Bubble Braids: How to Do Bubble Braids Easy & Step-By-Step

A customer graphic for an article on how to do bubble braids on kinky, curly, wavy, and straight hair strands with out DIY guide for creating bubble braid hairstyles.

Like fashion trends, hairstyles are often recycled, with certain looks resurfacing every few decades. The bubble braid is one of these ever-evolving styles.

Thought to have originated in either the 1980s or 90s, bubble braids are now making a comeback as a popular look for all ages. If you’re interested in getting in on the trend and creating this fun and versatile style, then read on for an easy-to-follow tutorial!

What Are Bubble Braids?

Bubble braids are created by securing a section of hair in elastics from roots to tips, leaving about an inch or two of space between the elastics. This creates a “bubble” effect that can be either subtle or pronounced depending on whether you fluff up the sections between the hair ties or not.

Bubble braids are worn by people of all ages and can be used to spice up a basic ponytail or add detail to an updo. But that’s not all – they can also be done in very small sections to mimic box braids. The possibilities are endless!

Will Bubble Braids Work on Your Hair?

Bubble braids are great for all hair types and textures, making them a must-have for just about anyone’s hairstyle rotation. Just know that you do need enough hair to wrap several elastic bands around. So if you have shorter hair, you may have to enhance your bubble braids with extensions.

How to Do Bubble Braids: 5 Different Styles

When you look up bubble braid styles, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are a ton of variations. From a single straight-back bubble braid to a high bubble pony, there’s something for just about everyone. But since we don’t have time to cover them all, we’ll take a look at five of the most popular bubble braid styles:

Note: These styles can be done with or without hair extensions, depending on your personal preference. Also, ladies with thin, fine hair or shorter hair lengths might need extensions or braiding hair to create the desired style.

A Single Straight Back Bubble Braid

The single straight-back bubble braid is a flat bubble braid that extends from the front of your head to the nape of your neck and hangs down your back. It’s simple, but it still makes a statement.

HOW TO : BUBBLE BRAID | iluvsarahii

Here’s how to get the look:

  1. Wash, condition, detangle, and stretch your hair. To stretch your hair, apply a heat protectant and use a blow dryer (with a comb attachment) on low to medium heat. If you want to stretch your hair without heat, you can braid or twist your hair in sections and then take the braids down an hour or so later.
  2. Put a section of hair at the front of your head into a ponytail and then secure it with an elastic at the roots. To keep things sleek and together at the roots, you can add some gel or edge control to your hairline and the borders of the section before making the ponytail.
  3. Part out another section of hair directly underneath the first one and secure it with an elastic. Continue doing this until you get to the nape of your neck. Try to make the sections equal in size.
  4. Join the hanging hair from the first ponytail with the second ponytail and secure them together with an elastic. Then, join the hanging hair from the second ponytail with the third ponytail, and so on. Once you get to the nape of your neck, wrap elastics down the length of the hair, leaving about an inch or two in between each one.
  5. Gently fan out each section between the elastics to create a bubble effect. Once you are happy with the look, spritz on some hairspray to keep everything in place. And there you have it – an easy, no-fuss bubble braid that looks amazing!

Two Side Bubble Braids

The two side bubble braids look is ideal for days when you’re feeling a little extra. It features two flat bubble braids going straight to the back, with each braid taking up about half of your head.

To some, this bubble braid hairstyle may look intimidating, but don’t worry – it’s actually quite simple!

How To Bubble Braid Your Own Hair Tutorial | Hollie Hobin

To get the look:

  1. Start by washing, conditioning, detangling, and stretching your hair.
  2. Part your hair down the middle so that you have the same amount of hair on each side.
  3. Secure one half of your head with an elastic to keep it out of the way. You’ll work on one side at a time.
  4. Starting on the other side, part out a triangular section of hair at the front of your head and put it into a ponytail. Then, use an elastic to secure that section at the roots. Use some gel or edge control on your roots before putting the elastic on to keep things sleek.
  5. Take your comb and use it to create another section right below the first one. Secure it with an elastic. Repeat this process until you reach the nape of your neck, ensuring that the sections are as similar in size as possible.
  6. Combine the loose hair from the initial ponytail with the hair from the second ponytail and join them together with a hair elastic. Repeat the process with the hair from the second and third ponytail, and continue until you reach the nape of your neck.
  7. Once you reach the nape of your neck, wrap hair elastics down the length of your hair. Be sure to leave a 1-2-inch gap between each elastic.
  8. Repeat this process on the other half of your hair.

Bubble Box Braids

Do you want to try out a box braid-esque look but don’t have the time or patience to do traditional box braids? Well, we’ve got good news – bubble box braids are perfect for you. They’re a lot easier to do than traditional box braids, as there’s no braiding required.


To get the look, follow the below instructions:

  1. Wash, condition, detangle, and stretch your hair to prep it for the styling process.
  2. Separate your hair into 4 main sections to make it easier to work with. Use clips or elastics to keep the sections in place.
  3. Release one of the sections and part out a smaller section within it. This is the hair you’ll use for your first bubble box braid.
  4. Put some edge control or gel on your roots and put an elastic at the base of the section.
  5. Continue putting elastics about 1/2 – 1 inch apart down the length of the section until you reach the ends.
  6. When you get to the end of the section, you can leave the ends as is. Or, if you want the ends to be defined, put some moisturizer on them and coil them with one of your fingers.
  7. Repeat the process on all of the subsections in that section and then on all of the rest of your hair.

Bubble Box Braid Updo

Bubble box braids are the perfect accompaniment to everyday errands, casual outings, or even parties. But if you’re looking for something more on the casual side, you can always turn your bubble box braids into an updo.

To get the look, you’ll follow the steps above to create your bubble box braids.

Once they’re all done, you’ll grab some bobby pins and go to town. Twist and pin your bubble box braids in whatever pattern you’d like. You can go for a classic updo or a French twist, or get creative and make something totally unique! It’s all up to you!

High Bubble Ponytail

The high bubble pony is easily the most straightforward bubble braid style. It takes just minutes to create and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It also adds height to your head, which slenderizes your face shape.

How to Do a Bubble Ponytail

To get the look, follow these steps:

  1. Prep your hair by washing, conditioning, detangling, and stretching it.
  2. Apply some gel or edge control around your hairline and along the nape of your neck.
  3. Brush all of your hair up into a high ponytail and secure it with an elastic.
  4. Add more elastics down the length of your ponytail, about 1-2 inches apart.
  5. Gently pull apart each section to make a bubble effect.
  6. Finish off the look with some hairspray to ensure that the look stays fresh and sleek throughout the day.

How to Add Extensions to Your Bubble Braids

The thing about bubble braid styles is that they look best when they’re voluminous and thick. If your hair doesn’t already fit the bill, you can easily add extensions to get the look you want.

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What Extensions Do You Need?

In the vast majority of cases, the best type of extension hair to add to your bubble braid style is deep wave or afro twist braiding hair. This texture of the hair mimics naturally curly hair and blends in seamlessly when added to your bubble braids. The amount of hair you need will depend on how much volume you want to achieve.

How to Add Extensions to Your Bubble Braids

No matter what bubble braid style you’re doing, the process for adding extensions will be roughly the same. You’ll choose how much hair to add to a bubble braid and then loop an elastic around its midpoint.


Then, you’ll use that same rubberband to attach the extensions to the base of the bubble braid. Watch this video to see how it’s done: After attaching the extension hair, you’ll proceed with the rest of the styling process, depending on the specific style you’re doing.

For instance, if you’re adding extensions to a high bubble pony, you’ll pull your hair into a high pony, add the extensions to the ponytail, and then wrap the elastics around your hair and the extension hair simultaneously.

If your hair texture is different from the extension hair, try to hide it within the extensions if you can. If you’re interested in wearing your bubble braid style for more than a couple of days, we urge you to spray your hair down with a holding spray to freeze it into place.

Otherwise, either your natural hair or the extension hair may peek out and ruin your look. Choose a flexible hold spray, though – you don’t want your hair to be frozen in place to the point that taking the style down becomes difficult.

How Long Do Bubble Braids Last?

Bubble braids are so loved for their unique appearance – not their longevity. So, if you’re expecting long-term wear, you’ll be disappointed. Generally, you can expect your bubble braid style to last anywhere from a few days up to a week. How long the style will last depends on the specific style you’re doing and how well you take care of it.

Should You Do Bubble Braids Wet or Dry?

Though there are some people who like to do their bubble braids on wet hair, it’s not generally recommended. If you do your bubble braids on wet hair, your hair will shrink up afterward, changing your look right before your eyes.

In most cases, the result will be less volume, which isn’t a good look when it comes to bubble braids. With stretched-out hair, you’ll be able to create a ton of volume, and you don’t have to worry about your hair shrinking up later.

So, do yourself a favor and do your bubble braids on stretched-out, dry hair. Just be sure to protect your hair in advance if you plan on using heat. Otherwise, you may end up with heat damage.

Are Bubble Braids Good for Your Hair?

Up until this point, we’ve spoken mainly about how to make your hair look good. But what about the health of your hair? In general, bubble braids are not inherently damaging to the hair.

If you aren’t rough with the blow dryer, and you don’t wrap the elastics or rubberbands around your hair too tightly. If you are rough on your hair, bubble braids could turn out to be damaging.

Can Bubble Braids Curl Your Hair?

If you’re interested in using bubble braids to get heatless curls, you’re in luck. You can use bubble braids to get curls if you leave the braids in for several days. And you can maximize your bubble braid curls by doing them on wet hair.

We advised against doing them on wet hair because the hair will shrink, and you could lose volume. But if you’re not interested in wearing your bubble braids for the sake of the style and want curls instead, try doing them on wet hair and taking them down after your hair dries. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The larger the bubble braid, the larger and less defined your curls will be.

And, vice versa, the smaller the bubble braid, the smaller and more defined your curls will be. You can adjust the size of the bubble braids based on the look you’re going for. To find the right size for you, experiment with multiple and then make your decision.

Can You Sleep in Bubble Braids?

You can sleep in bubble braids as long as they aren’t done too tightly. If they are too tight, you may find that sleeping on them is uncomfortable due to the pain, and you could even experience breakage from the tension.

So, make sure your bubble braids are done just tight enough to hold them in place but not so tight that they’re uncomfortable.

If you want to preserve your look for as long as possible, cover your hair with a satin bonnet or scarf before going to bed. This will keep the style in place and prevent your hair from frizzing up overnight.

Dos and Don’ts of Bubble Braids

Now that you know what bubble braids are, how to do them, how long they last, and more, let’s go over a few dos and don’ts you should know about before trying the style out.


  • Use a detangling brush, comb, or your fingers to make sure your hair is tangle-free before doing your bubble braids. Otherwise, your hair could become matted, and if that happens, you could have a rough time getting your hair detangled.
  • Use elastic bands that are the same color as your hair so they blend in.
  • Use a heat protectant if you plan on using heat to stretch out the hair before doing the bubble braids.
  • Experiment with the size of your bubble braids to find the size that’s right for you.


  • Don’t wrap the elastics or rubberbands too tightly around your hair.
  • Don’t do your bubble braids on wet or damp hair, as this may cost you the volume needed to make the look stand out.
  • Don’t forget to cover your hair with a bonnet or scarf at night if you want to preserve the look.

Related Articles

As you may have realized by this point, bubble braids aren’t complicated by any stretch. With clear instructions and video references, you can bring the style to life like a pro. Use this guide to be creative – try creating a bubble braid mohawk or small bubble braids on short hair.

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about how to create bubble braids. We hope that you found the information in this article helpful and that you’ll give the style a try for yourself. Happy styling!

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