"Mermaid Braids" Are About to Be Your Staple Protective Style

The evolution of knotless braids continues to be one of the most delightful things to witness. Since the style rose to popularity back in 2018, multiple variations like goddess, bohemian, and cornrow styles have all made their way to the surface. Now, another take on the trend is on the horizon: mermaid braids.

Similar to the traditional goddess style, mermaid braids are characterized by an illusion of braids going into loose, curly strands rather than being plaited the full length. "This trend is a mix of hair that is very loose, if not straight, and braids in between," Tukia Allen, educator coach at Aveda Arts, tells POPSUGAR. "They are as versatile as any normal braiding style and can be pulled into a ponytail with ease, or gathered to then give the illusion of a looser sew-in style. They're seriously magical."

Quite a few celebrities, from Halle Bailey to Janelle Monae, have been spotted in the trend recently, and its popularity is in part thanks to the former's leading role in "The Little Mermaid." Still, that's not the only reason why. "Mermaid braids are popular right now because it is a great way to keep your hair out of your face while still looking chic," says hairstylist and author Kee Taylor. "It also is a protective style and super low maintenance."

How to Get Mermaid Braids

Getting the look is similar to the process of doing goddess braids, but as you can imagine, a bit more hair is needed, and the type that you use matters. "A few packs of traditional braiding hair is perfect and you can technically use a synthetic blend for the curled pieces," Allen says. "However, human hair will last longer and you'll be able to style it like it were your own."

As with the normal goddess style, you'll want to start with pre-parted boxes, and use braiding hair to add length. However, for mermaid braids to really get that flowy look, start adding the human pieces closer to the beginning of the braid, in the middle, and near the end of the plait. Also, instead of braiding until the full length of the synthetic mix used for the main braid is tucked away, stop about four to five inches above it. This will provide the illusion of a full head of curly tendrils but with movement, the braids will peek through. Once you curl all the loose pieces, you'll be left with a style that almost looks like you've been floating in water á la everyone's favorite under-water Disney princess.

Mermaid Braids Inspiration

Though mermaid braids seem like a perfect protective style for summer, like any variation of the goddess trend, they can work year-round and deserve a spot on your permanent mood board. For your easy-pinning needs, we went ahead and found the best mermaid braid styles to inspire your own version. Take a look a how people have been wearing the trend ahead.

Extra Long Mermaid Braids

Medium Length Mermaid Braids

Short Mermaid Braids

Half-Up Mermaid Braids

Small Mermaid Braids