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Dave East Braids: How to Do Dave East Braids Step-by-Step

Learn how to get your hair braided in a fancy criss-cross at home or by zig zag braid designers like a def jam artist.

Dave East braids have been literally taking over Instagram feeds everywhere– they’ve got a polarizing quality that keeps people talking.

Public reception has been mixed, including everything from ridicule to appreciation.

Want to know how you can create Dave East braids step-by-step?

Well, just read on! In this article, we’ll take a look at Dave East’s infamous braids and walk you through everything you need to know about creating and styling them. 

What Are Dave East Braids?

Dave East is a Harlem, New York rapper and budding grooming icon who’s become known for his stylish braids. Back in 2018, Dave East decided to grow his hair out from a short buzz cut.

Throughout the process, he’s experimented with a number of braided styles with varying degrees of success. Although he switches up his look often (curly fro, choppy buzz cut, etc.), he’s recently settled on a signature cornrowed style.

To create the look, his medium-length hair is parted down the middle and then cornrowed horizontally down both sides. The ends of his braids hang straight down in shoulder-grazing plaits. 

In the video below Dave East shows off a variation of many styles at New York Fashion Week with his hair braided close to his head in a signature style.

Dave East Walks Grungy Gentleman NYFW Show

How to Get Dave East Braids

Dave East braids are an excellent option for anyone with shorter hair who’s looking to grow it out. They’re also relatively simple to do, which makes this style beginner-friendly. Want to know more?

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect Dave East braids. 

DAVE EAST Easy Cornrow Braids Tutorial

Shampoo and Condition Your Hair

The best way to start your Dave East braids is on freshly washed hair. Starting with clean hair will help your braids last longer, look better, and be easier to take down.

It will also give you a chance to deep condition your hair so it’s prepared for the stress of braiding. Wash and condition your hair with a nourishing shampoo and conditioner, and then towel dry your hair with a T-shirt or microfiber towel.

Then, air dry or blow-dry your hair until it’s about 75% dry. 

Part Your Hair

Make a middle part down the center of your head and gather one section of hair with a ponytail holder. Use a wide tooth or rat tail comb to make four to five even horizontal sections on one side of your head.

Remove the ponytail holder and then do the same on the other side.

Secure each parted section with a hair tie or clip to keep it from getting in the way while you work on your hair. Keep in mind that Dave East braids have extremely neat parts.

So, make sure you’re taking your time and ensuring each part is crisp and well-defined.

Create Your Cornrows 

Starting with the front or back of your head, cornrow one of your horizontal sections. Start the braid from the center of your head and go down to the side. Once you’ve reached the end of the cornrow, braid the remainder of your hair straight down.

After you finish, take out the next section and work through the rest of your head. Watch this video to learn how to cornrow.


While Dave East will often have his perfectly parted style braided down the sides of his head, tight to the scalp, be careful not to do your cornrows too tightly.

Cornrows that are too tight can cause traction alopecia and lead to significant hair loss or breakage. After you finish, apply a liberal amount of mousse to your hair.

The mousse will help smooth, seal, and moisturize your braids, so they look great and last longer. 

How to Style Dave East Braids

Dave East braids are incredibly easy to style since the braids pretty much do all the work. To style them, all you have to do is refresh your braids and smooth on a little moisturizing or shine-enhancing product.

To start, apply mousse to your dry hair and use your palms to disperse the product and smooth your hair down. Then, put on a scarf or du-rag to compress your hair and eliminate frizz.

Leave the scarf on for at least ten to fifteen minutes to give your hair time to dry and set. Once your time is up, carefully remove the scarf, and your hair is ready to go!

Note: In addition to the cornrow style braids, the harlem native will periodically wear a traditional cut (a smooth slick look) and a mini afro.

The internet actually went wild recently when Dave East revealed his curly afro on Instagram while listening to “Somebody’s Gotta Die” from the Life After Death album by The Notorious B.I.G.

Kairi's father caught some pushback from his line up and occasionally tapred look and people are partial to Dave's braids.
BrysonTiller Faan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Do Dave East Braids Last?

Your Dave East braids should last up to 6 weeks if properly maintained. Although you can technically keep them in longer, it’s not recommended.

While your hair is in cornrows, they collect all sorts of dust, dirt, oils, and debris. Every six weeks, take your braids down and remove all the shed hair. 

Then thoroughly wash and condition your hair and wait for two to seven days before installing your Dave East braids again.

That will give your hair time to recover and make it easy for you to ensure your hair is getting plenty of much-needed TLC. Once your scalp and hair have had a chance to breathe, you can start the cycle over again.

How to Take Care of Dave East Braids

Although it’s easy to overlook, cornrowed hair still needs regular maintenance. In addition to keeping your braids fresh, correctly maintaining your hair will keep your locks healthy and growing. We’ll break things down below. 

Moisturize Your Hair and Scalp

Cornrows are a protective style, but only if you properly care for them. Luckily, you can keep your hair healthy by providing it with all the moisture it needs.

Use hydrating creams, sprays, and lotions, and seal the water inside your strands with a nourishing, hair-friendly oil. Keep in mind that water is the best moisturizer.

Try spritzing your hair with water before applying the rest of your hair products. 

Cover Your Hair Before You Sleep

Scarves, sleep caps, bonnets, and durags help keep moisture in your locs and protect your hair against friction-related breakage. Covering your hair at night will also preserve your style so that you can wear your Dave East braids for multiple days in a row.

Shampoo and Condition Your Hair Regularly

Even though your hair is in cornrows, it still needs to be washed and conditioned like normal. That will keep your hair and scalp healthy and ensure your braids always look their best.

For the best results, wash your hair up to two or three times a week and follow each shampoo with a nourishing hair mask or conditioner. Be gentle during your shampoo sessions and rinse very well.

Avoid Heavy Products

Because your hair is braided, it is much more susceptible to developing product buildup. Product buildup can make your hair dull, dry, and brittle.

It can also clump up in your braids and make them more challenging to take down.

As a result, you may lose an excessive amount of hair when you take out your cornrows. Instead, hydrate your scalp with nourishing, lightweight products that sink into your strands rather than coat them. 

Dry Your Hair Before Going to Sleep

If you’ve ever gone to sleep with wet hair, you might have noticed a sour, funky smell when you wake up. That’s because braids hold onto moisture and create the perfect conditions for an overgrowth of fungus and bacteria.

In addition to the unpleasant smell, fungus and bacteria can lead to scalp issues like dandruff, itching, and discomfort.

Luckily, you can prevent this by drying your hair thoroughly before you head to sleep. If you can’t avoid it, sleep with your hair uncovered, so it doesn’t hold onto the moisture.

Related Articles

Dave East-inspired braids are a great, relatively low-maintenance style that’s perfect for beginners and braiding experts. They’re also starting to commonly make the list of men’s hair goals.

They also look great and work with a variety of hair lengths! If you’re looking for a new style, we think it’s worth giving these Dave East braids a try. And we hope that this article has given you the confidence to do so!