Okay so, for the past six years I thought Goddess Braids were synonymous with Crown Braids, aka Halo Braids (or milkmaid braids in certain circles 😉), because when I think of a goddess I think of someone that’s crowned in some sort of way or has a halo around her head. But that is apparently not the case.
So, what are Goddess Braids?
I searched the Internet for earliest definition I could find and found that Goddess Braids are large inverted cornrows (braided out vs in) that typically are created with added hair, according to natural hair stylist and master lock technician, Mehkat in this 2008 Expert Village video on Youtube (shout out to old school YouTube). They tend to wrap around the whole head in various patterns, creating a halo effect. Here’s a good example:
(Click to enlargen)
However, with the Black hair lexicon being as fluid as it is, Goddess Braids have come to be a catchall term for large cornrow styles, usually with under 10 braids.
Goddess braids are not to be confused with Goddess Locs or Goddess Box Braids. They’re sometimes confused with Ghana braids, but I’d say Ghana braids are Goddess Braids’ little sister. They’re similar in look, in that they start off small at the beginning of the braid and get thicker, but generally, Ghana braids tend to be smaller, like this:
Nomenclature down, let’s tackle a few common questions about Goddess Braids.
How long do Goddess Braids last?
I’ve heard some people say Goddess Braids can last up to six weeks, but I think that’s a damn lie. I’ll tell it to you straight. In general, the bigger the braid, the less likely it’ll hold up for weeks and weeks. The more tension there is on individual strands of hair, the more those strands will stay put. When big braids are created, there’s less tension on each strand. So braids are more likely to get frizzy.
Other factors that impact how long your braids last are your texture (how quickly it responds to humidity) and the products used when creating your braids. I’ve got 4C hair. I don’t love putting too much heat on it or too much Jam and mousse. So, my braids will last for, like, four days 😅. But I’d say when you’re dealing with 1 – 4 braids that have been done on blown out hair and with Jam and mouse; you sleep with a scarf around your head and a scarf around the length of your braid; and you keep your hair tightly covered in the shower, you can get your braids to last a solid two weeks, one week if you’re lazy. By the third and fourth week you’ll probably start seeing some frizz.
What kind of hair should I buy?
We get this question all the time from clients booking our mobile stylists in NYC. Our go-to braiding hair brand is X-Pressions. It’s used by a lot of stylists (even in Paris). It’s softer than regular Kanekalon hair and tends to have more in a pack. But you can use regular Kanekalon hair. (Note: some people might be allergic to synthetic hair, so be sure to test it out on a small part of your skin if you’ve never used synthetic hair before, or at least rinse it with apple cider vinegar before you use it.)
How much hair should I buy for Goddess Braids?
Depending on how thick you want the braids to be, if you’re getting one to three braids, you could probably get away with buying just one pack of X-Pressions or two packs of regular braiding hair. Four braids and up, you might need up to three packs. But it depends on how thick and long you’re getting the braids. I don’t think any of the styles shown here would require more than three packs.
Okay Finally, Goddess Braid Hairstyle Ideas!!! 💁🏾♀️
The Goddess Crown
So, this is what I typically thought of when I thought of a Goddess Braid: one big old braid wrapped around the wearer’s head.
The Boho Goddess Braid or Butterfly Braid
Not too far from my traditional idea of the Goddess Braid is this whimsical iteration, also known as a Butterfly Braid.
More Elaborate Patterns with Big Braids
Then we have these lovely big braids that have a relatively more elaborate design, either with how the large braids curve, or by adding smaller braids or a stitch effect. But notice how there’s still that characteristic big curving braid. (By the way, shout out to Jazmin Davidson, who did quite a few of these and seems to be one of the stand-out braiders in Atlanta.)
Below is where the definition of Goddess Braids starts getting loose. Certain parts of the Internet (i.e. sites that are created for Black clicks🖱 and not really for Black people, JS 🤷🏾♀️), refer to the following styles as Goddess Braids, and they’ve been referred to as Goddess Braids for so long that they’re essentially part of the definition. So, who am I to push back 🤷🏾♀️? (I will however put Goddess in quotes below, though! ✊🏾)
All Back “Goddess” Braids
Goddess Braids with Small Cornrows (Big-Little)
I love the style in the third and fourth picture, with all the small braids on one side and the big ones on the other.
Two Goddess Braids
By the way, here are even more ways to wear the two Goddess Braid/two Cornrow look.
Long Goddess Braids
Goddess Braided Bun
Goddess Braided Ponytails
I love the very last photo with the one cornrow at the back of her ponytail.
Alright, so I’ve painstakingly curated this BOMB-💣 inspiration post for you! I hope you’ll find something heavenly 😇 in it! (Too much?)