Micro Braids: Complete Guide to Stylish Braided Looks

Micro braids continue to be one of the most popular braided hairstyles. These tiny plaits lay flat to the scalp, allowing you to easily create various updos and elegant styles.

When properly installed and cared for, micro braids can last 6-8 weeks on average. Some have even kept their braids looking fresh for 2-3 months!

If you’re considering getting micro braids for the first time or want tips on maintaining your new ‘do, this guide covers everything you need to know.

Key Takeaways

  • Micro braids are a popular protective hairstyle that can last up to 2 months with proper care
  • They come in various sizes like micro, mini, small, medium, and large
  • Work best on natural or transitioning hair about 3-4 inches in length
  • Use quality human hair extensions matched to your hair color and texture
  • Expect the installation process to take 6-12 hours depending on stylist braiding skill and hair length

Braid Size and Type

Micro braids come in a variety of sizes:

Braid TypeBraid Size
Microvery small & thin
Minislightly larger
Smallmedium small
Mediummedium thickness
Largethicker than medium

Micro braids, as the name suggests, are the smallest in width. Mini and small braids are a bit thicker but still have a petite look.

Medium braids have more volume and thickness. Finally, large micro braids are the widest but are still smaller than basic box braids.

In terms of braiding technique, common styles include:

  • Micro braids – tiny three-strand plaits using hair extensions
  • Knotless braids – no visible knots or braiding at the root
  • Feed-in braids – only your natural hair is braided at the top then extensions are added further down the hair shaft
  • Tree braids – style involves braiding hair vertically from the nape of the neck upwards

Choosing the Right Hair Length

Micro braids can be done on both short and long natural hair. However, we recommend growing your hair out to at least 3-4 inches for the best results.

Having some hair length gives the stylist something substantial to start braiding with. Shorter hair may lead to a looser hold and quicker slipping out of the braids.

Once your natural hair reaches the minimum length, ask your stylist what hair extensions are best to match with your texture and desired look.

High quality human hair blends most seamlessly with natural hair. Synthetic hair is also an affordable option but does carry more frizz and tangling over time.

Installation Process

Getting micro braids is an investment of both time and money because of how meticulous the installation process is.

Expect to spend anywhere from 6-12 hours or more getting your hair braided from start to finish. Take breaks periodically to stretch your legs and neck!

Pricing varies by braiding skill and experience but the average ranges from $100-300. Some deluxe stylists may charge upwards of $500+ for extra small micro braids with specially sourced hair extensions.

To prepare your natural hair, arrive to appointments with freshly clarified, deep conditioned, and blown out hair. This allows extensions to easily glide into each braid.

Upkeep for Longevity

Consistently moisturizing your braids is crucial for longevity because the plaits themselves don’t receive natural oils from your scalp.

Every 1-2 days, mist your braids lightly with a spray bottle filled with water and your choice leave-in conditioner or braid spray. Massage the moisture into your braids then seal with oil if needed.

Alternate between wearing your braids up versus down. Too much tension in one style can lead the edges of your hairline to thin over time. Plus, varying the positioning allows moisture and air to circulate from all directions.

Avoid overmanipulating new braids for the first 1-2 weeks while they set and secure themselves. Getting them wet or continuously redressing the style can cause them to slip loose at the roots faster.

Make sure to gently detangle braids during your styling process and when taking them down later. Never aggressively pull or yank on the extensions to avoid ripping out your natural hair.

Final Verdict

Micro braids unlock so many chic styling options for protecting natural hair. Now that you know what to expect and how to care for them, you can slay your new long braided ‘do with confidence!