Home » Braided Hairstyles

Criss Cross Braids: Top 17 Styles + How to Guide

Criss-cross braids are a fun and special kind of hairstyle where the braids cross over each other. This creates an interesting pattern that looks really cool.

Whether you’re looking for a new braided hairstyle to try or you want a special updo for a party, criss-cross braids are a great choice.

With some practice, or help from a hair stylist, you can get a really amazing look that stands out!

Read this article, and get to know the variety of criss cross braiding styles, and secondly, but not secondary, find a step-by-step guide to do it yourself, different ways to style them, and also the most important things to consider.

What Are Criss Cross Braids?

criss cross braids style
Criss Cross Braids

Criss cross braids are basically two or more braids that cross over each other, creating an X shape. You can also call them X-braids or crossover braids.

It is mostly a decorative style and it can be worn in many different ways, from only two Dutch braids to a full-head crisscrossed cornrows pattern, or only several criss cross braids mixed with other cornrows, half criss cross half box braids, and so on.

So this crossover technique can be used in many ways, like Dutch braids or box braids, and they can be worn for casual events or for special occasions.

You can also make your criss-cross braids unique by adding hair accessories or changing the way you part your hair.

They can only cross over each other once, or make lots of back and forth travels, creating a kind of DNA shape.

How to Make Criss Cross Braids

If you know how to do cornrows, X-braids would be very easy for you, as well. Remember, criss cross is mostly only about parting the hair. So, get the party started!

Steps to Create Criss Cross Braids:

  1. Brush your hair. Take your time to do it well, so you don’t encounter any tangled hair or knots while braiding. Use a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner if necessary.
  2. Get your tail comb and divide the hair that you want to braid and tie away the remaining hair (in case you don’t use all of your hair for two crossover braids). The initial sections for two criss cross braids would be as for two equal parallel braids.
  3. At the point that you want your braids to criss cross themselves, make a transverse line and secure the top of one section and the bottom of the opposite one. If you want them to criss cross in multiple places, you need to split the sections again, but make sure you always secure the paths, alternating left and right.
  4. It is time for you to start the braiding process. So, you’ll braid the unsecured section, from the top till the end, alternating left and right paths according to how many times you want them to cross over each other.
  5. When you finish the first braid, release the other sections and start braiding the second one. You’ll need to cross over the first braid to continue braiding the second one. Do it like there is nothing bothering you.

How to Create Criss Cross Rubber Band Braids

How to do Criss Cross Rubber Band Braids
Criss Cross Rubber Band Braids, Instagram/ldluxeb

If you don’t know how to braid, or you just want to try this type of criss cross no-braid braiding, then you’ll need some rubber bands!

  • Start by dipping your rubber bands in olive or baby oil. Let them sit there for about 10 minutes.
  • Brush your hair and divide the sections you want to style into squared sections.
  • Use your favorite styling cream to define your paths and keep your hair in place.
  • Tie your first square section with one rubber band and continue by tying it together with the second of the next row, then tie it together with the third square of the first row and back to the fourth of the second row.
  • Tie the first one of the second row with the second of the first row and all remaining ones.
  • When you need to remove your rubber bands, you can use some lemon or citrus essential oil.

Best Criss Cross Braid Hairstyles For Women

1. Criss-Cross Box Braids with Rubber Band

criss cross braids with rubber band

Divide your hair into squares or rectangles, securing each section with a rubber band at the roots.

Start braiding each section, ensuring that some sections are directed diagonally to form a criss-cross pattern.

The rubber bands help in achieving a neater look and provide extra grip to the braids.

2. Criss-Cross Knotless Braids

criss cross knotless braids

Knotless braids give a more natural and less bulky look at the roots as compared to traditional box braids.

To achieve the criss-cross knotless braids, alternate the direction in which you braid each section, so some braids cross over the others.

3. Criss-Cross Braids in the Front

criss cross front braid

This style involves creating braids that criss-cross at the front of your head. You can start with two braids at the front and cross them over, braiding along the side of your head and to the back. This creates a beautiful and unique headband effect.

4. Criss-Cross Straight Back Braids

straight back criss cross braids

Part your hair from the middle of your head or the side and braid straight back. After braiding a few rows, start crossing sections over from one braid to another to create a criss-cross pattern.

5. Criss-Cross Cornrows

criss cross cornrow braids

For those with Afro-textured hair, cornrows can be styled into a criss-cross pattern. Start by braiding the cornrows in an alternating, zigzag pattern. This will give your cornrows a unique criss-cross appearance.

6. Criss Cross French Braid

criss cross French braid

Select a small section of hair at the front on one side of your part. Split this section into three smaller sections. Start a French braid by crossing the right strand over the middle, and then the left strand over the new middle.

Continue this pattern, but each time before you cross a section over the middle, add a bit of free-hanging hair to the section. Once you have started your braid and are near your ear, start taking small sections of hair from the other side of your part.

Once you reach the back of your head, you can continue braiding the length of your hair in a regular braid, or you can secure it in place and leave the rest of your hair free. Repeat the entire process on the other side.

7. Criss-Cross Dutch Braids

criss cross Dutch braid

Start by parting your hair down the middle. Choose one side to start with and begin braiding from the front of your head.

As you braid, cross over strands from both sides of the part. This criss-cross technique will continue as you move toward the back of your head. Once you’ve completed one side, repeat this same process on the other side.

8. Criss-Cross Braids with Bun

criss cross braided bun

Begin by creating two or more French braids or Dutch braids from your forehead moving toward the back of your head, crossing strands over to create the criss-cross pattern.

Once you reach the crown of your head, combine the remaining lengths of the braids and twist them into a bun. You can choose to do a high bun or a low bun based on your preference.

9. Criss-Cross Braids without Rubber Band

criss cross braids without rubber band

This style can be achieved with a variety of braid types (like box braids, cornrows, or french braids), but the key is to create the criss-cross pattern without the use of rubber bands.

Part your hair into sections. Starting from one end, begin your braid, taking strands from both sides and crossing them over as you braid towards the other side.

The challenge in this style is to keep the sections neat and the tension even without the assistance of rubber bands. It may take a bit of practice but the result can be very stunning.

10. Criss-Cross Crown Braid

criss cross crown braid

Begin a Dutch braid at one side of your head. As you braid, add strands from both sides of the part, crossing them over to create a criss-cross pattern. This will create a crown-like braid encircling your head.

11. Criss-Cross Half-Up Braid

criss cross half up braid

First, separate the top half of your hair. On one side, start a French braid, pulling strands from both sides as you braid towards the back of your head.

When you reach the middle of your head, secure this braid and repeat the same steps on the other side.

12. Criss-Cross Braided Updo

criss cross braided updo

Begin by creating two French braids on each side of your head. Braid each section towards the back of your head.

Once you’ve completed both braids, intertwine them at the back of your head to form a criss-cross pattern. With the remaining lengths, twist them into a bun to finish the updo.

13. Criss-Cross Side Braid

side criss cross braid

Part your hair on one side, and choose the larger section to start with. Begin French braiding from the top, and as you braid, pull strands from the other side, crossing them over to create a beautiful side braid.

14. Criss-Cross Braided Ponytail

criss cross braided ponytail

Start with two sections of hair at the front of your head. Braid each into a french braid, ensuring you cross strands over from the other side. Once both braids are complete, gather all your hair together and secure it into a high ponytail.

15. Double Criss-Cross Braids

double criss cross braids

Part your hair in the middle and start a Dutch braid on each side. As you braid, cross over strands from one braid to the other, creating an intricate criss-cross pattern.

16. Criss-Cross Fishtail Braid

criss cross fishtail braid

Start by creating a traditional fishtail braid. As you braid, every few layers, pull a strand from the opposite side and cross it over, creating a criss-cross pattern within the fishtail braid.

17. Criss-Cross Box Braids

criss cross box braids

Begin by sectioning your hair into several boxes. Instead of braiding straight down, braid diagonally, pulling strands from neighboring boxes and crossing them over. This will give your box braids a unique criss-cross pattern. You can also check these knotless box braid styles for more ideas.

Things to Consider About Criss Cross Braids

Things to Consider About Criss Cross Braids
Criss Cross Dutch Braids. Photo From Inashan’s Archive.

You Can Alternate Crossing Over and Under the First Braid

Generally, when doing criss cross braids, you’ll braid the first cornrow, and the second one will always cross over the first braid. That is just how it naturally seems to work, but it doesn’t mean it has to be like that. If you want to cross the second braid under the first one, you can do it!

For this, you only need a crochet hook, like the one that is used for crochet braids, to bring the braid you work on, under the braided one. Just make sure to secure it by braiding it a little bit more so it will not come undone.

The effect of this method will be like both braids cross over each other.

Braiding Techniques Compatible with Criss Cross Braids

Criss cross braids are a technique suitable for different braiding styles. The most common are cornrows, but as you already know, it can also be done with only the use of rubber bands (and a bit of shining gel), and it can also work with several twisting methods.

Don’t forget to soak the rubber bands in a suitable oil (olive or baby) if you use them, so they will not damage your hair. Also, remove or replace the rubber bands before getting stuck.

Rebraid the Criss Cross Part if Mixed with Box Braids

If you only have criss cross braids from ear to ear, and the rest of your hair is box braided, rebraid the criss cross sector from time to time, especially if you’re using rubber bands.

Take Care of Them

Keep your braids away from friction by using a satin durag or bonnet when sleeping and dressing up. This will help keep your hair in place.

Clean, moisturize and hydrate your hair, as much as you need. You can also use moose and edge control products to keep your hair staying flat and looking nice.

How to Style Criss Cross Braids?

How to Style Criss Cross Braids
Criss Cross Accessorized Braids. Photo From Inashan’s Archive.

Depending on which type of criss cross braids you choose, there are lots of ways that you can style or decorate your braids.

Try incorporating colorful hair extensions or hair accessories (beads, rings, cuff clips, colorful rubber bands, etc) into the braid. This will add a pop of color and make your hairstyle stand out. If you opt for criss cross rubber band braids, you can also use colorful rubber bands.

You can also style the rest of your hair (depending on your pattern choice) in buns, ponytails, or other different ways.


Can you use synthetic hair for criss-cross braids?

Yes, you can use synthetic hair when installing criss cross braids. To make criss cross braid with hair extensions, follow the same steps as mentioned, but

attach the extensions to your natural hair, when you start the braiding process.

Can you make criss cross braids on straight hair?

Yes, criss cross braids can be perfectly done on straight hair.

Can you make criss cross braids on curly or coily hair?

Yes. Criss cross braids can be done on any type of hair. The only difference is the products you need to use in order to detangle, make it stay together, and nourish or take care of it.

How long can you keep criss cross braids on?

The time you can keep your braids on varies depending on the size of the braids, on how well they were done, the type of your hair, and how you care for them.

Usually, criss cross braids can last between several days and up to three weeks, if they are well-maintained.

Can you wash criss cross braids?

Yes, you can wash criss cross braids the same way you wash other types of cornrows. However, you’ll need some extra cautiousness while washing rubber band criss cross braids.

Criss cross braids are a nice aesthetic way to style your hair. Plus, you can experiment with hundreds of different variations. Remember, instead of crisis, do criss crosses and cross all the crises! Hope you’ll love playing with it. Just be creative and love your hair!

Photo of author

Ina Shan

Meet Ina Shan, a professional braider who is one of Romania's most creative braiders. She also writes for the popular hairstyling blog 'HairstyleCamp' as the braid expert and now shares her experience with the reader of 'Hairdo Hairstyle' too! Her exceptional skills have been recognized by clients from around the globe. Her love for unique hairstyles led her to discover the art of braiding. She now cherishes for its versatility, long-lasting results, and ability to preserve natural hair. With extensive personal experience and a focus on caucasian hair, Ina offers specialized braiding services to the population in her area.