The Differences Between Tree Braids & Micro Braids

Tree braids are similar to micro braids in technique more than appearance.

Photo: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

When it comes to braided hairstyles, the number of different sizes and looks can make it difficult for a girl to decide which plaited style is the right style for her. Sure, some might think that all braids are the same, but many differ in technique, appearance or both. Tree and micro braids are two popular styles that are often confused for one another. Although there are certain similarities between the two, it is important to recognize their differences before making a decision.

How They're Made

Micro braids are made by creating very small sections and braiding each of those sections straight down. This can be done with or without the addition of synthetic or human hair, depending on the length and thickness of your own hair and the look you're going for. If you're adding hair to the braid, all of the added hair is braided into your natural locks. Tree braids are also made by adding either synthetic or human hair; however, they are made to leave a good deal of the added hair unbraided. This is done by pulling sections of the additional hair free as the braid is being created.

The Look

While tree and micro braids are both braided hairstyles, the final outcome is quite different among the two. If you're a girl who'd rather flaunt more loose hair than braided hair, tree braids are the style to choose. That's because the loose hair tends to cover up a majority of what's been braided. If you're ready to show off just how beautiful being braided can be, micro braids are visible and ready to be seen. When it comes to fullness, the loose hair in tree braiding gives the hair more body, especially when wavy or curly hair is used to create the look.

Individual or Cornrows

Unlike micro braids, a girl has options when it comes to the type of braid used to create tree braids. While individual braids are an option for both styles, your hair can also be braided into cornrows when you are getting tree braids. This is a plus if you want your plaited hair to be less visible.

Natural Hair Condition

If hair thinning -- or even balding -- is the bane of your mane's existence, tree braiding takes the cake when it comes to concealing. Because the loose hair covers a majority of the braided hair, it'll naturally camouflage areas of thinning and make your hair appear thicker and fuller. Micro braids aren't that forgiving, and because the braids -- and your scalp -- will be easy to see, any less-scanty or hair-free patches will stand out.

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