From face-framing braided tendrils to Medusa-style braided ponies, braided hairstyles are having a modern-day cool-girl renaissance. And now that it’s summer, another look is entering the chat: the bow tie braid.
If you’re bored of braids, don’t stop scrolling: The oh-so-charming bow tie differs from its predecessors. Really. Unlike most trending braided hairstyles—like the Y2K-inspired Baby Spice braid—the bow tie look leans into a glam garden aesthetic. It’s not quite coquette or cottagecore, but it’s certainly a close cousin. Think Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Princess Fiona (of Shrek), and/or Smurfette…with a pinch of festival fashion.
“It’s a lot like cottagecore, but instead of tying your hair with a fabric bow, you use your own hair,” says Jose “Che” Rojas, hairstylist at Hair Cuttery. It’s a bit more DIY, sure, but still put together enough to pull off at the office. “People want cute and different ways of putting hair up that aren’t a simple pony or messy bun, and doing a bow tie braid can elevate your look or outfit.”
Rojas adds that the aesthetic of the bow tie braid is overall more “elegant,” making it a great “bridal” look option. Another benefit: These hair bows are super versatile and can be modified for various lengths, textures, and styles.
Whimsical, bow tie braids serve a practical purpose as well—especially when it’s warm out. “Braided hairstyles are a great option for summertime because they sweep hair off the face and neck to keep you cool,” says Amy Abramite, creative director and hairstylist at Maxine Salon, adding that the look requires little to no hot tools, which makes it ideal for higher temperatures. “If the braids are tight, frizziness will be under control on hot humid days by preventing hair from swelling.” As Abramite points out, braided hairstyles can last multiple days without fuss, becoming loose, or having to restyle. Translation? This style is ideal if your hair is hard to manage in the heat.
It’s not surprising that bow tie braids have taken off on beauty-trendsetting platform TikTok. “Bow braid tutorial” and “bow braid” have amassed a combined 5.6 billion views on the app, while “bow hairstyle” overall has collected a substantial 64.9 billion on its own. As for why bows in particular are buzzing: Maybe it’s because they reference a simpler, more wholesome time—or place. Like tending to the garden, for example. “Bows and ribbons have been considered an extravagant fashion accessory for centuries,” Abramite says. “What better way to tie a look together than with a fancy bow?”