Get Ready To *Flip* Over TikTok’s Latest Braid Trend

This update is so chic.

Originally Published: 
Fulani tribal braids

Protective styles have always been at the forefront of trends for Black women. Whether permed or natural hair, summer or fall, they’ve relied on variations of braided looks to add versatility to their rotation of hairstyles. Over the years, many of the classic techniques have evolved to reflect current beauty and fashion trends. Box braids now include myriad of creative options designed to prevent damage from tension, and cornrows have transitioned well past simple straight-back designs. Flip-over Fulani braids is the latest style to get a modern update. With deep historic roots, the look recently surfaced with a new twist that’s quickly becoming an internet sensation.

“Originated and made popular by the Fulani people of Africa, Fulani braids, also known as tribal braids, is a braided style that incorporates a mixture of cornrow and box braids,” says Felicia Leatherwood celebrity stylist and CEO of Brush With The Best. You might recall spotting the traditional version during the early aughts when Alicia Keys first burst onto the scene sporting various versions in her videos and performances. Similar to how she put her spin on the ancestral hairstyle, TikTokers and stylists are currently doing the same with flip-over Fulani braids.

As trends tend to do on social media, it’s spreading like wildfire and solidifying its spot as one of the top protective styles of the moment. Ahead, TZR taps two celebrity stylists for everything to know about the unique look, including what to know before heading to the salon and how to maintain it at home.

What Are Flip-Over Fulani Braids?

“Traditional Fulani braids start with cornrows placed around the crown of the head and are then blended with rows or sections of braids beginning at the back of the head,” says Xia Charles, celebrity stylist and owner of Braided New York hair salon. But what sets this flip trend apart from the original style is the placement of the loose braids. No longer relegated to the back of the head, the braids are mixed into the pattern of the cornrows in order to create a style that’s free-flowing with movement.

In line with another one of the summer’s top protective style trends, boho braids, flip-over Fulani braids instantly evoke an easy-going and vacation-ready vibe. As Charles tells TZR, “this version is very versatile and stylish, it’s perfect for the summer which makes sense why we’re seeing it everywhere right now.”

Prepping Your Hair For Flip-Over Fulani Braids

As a protective style, Fulani braids are polished and easygoing, and this trending look does the same. “There’s low manipulation with these braids, which reduces the need for everyday styling from hot and mechanical tools both of which may cause damage, says Charles. To save time, some salons may require you to come to your appointment with your hair pre-washed beforehand. If that’s the case, Leatherwood has a few tips that will help make your braiding session go smoothly. “A thoroughly cleansed scalp and clean hair is the best canvas for any braider to work on,” she says. That said, it’s a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo, such as Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight Sulfate-free Shampoo, that will keep your scalp free of buildup after styling.

Next, Charles suggests parting the hair into sections and gently detangling it to avoid breakage during the braiding process. Drying is also very crucial, as hair is at its weakest when it’s wet and is most prone to split. “Using a quick drying tool, like the Revair system, is ideal for cutting down the prep time in the salon and allows your stylist to jump right into braiding,” adds Charles.

How To Maintain Flip-Over Fulani Braids

There are a few important rituals to follow when maintaining braids, including hydrating the hair that’s tucked away and consistently supporting the health of your scalp. But thanks to the mix of braids and cornrows, flip-over Fulani braids make the at-home upkeep simple. “Having both styles means that you’re able to moisturize your scalp daily (and easily) which will ultimately help prevent flakiness and dry ends that can lead to damage,” says Leatherwood.

As for the braids themselves, Charles tells TZR that moisturizing them is going to make all the difference in prolonging your style. She recommends adding lightweight products that will seal in moisture to the braids and keep them looking fresh. “Fulani braids can last six to eight weeks depending on how well you take care of them,” she says. Given the versatility and popularity of the flip-over style, you’ll probably want to enjoy the look as long as possible.

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