Your Guide to the 10 Best Braiders in the Game

As one of the oldest hairstyles in history, braid trends go through waves of popularity. Who can remember the early 2000s when just about every pro athlete and rapper donned cornrows weaved into intricate statement-making patterns? The ebb and flow will likely forever continue and this year, the tide is in! This time around, pretty plaits are popping up in the form of colorful cornrows, Bantu knots, cool fishtails, and more. (We're even spotting braided lace-fronts—now, that's a must-see.) Here, we introduce you to the master weavers of the season's coolest trends and where to find them.

Lyndsay Green May, 13, 2016

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He's the guy behind some of the best celeb wigs around, styling girls like Karrueche Tran, Porsha Williams, and most famously, Kylie Jenner. But when a recent photo of corset braids began trending on Instagram, we couldn't help but notice—Tokyo Stylez created them first! Now, corset cornrows aren't exactly a new trend, however seeing them on a lace-front wig is a first for us.

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A beauty oasis with dozens of hair, nail, and makeup salons just outside of Detroit, Shauwny is the CEO of Hair Boss Lounge. On any give day, you can find the lounge packed with women in line for Shauwny and her team of stylists' popular Ghana braids, and two braids complete with smooth baby hairs. Speaking from experience, it's worth the wait!

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FKA Twigs is known for three things: an eclectic style sensibility, exaggerated baby hairs, and bold braids. The guy responsible for the latter? Soichi Inagaki. You can thank the stylist for many of Twigs' most dramatic looks of all time, like this braid.

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As an editorial and celebrity stylist, New York-based Lacy Redway's work can be seen on clients like Yara Shahidi, Amandla Stenberg, Jourdan Dunn, and more. But don't expect a simple braid from Redway. Girl's known for so-not-basic styles, often opting for complex patterns and perfectly imperfect textures.

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You know those athletes and rappers who rocked cornrows in the early 2000’s? Bet Allen Iverson was one who came to mind. How about Da Brat? Atlanta-based braider McKinley Hankerson is responsible for many of Iverson and Da Brat's looks. She's also worked with other clients who have been known for their braids like Ludacris and then newcomer, Trey Songz.

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Kim Kimble has been getting Beyoncé's hair into formation for years. Naturally, the stylist was the go-to for creating Bey's hip-length cornrows for the "Formation" video released earlier this year—as well as every single style seen in "Lemonade," which includes a range of braided ponytails, crowns, updos, and more.

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As Kimble's protégé, Kendra Garvey has also worked with Beyoncé and is responsible for some of those braids we saw on the all-female drum line that opened the icon's Super Bowl halftime performance this year. She's also worked with celebs like Tia Mowry, Tika Sumpter, and Taraji P. Henson as pictured.

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We couldn't forget the woman behind the go-to summer style that Michelle Williams rocked just last month. Erica works out of Angel's Touch salon in Oak Forest, Illinois and can be booked through StyleSeat!

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Traditional with a twist. That's what we'd call LA-based braider Jahmai Lumpkin's signature style. Page through her work and you'll find tons of classic styles with unexpected add-ons like cornrows in every color of the rainbow.

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Mimi is known for her work on artists like Wale and Travis Scott, but what we really admire is her support for fellow braiders across the country. Head to her Instagram account where she has over 120K followers, and you'll find frequent shout-outs promoting other stylists' work.


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# Hair