Swoop braids transform box braids, twists, or cornrows by sweeping them to one side of the head. They’re an elegant way to wear braided hair because they create an elegant sweeping or curving effect. You can style them into hairdos such as updos, ponytails, buns, and half-up half-down styles. They stand out for their versatility, letting you choose from various braid colors and sizes to get the desired look.
Don’t get it twisted. Swoop braids are an intermediate-level game. If you’re experienced at braiding, you might nail this on your first try. But if you’re new to the braiding game, you might want to call in a pro. These braids work well on different hair types, including straight, wavy, and bouncy hair. For the best results, aim for hair that is at least shoulder-length. You can use hair extensions if you have naturally short hair but want long braids.
Creating swoop braids can take several hours, depending on the style’s complexity and the hair’s length. With proper care, these braids can last four to five weeks but might require additional maintenance for more extended wear. To make swoop braids, you need a rat-tail comb for parting, a wide-toothed comb for detangling, hair bands, optional hair extensions, hair oil or cream, and some hair gel or mousse to prevent the braids from getting rough too soon.
To keep your swoop braids fresh and clean, avoid applying too much tension during styling, as this can lead to hair loss and damage. Wrap your braids in a silk or satin scarf or a hair bonnet before going to bed. You might also consider using silk or satin pillowcases. To prevent flaking, clean your scalp with a diluted shampoo and water mixture and regularly moisturize your hair with a lightweight hair oil or cream.
Be aware that swoop braids can weigh heavy on your scalp and might cause headaches. They require regular maintenance to avoid frizz or breakage and take considerable time to install, maintain, and remove. You can adapt swoop braids for different events by adding beads, hair accessories, and colored extensions to match your style.
Ready to get swooped? Here are 23 swoop braids styles you can try. Have fun experimenting with different looks and create a style that is uniquely you.
1. Braided Swoop Bun
A braided swoop bun offers an elegant and stylish hairstyle that combines braids, either a high or low bun, and a swooping fringe or bang. To achieve this look, first put your hair into box braids, twists, or knotless braids. Secure these braids with a hair band at the top of your head, leaving out the section for the swoop. For the swoop effect, wrap the free section to your preferred side and secure it among the pack of braids on top of your head. Roll the braids into a bun and secure it with either an elastic band or hairpins. This hairstyle is ideal for formal settings, especially when you want to keep your hair away from your face and shoulders while still looking chic.
2. Swoop Double Braided Ponytails
Swoop double-braided ponytails are a stylish and simple swoop braid style. To achieve this look, you’ll need some hair gel, hair bands, a rat-tail comb, and hair extensions. First, part your hair into two sections from the crown to the nape of your neck. Using the rat-tail comb, cut out a section for your swoop and comb it toward either of the two sections where you want your swoop to be, then secure it with a hair band. Secure the other half with a hair band, apply hair gel to keep the hair in place, and then braid the secured ends into ponytails using the hair extensions. If you wish, you can also add some hair accessories to enhance the look. This style works well for several occasions, from formal to casual events, and is an amazing way to look simple while stunning.
3. Swoop High Ponytail Braids
The swoop braided high ponytail offers a trendy, eye-catching hairstyle you can achieve with different lengths and colors of hair extensions or with your own natural hair. To create this style, braid your hair in cornrows that lead toward the crown of your head, so the ponytail sits perfectly on top. Also, braid the swoop in a cornrow, directing it to the left or right side of your head, depending on your desired look. This elegant yet versatile hairstyle suits special occasions as well as an everyday chic look.
4. Swoop Feed-In Braids Ponytail
The swoop feed-in braids ponytail is a stylish yet intricate hairstyle. To create a feed-in braid, add small sections of hair extensions into each braid as you work from the beginning to the end. This style lets you choose between a high ponytail, a side ponytail, or a low ponytail. Braid the swoop into a cornrow, directing it toward either the left or right side of your head, depending on your desired look. You can finish with a hairspray to add more shine to your hair.
5. Knotless Braids with Swoop Bangs
Knotless braids with swoop bangs offer a stylish and protective hairstyle. Unlike traditional braids that start with a knot, knotless braids start with your natural hair, and you add extensions as you progress along the braid. This technique reduces the tension usually created by traditional knot braids. To achieve this look, part your hair into two sections: a smaller section in front for the swoop bangs and a larger section for the knotless braids. After completing the larger section, focus on the bangs, which can be shorter. Braid or twist the bang section, and either leave it straight or curl it for a more dramatic look. Secure the bangs to your preferred side with hairpins to create the swoop effect. Finish with hairspray to add shine and prevent stray hairs.
6. Box Braids with Swoop
Box braids with swoop involves first putting your hair into box braids and then styling them into various options like a high or low bun, a high or low ponytail, or a half-up half-down style. Incorporate the swoop on your preferred side of the head to complete the look. You can do this style in any length, size, and color.
7. Swoop Bangs with Braids
Swoop bangs with braids offer a stylish look you can achieve by first braiding the front section of your hair and then creating a swoop using hairpins. The size of the swoop braids will depend on your preference. If you want a simpler look, you can gather the rest of your hair into a single ponytail. For more complexity, turn the remaining hair into box braids, knotless braids, or cornrows. Finish with hairspray to add shine and prevent frizz.
8. Swoop Cornrows
Swoop cornrows, also known as side-swept cornrows, offer a stylish option particularly suited for formal events. To create this look, braid your hair into cornrows from the side where you want the swoop. For the swoop effect, angle the cornrows either slightly diagonally or curved across your preferred side of the head. Then, angle them toward the center of the head into a ponytail or down toward the neck. Secure the swoop cornrows with hairpins or sew them firmly beside each other using a needle and thread. Finish with a spritz of light hairspray for shine and to prevent frizz. One caveat: if braided too tightly or on very thin hair, this style can cause hair damage because part of the cornrows sweeps just above the edges.
9. Heart Swoop Braided Ponytail
The heart swoop braided ponytail is a playful and flirty hairstyle that combines a heart-shaped swoop with a braided ponytail. To achieve this look, you’ll need hair gel, hair bands, a rat-tail comb, and hair extensions. Start by parting your hair into two sections from ear to ear. Using the rat-tail comb, carefully create a heart shape at the scalp in the crown section. Put the lower section into a ponytail and secure it. Next, comb the heart-shaped swoop across your preferred side of the head toward the secured lower section and secure using a hair band. Apply hair gel to keep everything in place. Finally, braid the secured hair into a ponytail, incorporating hair extensions of any color. For added charm, consider using long hair extensions—the longer the braid, the more striking of an effect.
10. Swoop Tribal Braids
Swoop tribal braids, also called swoop Fulani braids, are a beautiful style named after the Fulani tribe in Africa. This style can feature simple to very intricate patterns. To achieve this look, part your hair into the sections you want for the tribal braids. Remember to leave out a section on the side for the swooping fringe. Braid the rest of your hair into cornrows, which can be basic cornrows, intricate braids, or even feed-in braids. After completing the braids, focus on the swoop section, braiding it across the head so that it drapes over the shoulder. Enhance the look of your tribal braids by adding beads. If you like this style, then certainly check out these Fulani braids hairstyles.
11. Swoop Lemonade Braids
Inspired by Beyoncé’s iconic Lemonade album, Lemonade braids offer a sleek hairstyle that already features side-swept braids. Adding a swoop further pronounces the side sweep, giving the braids extra elegance. To achieve this look, braid your hair into cornrows and gradually increase the size of the braids using the feed-in technique to create that Lemonade look. After completing the Lemonade braids, select some braids from the cornrows that run across the head to make the swoop. Secure them in place using either hairpins or an elastic band.
12. Half-Up Half-Down Swoop Braids
To achieve the half-up half-down swoop braid hairstyle, start by parting your hair into three sections. First, create a horizontal part from ear to ear. Next, section off the hair for your swoop from the crown. Use this section to create the swoop effect. Begin by braiding the lower half of your hair, followed by the middle section, and then the swoop section. You can secure both the swoop and the middle part into a bun, as shown in the picture, or gather them into a ponytail. This hairstyle combines an elegant updo with flowing hair and a swoop, making it easy to wear on a wide range of occasions.
13. Swoop Cornrows with Ponytail
When you do swoop cornrows with ponytail, you can create a chic and modern hairstyle that is particularly great for formal occasions. The cornrows can be simple, intricate, or feed-in braids. To achieve this look, start braiding your hair into cornrows from the side where you want the swoop. For the swoop effect, angle the cornrows across your preferred side of the head and then toward the center of the head into a ponytail. Secure the swoop cornrows with hairpins or sew them firmly beside each other using a needle and thread. Finish the look by applying hairspray to add shine and keep everything smooth.
14. Swoop French Braid
Swoop French braids offer an elegant hairstyle that’s great for special occasions or even as a bridal look. To achieve this style, part your hair to create a section for the swoop. Start by braiding this section into a French braid, securing the ends with an elastic band. Then, gather the rest of your hair into either a ponytail or a bun, securing it with another elastic band. Drape the French braid across your preferred side of the head, securing it with hairpins all the way to the ponytail or bun to create a stylish swoop. Finish with hairspray to control stray hair and shine it up.
15. Swoop Stitch Braids
Swoop stitch braids is a simple yet stylish hairstyle that combines the stitch braid technique with a swooping fringe or bang. To create this look, start by braiding the swoop section into stitch braids, either toward the center of the head for a ponytail or toward the neck for back braids. Then, complete the hairstyle by putting the rest of your hair into stitch braids. Note that the stitch braid creates a curved effect but not a draped swoop over the forehead. This is because there’s no hair on the forehead for visible stitches, making the swoop effect minimal. Swoop Stitch Braids give a fresh twist to traditional cornrow braids and can be accessorized to enhance the look.
16. Swoop Butterfly Braids
Swoop butterfly braids are a creative style that combines butterfly braids with a swooping fringe or bang. You’ll need hair gel, hair bands, a rat-tail comb, and hair extensions to achieve this look. Use the rat-tail comb to section off your swoop and comb it toward the part of your head where you want the swoop to sit, securing it with a hair band. Next, tie both the swoop ends and the rest of your hair into a ponytail. Turn this ponytail into a butterfly braid using hair extensions. For a more dramatic look, braid just a part of the ponytail into a butterfly braid, like in the picture. Apply hair gel to keep everything in place, and use hair accessories, if desired, to enhance the look. Consider using long hair extensions for an even more stunning effect.
17. Swoop Back Braids
Swoop back braids are a fashionable hairstyle well-suited for formal settings. This style is similar to all-back cornrows but includes swoop braids that angle to the side of the head before joining the rest of the braids down to the neck. You can opt for simple cornrows, intricate cornrows, or feed-in braids. To get this look, start braiding your hair into cornrows from the side where you want the swoop—angle the cornrows across your preferred side of the head and then downward toward the neck. Secure the swoop cornrows with hairpins or sew them firmly beside each other using a needle and thread. Finish the look by applying hairspray to add shine and minimize frizz.
18. Swoop Braids with Side Part
For this swoop braids with side part, begin by creating either a subtle or dramatic side part on the side of the head opposite to where you want the swoop. Next, section off your swoop and braid it across the side of the head. You have the option to gather the swoop along with the rest of your hair into a bun, ponytail, or back braids. Use hairpins, clips, or a needle and thread to secure the swoop’s position. Finish the look with hairspray for shine and protection.
19. Swoop Braids with Curls
Swoop braids with curls make for an elegant hairstyle that merges a braided swoop with curls, and you can achieve it in different ways. For a cornrow style, start by braiding your hair into cornrows from the side where you want the swoop. Secure each braid with strands of hair or hair bands about halfway down, then curl the ends using either a tong or rollers and hot water. If you prefer single braids, put your hair into box braids, knotless braids, or twists, also stopping halfway to curl the ends. For the swoop effect, angle the cornrows across your preferred side of the head, either toward the center into a ponytail or downward toward the neck. Secure the swoop cornrows with hairpins or sew them firmly beside each other using a needle and thread. Finish the look with a spritz of lightweight hairspray for added shine and to prevent frizz.
20. Criss-Cross Swoop
The criss-cross swoop blends side criss-cross braids with a stylish swoop. Typically, the criss-cross will be on the opposite side of the swoop. To achieve this style, start by sectioning off a part of your hair for the swoop. Braid the opposite side into a criss-cross pattern, securing it with elastic bands. Then, gather your hair, including the swoop, into either a ponytail or a bun. Apply hair gel to keep everything in place and finish with hairspray for shine. Simple and versatile, this hairstyle fits any occasion.
21. Swoop Locs
Swoop locs are a stylish way to wear your locs, blending the traditional beauty of locs with a swooping fringe or bang. To achieve this look, divide your well-maintained locs into two sections—one for the swoop and the other for the rest of the hairstyle. Create the swoop by draping these locs across your preferred side of the head, forming a voluminous and relaxed fringe. You can leave the rest of the locs down or style them into a ponytail, bun, or half-up half-down look. Finish the style with loc gel or hairspray.
22. Swoop Mermaid Braids
With swoop mermaid braids, you blend the mermaid braiding technique with a stylish swoop. To achieve this look, part your hair into sections—one for the swoop in front and another for the mermaid braid at the back. Drape or braid the front section into a swoop, and then secure its ends along with the rest of your hair in a ponytail. Transform this ponytail into a mermaid braid and secure the ends with an elastic band. If desired, apply hair gel or hairspray to keep everything in place. Feel free to glam up the hairstyle with accessories for an extra dose of elegance.
23. Swoop Ponytail with Fishtail Braid
Swoop ponytail with fishtail braids combines the fishtail braiding technique with a stylish swoop. To achieve this look, part your hair into two sections—one for the swoop in front and another for the fishtail braid at the back. Either drape or braid the front section into a swoop, and then secure its ends along with the rest of your hair into a ponytail. Transform this ponytail into a fishtail braid and secure the ends with an elastic band. If you feel like it, apply some gel to keep everything in place. As an added touch, decorate the hairstyle with accessories.