Braids are a stylish and protective hairstyle—and celebrities are the biggest influences on hair trends. While some beauty trends are fleeting, lemonade braids have real staying power, especially when Beyoncé showed off her long side-swept braids. If you’re still on doubt on trying out the hair trend, keep reading for our lemonade braid inspirations to get you in the mood.
What are Lemonade Braids?
You might have always known them to be “side braids” while growing up—yes they are. It’s just they were renamed as “lemonade braids” when Beyoncé showed off the old hairstyle during her debut of Lemonade album, allowing the creative look to make its way back. Do you know that Egyptian royals and African women already wore them?
A great thing lemonade braids are here to stay, giving you more confidence to rock the braided look. It’s simply a side swept cornrow style that gives a sexy or even royal look perfect for the summer months. The hairstyle is known for its several small cornrows braided across your head, but it has a princess-worthy length compared to standard cornrows.
If you’re a woman with a long hair, you’re lucky as you’ll be able to rock the hair trend effortlessly. If you have a shorter hair—don’t fret as hair extensions will complete your lemonade look. One thing that makes a lemonade braid standout is its versatility. There might be specific designs associated with the lemonade braid, but your options are endless.
You’re free to go for jumbo lemonade braids or the micro lemonade ones—both of them will bring glow to your face. You can also add some colorful hair extensions, beads, cuffs, and even decoration to your lemonade braids, making your hairstyle more personal and one-of-a-kind. Or, think of braiding your braids even more, taking the lemonade braid to the next level.
The Story Behind Beyoncé’s Lemonade Braids
Kim Kimble, Beyoncé longtime hairstylist, created the singer’s side swept braids all through her Lemonade tour and album. According to Kim, Beyoncé’s hairstyle is all about the historical time periods since braids are inspired by royalty, Nefertiti, and even Egyptian culture. In fact, braids were often made to create a hair crown or wear with a crown.
One of the music videos in her Lemonade album is the “Don’t Hurt Yourself” where she’s wearing tight cornrows while leaning against a car. If you’re a fan of her music, you’ll notice that she mentioned in the lyrics of the song that “cornrows can be tough” which is true. Also, she added that “baby hair softens it up a lot” that shows how much she adored her hairstyle.
Back in the day, curlers and flat irons are not a thing, and women don’t relax, straighten, or perm their hair. That’s the reason why showing off the natural hair texture was intentional in Beyoncé’s music videos—she wants to pay homage to women’s culture. Just like clothes, the hairstyle is a reflection of time, reviving the previous era and vintage looks stylishly.
Are you still wondering why Beyoncé’s lemonade braids are so important? Most women aren’t happy of their naturally Afro, curly, and kinky hair, but she made the hairstyle a reason to celebrate all types of hair textures. Also, some women still face the stigma of cornrows. Do you know that they were deemed “ghetto” or “unprofessional” till they were worn by white celebrities?
A great thing, Beyoncé is one of the most popular singers and trendsetters who brought back the hair trend—and women all over the globe have been jumping on the bandwagon. She probably loved the low-maintenance look of these braids, and if you’re one of the people who enjoy her music, then you should be inspired with her lemonade braid too.
By wearing braids in her Lemonade album, she gave a very important message for every woman in the world. Most women do not enjoy their natural hair—and they prefer to have it straightened just to look great. Regardless of your hair texture—fine, curly, kinky, long, short, Afro—the singer showed that you should embrace your natural beauty and be proud of your gift.
Remember, Beyoncé loves trying new things with her natural hair, and if you wish to be as daring as her, it’s the perfect time to rock the trend.
Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Lemonade” Braids
The singer is known for her ever-changing and show-stopping hairstyles—and recently, Nicki Minaj took her game to the next level with “Pink Lemonade 2.0” braids. In her music video “Motorsport” she showed off a bubblegum pink colored lemonade braid in a floor-length style.
Do you know that Nicki Minaj’s hairstylist is Kim Kimble also, the longtime hairstylist of Beyoncé? In fact, her lemonade braid took 7 hairstylists and 36 hours to complete the look. Also, her floor-length pink lemonade braids inspired a lot of women and hairstylists to create the hairstyle. Will you be able to rock this mesmerizing hair trend?
Lemonade Braid Hairstyles to Try
Ever since Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj showed off the side swept cornrows and floor-length braids, lemonade braids has become a growing beauty trend with women copying it and rocking it the best way they can—and you should too.
Ombre and Colorful Lemonade Braids
Summer is the perfect time to lighten up your hair, so think of getting some colors on your lemonade braids. The key is to keep your hair conditioned and opt for a colored hair extension that flatters your complexion. A great thing, lighter colors like pink, blonde, silver and such will jazz up your look this season.
If you like to smooth down your hair, think of argan oil that will keep your hair healthy and frizz-free. This way, creating feed-in braids—a method of inserting hair extensions to your natural hair while braiding—will be seamless. Just keep braiding until the ends of your hair and seal them. If it’s too hot, a braided ponytail will keep your hair off your face, keeping you comfortable all summer long.
Jumbo Lemonade Braids
Do you know that it is essential for your hair to be moisturized before getting some lemonade braids? Lemonade braids are a protective hairstyle, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your hair. When starting on braiding your hair, you must divide your hair where the front area will have four braids.
According to the hair experts, the one side should be heading down to your ears while the other side moves toward the middle area of your scalp. Some experts recommend dividing the back of your hair from ear to ear, so there would be two large partings on the back.
As a braiding hack, you can apply some styling gel—but avoid making it too slippery—while doing cornrow braids to set your natural hair. Then mix the hair extensions on the braids as you do the braiding. Some even suggests having small and large braids at the same time, so the result will be more creative and natural.
Lemonade Braids with Cuffs
If you want to make your lemonade braids more creative, then think of adding some hair cuffs. The key is to opt for a hair cuff that will fit your braids whether it is micro, small, medium, large, or jumbo. Some cuffs look more sophisticated in micro and medium braids, while some will look stunning in jumbo lemonade braids.
Think of metallic gold and silver cuffs to add some air of goddess vibe. On the other hand, neon colored cuffs will look more enigmatic and fresh, perfect for the summer. Hair cuffs are great for adding a different yet creative look to your hair—so be bold and creative so you’ll make a style statement wherever you go.
Lemonade Braids with Beads
If you’re looking for a bohemian statement, then adding some beads to your lemonade braids is a great idea. A great thing, there are lots of beads available—you can go girly, sophisticated, classy, boho, grunge, and punk on your looks. The key is to opt for a bead size that will seamlessly fit your braid strands.
If you like a classy statement, think of pearls, jewel toned crystals, metallic beads and such. If you wish to add some punk vibe to your style, go for skull beads, crosses, spikes, studs, and even gothic-inspired ones. For a romantic vibe, think of floral beads and pastel colored ones that will add some playful vibe to your looks. For a bohemian statement, you could never go wrong with wooden beads, tribal-inspired stones, or natural beads in earthy shades of rust, mustard, red orange, forest green, camel, tan, and brown.
When braiding your hair, it is better to put the beads in the middle so it will be visible on your braids. Also, placing them below the ear length will add some dimension to your hair without adding unnecessary bulk on the top. Just make sure you place the beads to your braids randomly so the result will be spontaneous, creative, and unique.
Lemonade Braids in a Partial Updo
Are you a big fan of a messy bun or “woke up like this” look? Then think of getting some partial updo in your lemonade braids. Yes, it will give a very different take on the typical updo. The key is to make long braids enough to create a seamless bun. If you’re not lucky enough to have that long hair, then simply think of adding some hair extension to your natural hair.
Most of the time, Beyoncé is expressing her feelings in her music—and even in her hair. Do you know that her hairstylist Kimble loves to show off a more natural hairstyle too? If you like to copy her style, you may think of adding some drama to your lemonade braid in a partial updo. Think of getting it Victorian-inspired, Antebellum-like braids and such.
Since most women in the past do not relax, straighten, or color their hair, they became more creative in their braids. If you’ll notice, Beyoncé is more on showing the history of women in the past, along with paying attention to the black culture rather than just being stylish or trendy. In fact, the singer shows it through her music that she pays tribute to the culture and natural beauty of black women.
Lemonade Braid Mixed with an Afro Style
If you’re a woman who loves to show off your natural hair texture, then think of a lemonade braid with an afro twist. Do you know that the afro hairstyle has been around for a long time, and it’s a hairstyle that won’t go out of fashion anytime soon? The key is to cornrow your natural hair in the front, then leave the back part in an Afro style.
Most of the time, tight braids in cornrows are hard and challenging to maintain. This is especially true if all of your natural hair braided. A great thing, an afro style at the back will let you manage your hair without ruining your braids.
According to the hair experts, you must be sure your braids are properly installed. Do not braid your natural hair too tight or too loose. This way, you’ll avoid getting traction alopecia or a condition where you experience hair loss caused by excessively pulling your hair.
Micro Lemonade Braids
Lemonade braids are a protective hairstyle, but it is better to use more hair extensions to make the process seamless. To prepare your hair, simply wash it thoroughly and condition it so your braids will look healthier and more natural. The key is to opt for hair extensions that match your natural hair on its color, texture, and dense.
Also, consider the thickness of your micro braids—your hair will eventually get bigger braids as you mix the hair extensions to your natural strands. Most of the time, you’ll start at the back of your hair and work with smaller portions of your natural hair. Remember, these braids are micro, so you’ll have to mix smaller portions of hair extensions too.
According to the hair experts, the key is to place your hair extension between your thumb and pointer finger while doing the braids. This way, it will be easier for you to mix the hair extension to your natural hair. Some hair hacks include using some styling gel or pomade so your hair will stick together, making the process of braiding less painful.
Remember, you should consider the right amount of hair extensions to be used as you don’t want your micro braids to be super thin at the roots and super thick on the bottom. According to the experts, the key is to mix hair extensions with your natural hair gradually, so you’ll get the right length without adding much weight to your roots.
If you wish to get that zigzag effect on your lemonade braids, the key is to braid the opposite side of your braiding section, continuing the process in the opposite direction. The zigzag style will add some drama to your looks. Don’t worry as for the final braids you just have to do them straight down. After you finish braiding your hair, simply set it with a mousse or hairspray to add some polish and hold to your hair—some even opt for natural hair oils to soothe the scalp.
How to Care for Your Lemonade Braids?
Do you know that sporting a lemonade braid is one of the creative ways for women to flaunt and embrace their natural hair? If you’ll only pay attention to the hair evolution of women, you’ll find out that braids are the most practical and stylish way to style your hair. In fact, perms, curlers, and straightening tools were not so popular in the past.
We all know that lemonade braids are a protective hairstyle, but you have to know that regularly repeating the process will pose more damage to your natural hair. In fact, pulling can cause scarring to your scalp and traction alopecia as well—it’s associated with hair loss caused by excessive pulling on your hair.
Lemonade braids usually require several hours to complete, and it’s your job to make your hair moisturized well especially if you’ll get a hairstylist to do the braids. If you do the proper care, your lemonade braids can last for three to four weeks. As a rule of thumb, you should braid your hair when it is still wet or damp—it can cause fungus, dandruff, or even mildew to your scalp and braided hair.
If you think you’ll only ruin your braids if you wash them regularly, then, simply think of a witch hazel astringent that will clean your hair while keeping it healthy and dirt-free. It’s up to you if you wish to apply the astringent with cotton or you would prefer to dip your strands.
If you want to embrace your natural hair, lemonade braids are perfect for you. Lemonade braids are one of the hottest hair trends—and with these hairstyle inspirations you’ll be able to stay creative and stylish with your hair all year long. Just keep these inspirations handy, so you’ll be able to effortlessly and stylishly slay the trend.