look is intricate, fishtail braid will look better on women with lighter hair color than ones with black hair. Do you know that this style of braid was called as “Grecian braid” in the 19th century? Think of Greek goddesses and women that are associated with the look.
What You Should Know Before Sporting Dutch Braids
It’s just easy to copy hair trends and hairstyles, thanks to tutorials and how-to guide you can find everywhere. But do you know that some hairstyles, especially Dutch braids and cornrows can sometimes be culturally offensive? However, that would depend on how you give credits to the look, or how you take some words personally. Braids became more popular, when personality Kim Kardashian and her hairstylist Jen Atkin created the look.
There might be nothing wrong boasting your Dutch braids on the social media, but be sensitive on how others will view it. Kim and Kylie embraced the cornrow hairstyle, making it look more popular and trendy than ever. However, some find it as a cultural appropriation of black culture since Caucasian women got the praise and attention while sporting the braids even though the hairstyle is deeply connected to black culture.
Also, make sure if the braid you are sporting is French, cornrow, or Dutch braid, so others won’t be offended. Know the differences of braids—French braids look flat on the head; Dutch braids have a chunky appearance; and cornrows are created with all of hair portion braided to the middle. According to a hairstylist, you can use a rattail comb to create a polished Dutch braid. A great thing, you can always pull and loosen your Dutch braids to add height or create balance in your hairstyle.
Do you still remember when an issue arose about white women naming cornrows as boxer braids? Boxer braids really look similar to black women’s cornrows and plaits. The issue became more serious when someone called it a new trend even though black women are wearing the braids thousand years ago. According to some, it’s just okay when fashion draws inspiration from the past, making old trends look like new. Think of Victorian fashion trend with high necklines, lace blouses with puff sleeves and such.
But when it comes to braided hairstyle, some say that it never went away, so it should not be called as new. Kim Kardashian’s cornrows became a hairstyle new favorite, but it created cultural issues from people that consider it timeless and personal. More than that, the difference between cornrows and Dutch braid is harder to define, especially when you’re not an expert on creating the look. The difference of the two is harder to spot compared to the big difference of Dutch braid and French braid.
It’s true that taking old trends and calling them as new will not always please everyone. Some say that it is better to call the hairstyle as French braid or Dutch braid, but avoid making them look like new, especially when lot of women are sporting the look for centuries. Remember, there are different types and variations of braids—English braids, Crown braids, French braids, Swiss braids, Dutch braids—and you should know their origin and differences before making statements on social media.
How to Do Your Own Dutch Braid
Just like any hairstyle, Dutch braids will look best when your hair is healthy and nourished. Yes, good preparation is the key to creating stunning Dutch braids. Unwashed hair is the perfect texture to start with when it comes to braiding on contrary to freshly washed hair that is harder to deal with. If you can, think of using dry shampoo to give you matte hair texture. To tame your stray hair, use a hair serum, hair oil, or a hair cream.
Once you’re done combing your hair and removing knots ant tangles, separate it into three sections and begin the reverse of traditional braiding. Most of the time, it is best to part your hair down the center to give you a symmetrical Dutch braid. If you want a half-up, half-down Dutch braid hairstyle, make sure you create the desired parting before you start braiding. If you like a Dutch braid with an off-center style, go for a side part.
According to hairstylists, you have to keep the size of your strands consistent and your Dutch braid tight to create a seamless look. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve, you can think of a polished or even messy Dutch braid. Once you finished braiding, seal your Dutch braids with a hairspray. Do you know that you can even go for a romantic twist in your Dutch braid? Simply coil your Dutch braid into a bun and place it at the back or on the top.
If you’ve got a very short hair, think of creating partial Dutch braid rather than full braids. Some women even think of mini buns or braided crown in Dutch braid that can still give you a romantic and effortlessly chic look. If you have shoulder length hair, you may go for a relaxed ponytail in Dutch braid that is perfect from Sunday brunches to early morning workout at the gym. Dutch braids will not only keep your hair off your face, but also keep you fresh and cool.
Dutch Braid Hairstyle Ideas for You
Your hairstyle is an extension of your personality, so don’t be afraid to experiment and go for something that suits you. If you’re athletic and sporty, go for boxer braids or Dutch braid with two parallel braids that will keep your hair off your face while keeping your gym look stylish. If you want a more romantic look, think of a Dutch braid with headband or a floral hair clip to give you that sassy girl look.
Before experimenting on different variations of Dutch braid, start with a classic braid that will give you a fresh, polished style. If you want to keep your hair off your face while having some free-flowing hair, go for a half up half down Dutch braid. If you want a dramatic effect on your Dutch braids, go for a single braid along your head since thicker hair will result to more voluminous braid. If you want a sporty cool look, go for skinny Dutch braids that can take you from gym to weekends.
Are you wondering why lots of women are embracing the Dutch braid? According to them, Dutch braids especially boxer braids are great for keeping your hair out your face during yoga, exercise, and workout. Compared to other hairstyles that need flat iron, curler, blow dyer, and other heat styling tools, Dutch braids are easier to do, cutting your morning routine in half. More than that, boxer braids are the quick solution if you don’t want to wash your hair every day.
If you want to do a half up half down Dutch braid, divide your hair section accordingly and curl the rest of your hair that are not braided. If you have a thin hair, add some volume with a looser Dutch braid. Dutch braid is a versatile and easy hairstyle that you can play with. Simply think of combining your Dutch braid with other elaborate braids to give you a stylish look. All you need is a little creativity and patience to make your Dutch braid stunning and unique.
Since Dutch braids will look better in lighter hair colors, why not think of getting some highlights or even pops of color on your hair? Some women even go for bold color combination in their hair just to get a unique look. If you want an edgy look, Dutch braid in a boxer style will be perfect for you, but you can still make the look more feminine if you’ll wear it with a lace dress or tulle skirt. If you want to get a whimsy look, you may think of cotton candy rainbow Dutch braids too.
It might be easier to get a sweet, romantic look with waterfall braids, fishtail braids, and crown braids, but you can make Dutch braids look more feminine too. If you’re thinking of getting Dutch braid on special occasion, add some hair accessories to revamp your look. If you want to make your hairstyle more creative, simply mix your Dutch braids with other elaborate braids—fishtail braids, crown braids, waterfall braids, English braids, Swiss braids and such.
If you’ve got that super long hair, go for Dutch braids. Remember, your long hair will look shorter when braided, making Dutch braid the perfect hack instead of cutting your hair short. More than that, you can make your Dutch braid look more feminine when they are loose and a bit messy. If you have thinner and shorter hair, think of wearing some hair extensions that will add some length and volume to your hair. If you can, opt for colored hair extensions that will add some pop of color to your look.
Do you find braided pigtails a bit juvenile? Then simply go for two Dutch braids or boxer braids instead, making the playful hairstyle more grown-up. On the other hand, getting the bohemian-inspired Dutch braids are great if you want to hit the beach or attend a music festival. Just add some floral and bandana scarf into your look, making it a bit carefree and festive. We all know that Dutch braids are ethereal, so go for metallic gold accents in your accessories to give you that Greek goddess look.
Boxer braids are edgy and effortless, but you can make the look a bit playful with bangs. Do you know that Dutch braids are also a great bridal look? The key is to make everything look ethereal, elegant, and classy so you’ll be the most beautiful bride. Remember, Dutch braid can be romantic or badass depending on how you style them. One practical reason why women go for Dutch braid is because the look is versatile, functional, and stylish.
If you are bored of your same old hairstyle, spice up your look with Dutch braids. Dutch braids have secured their place as a go-to hairstyle of fashion-forward women, so why not go for them? After all, being creative with our hairstyles and trying out something new make us cooler and more effortlessly chic than ever.