Messy braids make for an effortlessly gorgeous hairstyle that women love for their romantic, carefree vibe. By leaving strands out while braiding, tugging at pieces post-install, and embracing flyaways, messy braids give off an artfully undone look that doesn’t require professional styling.
These braids are versatile enough to work with all hair textures and lengths – from short to long, pin-straight to gloriously curly. Whether you opt for knotless braids, box braids, twist braids, or another protective style, embracing the messiness takes your look to the next level.
The beauty of messy braids is that they are so easy to achieve at home. You can easily fake the look with the help of bobby pins and texturizing spray, or get truly messy by intentionally leaving strands out while braiding.
These pretty braids are a blessing for those with thin or short hair, as they create the illusion of volume and length. To keep your style looking fresh, be sure to sleep with a silk bonnet, condition those ends, and touch up flyaways with hair pins.
If you love the romantic, carefree vibe of messy braids, you’ll adore the endless styling possibilities. From ponytails to buns, half-up looks, and loose braided locks, this article explores 25 gorgeous ways to wear a messy hairstyle with braids.
1. Braids With Messy Bun
The braids with messy bun hairstyle has a way of looking effortlessly polished. This style comes in handy on days when you’re running late but still want your braided updo to look glam, or days when you don’t want too formal of a look with your box braids, knotless braids, or twist braids. The trick is to wrap your braids into an undone bun without it getting too messy. This allows you to maintain a put-together vibe while rocking a laidback updo.
2. Messy Bohemian Box Braids
Messy bohemian box braids are also known as messy gypsy, boho, or goddess box braids. Essentially, they are curly box braids with additional curly hair braided in for a more relaxed and fuller look. If you are looking for a protective yet versatile hairstyle, you will love this style because you can reshape and restyle it however you want. The curled texture and fuller appearance create a laidback, romantic vibe. This bohemian braided style allows for creative experimentation.
3. Messy Side Braid
The messy side braid is a stylish hairstyle perfect for any occasion. To achieve this look, start by loosely braiding a section of hair on one side of your head diagonally downward toward the other side. You can secure the end of the braid at the nape of your neck with a ponytail holder or continue braiding normally in a three-strand plait. Gently pull on pieces of the braid to loosen it up and get that relaxed messy vibe.
4. Messy Box Braids
Box braids are created by sectioning natural hair into equal-sized square parts which are then braided using hair extensions. Box braids are versatile and can be worn in many styles, including a messy look. Messy box braids combine curls and box braids, and sometimes are achieved by braiding the hair more loosely. This hairstyle can also be created by gently pulling out pieces of neat box braids to create a relaxed, undone vibe.
5. Messy Dreadlock Bun
You can wear your dreadlocks in a messy bun for any occasion, especially when you want to spice up your natural look. To achieve this style, gather your locs into a ponytail, leaving some ends hanging out rather than pulling all the way through. Then, loosely wrap the dreadlocks around the ponytail base and secure with elastic bands or pins. This creates a laidback updo that shows off the cool texture of your locs. Leaving pieces out adds dimension. Securing the bun loosely rather than tightly gives that stylishly undone vibe, perfect for injecting some edge into your look.
6. Messy Box Braids Bun
As the name implies, the messy box braids bun requires you to simply put your messy box braids into a bun. To achieve this style, gather your messy, boho, gypsy, bohemian, or goddess box braids into a ponytail. Then, loosely wrap the braided hair around the base to form a bun shape. You can leave out a few front braids pieces or curly strands to complete the undone look.
7. Messy Knotless Braids
Messy knotless braids are a protective hairstyle that is effortlessly chic, versatile, and visually appealing. Knotless braids do not have the traditional knot at the root, giving a smooth, sleek look near the scalp. Combining these defined braids with curls creates a messy, undone finish with a romantic, bohemian vibe that is absolutely perfect.
8. Messy Crown Braids
Crown braids are a beautiful braided hairstyle that is incredibly stunning for brides. To achieve this messy crown braid look, braid a section of hair close to one side of your face. Continue loosely braiding around your head, picking up more hair as you go until you meet the section you started with. Secure the braid using bobby pins to form a crown shape. Gently pull on pieces of the braid to create a relaxed, undone appearance. You can also intentionally leave out some strands while braiding to intensify the messy vibe. The braided crown framed with soft tendrils gives off romantic boho vibes, perfect for weddings or special events.
9. Messy Bohemian Braids
If you are a fan of the messy braid hairstyle, you will absolutely love messy bohemian braids. This style features box braids, knotless braids, or twist braids with curls hanging out from them in an intentionally uneven and undone fashion. The look frames your facial features with soft, bouncy curls falling around the face.
10. Messy Dutch Braids
The messy Dutch braids hairstyle is a cute style that can look casual or formal depending on your outfit. First, detangle your hair and spritz on a texturizing spray for more volume. Part your hair into the number of sections you want and put each section into a loose Dutch braid. As you braid, gently pull on pieces to intentionally make it messier. You can also gently tug on the finished braids, loosening them up even more for that stylishly undone look.
11. Messy Indian Braid
Indian braids have always been considered an epitome of grace, poise and beauty, and combining them with a messy look makes the style even more alluring. The messy Indian braid effortlessly matches sarees and, when worn for festive and wedding occasions, can really spruce up your appearance. It makes you look edgy yet feminine.
12. Messy Goddess Braids
Messy goddess braids are a versatile protective style that look stunning no matter the occasion. This hairstyle features jumbo-sized braids with curls and can be done in various lengths and colors. Goddess braids are relatively easy to install and a stylish way to make a statement. The voluminous braids contrasted with soft curls create a bold yet laidback look. You can also accessorize with beads or cuffs for a little something extra.
13. Messy Double Loose Braids
The messy double loose braids are a simple double braided hairstyle that is perfect for an everyday casual look. This messy style features two loose braids on either side of the head. Messy double loose braids have you looking cute and girly without even trying.
14. Messy Bubble Braids
Bubble braids are done without traditional braiding and are suitable for weddings and even red-carpet occasions. Bubble braids feature ponytails secured with regularly spaced elastics to create fluffed up “bubbles” of hair. To create a messy bubble braid look, use a texturizing hairspray and gently tug at the bubble sections to loosen them up. Letting pieces fall out lends a relaxed vibe and accentuates the dimensional bubbles.
15. Messy Twist Braids
Messy twist braids allow you to braid your natural hair into rope twists and even attach hair extensions if desired. This style features loosely done twist braids like the passion twists hairstyle pictured. You can style the chic, sophisticated messy twist braids for special occasions or everyday wear. This look can be achieved with micro messy twist braids or jumbo-sized ones.
16. Messy Low Bun
This low messy bun is a simple hairstyle popular among women who work in corporate environments. First, use an elastic band to gather your hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. Form a bun by wrapping your ponytail loosely around the base and securing it with bobby pins. To loosen up the bun, gently tug on a few pieces to pull them out. Also pull out some face-framing strands around your ears for a messy finish.
17. Messy Crochet Braids
Messy crochet braids feature messy braids done with crochet hair extensions. For these messy styles, the extensions are installed into already made cornrows using a crochet needle instead of sewing them in or creating individual braids.
18. Messy Lemonade Braids
These messy lemonade braids are one of the trendiest protective cornrow styles. They feature asymmetrical braids that run diagonally across the head with curly strands falling out from the plaits. Messy lemonade braids give off a romantic, bohemian vibe and can be worn for any occasion.
19. Messy Braid for Curly Hair
If you are looking for a gorgeous new hairstyle to show off your curly hair, you can try many braided options to spice things up. Play around with French braids, Dutch braids, waterfall braids, Indian braids, chain braids, mermaid braids, and more. Intentionally braiding loosely and letting pieces fall out will allow your glorious natural curls to take center stage.
20. Messy Braided Pigtails
Pigtails, which became popular in the mid-1700s, feature two identical braids on opposite sides of the head. Messy braided pigtails take this hairstyle up a notch by making the two plaits look intentionally distressed and undone. Rather than sleek, even braiding, pieces are left out to fall around the face. Gently tugging the braids loosely amplifies the lively messy vibe. Braided pigtails make you look girly and playful.
21. Messy Stitch Braids
Messy stitch braids are a beautiful and romantic hairstyle that every lady should try. The stitch braids are topped with a low curly bun and curly hair strands that fall from the braids. Messy stitch braids are stylish, adorable, and elegant all at once.
22. Jumbo Messy Knotless Braids
Jumbo messy knotless braids are incredibly versatile and will have you looking stylish and beautiful. The jumbo messy knotless braids can be personalized with different colors, lengths, and curl styles. This hairstyle is much easier to install than smaller-sized messy braids, saving you time without compromising style.
23. Messy Ponytail Braids
The messy braided ponytail hairstyle incorporates curls and waves into the braided ponytail hairstyle. This hairstyle features cornrows braided toward the center of the head in a ponytail with curly hair falling from the braids. This hairstyle gives off a romantic bohemian vibe and can be worn for wedding parties, dinner dates, or a beach outing.
24. Easy Messy Bun
The messy bun is a playful and timelessly chic hairstyle that can be done in less than five minutes. To create this look, gather your hair into a ponytail using an elastic band. Then, loosely wrap the ponytail around the base to form a messy bun shape. Secure it in place at the base using bobby pins and gently pull out a few strands of hair around the edges to enhance the relaxed vibe.
25. Messy Updo
Unlike more formal tight updos, messy updos are a fashionable hairstyle that makes you feel trendy. You can play around with different messy updos such as messy low buns, messy high buns, messy braids with curled ends, and more. The messy updo looks relaxed and has a bohemian charm. Messy updos with curls or fringe around the face can softly frame the cheeks and jawline while effortlessly drawing attention to the eyes.