When it comes to new and inventive hairstyles, Black girls are ahead of the game. Yes we love the classics like box braids or Senegalese twists but sometimes there are new, creative styles on the block. Enter bubble braids! Playful and fun, bubble braids are also known as poodle puff braids or halo braids. They can be installed on natural hair (even shorter lengths look great with bubble braids) or you can add extensions to completely transform the style.
So we’ve got you all excited about this new style, but what exactly are bubble braids? Essentially, they’re a ponytail (or several ponytails) with elastic bands wrapped around the shaft of the hair. The elastic bands create the bubbles, halos or puffs, which is where the name comes from. The length of the braid can be short, medium length or long, the actual braid/ponytail can be slim or chunky in size and you can even play around with the size of the bubble.
Now that your interest has been piqued, keep reading to find out how to install your bubble braids and why we love them…
Are Bubble Braids a Protective Style for Black Girls?
The intention of a protective style is to shield and secure your natural hair. Bubble braids are not classed as a protective style if you use your natural hair to create the puffs. However, adding extensions (and then tucking your hair into the extension) or even a faux ponytail will help to protect your natural hair. Other considerations to keep in mind is the tightness of the ponytails. If they’re too tight, they can potentially pull on the scalp and damage your edges.
Why’s Everyone Loving Bubble Braids?
Bubble braids are a fun, creative style and are a welcome change from some of the classic styles we usually go for. Here are some other reasons we love bubble braids:
- If you are using additional hair/extensions, bubble braids are a protective style as your natural hair will be tucked in.
- They’re also quite simple to install yourself and are not time consuming. Bubble braids also look great and work on any hair texture.
- Although most tutorials opt for Marley hair (the kinky texture allows the elastic bands and bubbles to stay in place) there’s no reason why other textures of hair extensions can’t work, depending on the look you’re going for.
- Finally, bubble braids are a winner in our eyes because you can easily jazz up the style with beads, colors or different sizes.
Installing Your Braids
As the style is relatively simple, there are a few ways to install bubble braids and each of the tutorials below have their own spin. Check them out below.
Vlogger HairDeLaCreme Starts on clean, moisturized natural hair. After sectioning her hair and putting it into ponytails using tiny elastic bands, she then twists her hair into two strand twists. From there she uses Marley hair to create the little bubbles and adds the hair using a crochet hook.
You don’t need to start with twists though, Mac Amy installs her bubble braids without doing the twists initially. She sections her hair and ties up each part into a little ponytail, using tiny elastic bands. Then she too uses a crochet hook to install the additional hair.
Amethystbluejay also starts by twisting her hair. Her method differs as she doesn’t use the tiny elastic bands at the top of her twists, instead she installs the Marley hair (at the top of her twists), using the crochet hook and adds the elastic bands throughout the shaft of the ponytails.
Heads Up Using Elastic Bands
Some of these methods use very tiny elastic bands during the installation process. Since these bands are so tiny and are wrapped tightly around your hair they can cause some breakage if not handled carefully. When using the bands at the top of your bubble braid, it shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight. It needs to be able to keep the hair in place but not at the expense of losing your edges. You could also drop the bands in some oil (coconut, olive or grapeseed are excellent choices) to soften them up and give them more slip, before using on your hair. When removing the bands, work slowly and carefully and reach for some oil again to make the bands slippery.
Bubble Braid With a Faux Ponytail
If you want to add a bubble braid to your look using a faux ponytail, check out these two tutorials below from EllaLoves Beauty and Bri Shaantice.
Or two faux ponytails…
Maintaining Your Braids
Like many protective styles, bubble braids can be kept in for about two to three weeks. It’s important to keep your scalp clean to prevent product build-up as well as other conditions. You can use a mix of shampoo and water in a spray bottle and spritz it on your scalp or do an apple cider vinegar rinse. Gently massage your scalp to remove excess product, grease and oil, then rinse. Make sure to dry your scalp, hair and any extensions you’ve used thoroughly. If not, this creates the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. You should aim to wash your hair once a week but between every one and three works is an acceptable range, depending on the type of lifestyle you lead, if you work out or are active for example.
Over time as your hair grows out, the bubble braids will loosen, especially around the scalp. If you’ve used elastic bands on the top of your ponytails, you can carefully cut out the elastic band and tie the ponytail back up again with a fresh band. If you do find that the bubbles slip out, or if the elastic band snaps, you can simply use another hairband to tie it back up again.
For general advice on how to maintain your protective style and minimize frizz, you can refer to our style guide. You can also use it to help when you’re taking down your bubble braids.
Bubble Braid Gallery
Looking for some inspo? Check out the gallery below. From short styles to long, from vibrant hues of red to ombre, black and everything in between, these Black girls know how to rock bubble braids.
So will you be trying out bubble braids as your next look? Share you new look with us on Instagram using #hairunruled