Box Braids

The super-long, rope-thick style of braids and twists we’re seeing right now is a direct throwback to the ’90s–when stars like Janet Jackson, Brandy, and Stacey Dash (probably better known to the masses as Dionne in Clueless) made them their signature look. To this day the style is oftentimes casually referred to as the ‘Poetic Justice,’ after the movie in which Janet Jackson made the hairstyle iconic.

This time around, not a whole lot has changed: Women are still wearing their braids in pretty much the same way, piled high atop the heads (wrapped with a bandanna for an ultra ’90s vibe) or down their backs with a sleek middle part. One major difference for modern day? The welcomed absence of those slicked down edges or “baby hair” in the front. Sorry, Miss Jackson… that’s just a little too nasty for our liking.

Since Solange Knowles started wearing her hair natural in ’09, she’s alternated between rocking her bountiful afro loose and locking it into butt-length box braids. Older sis Beyonce followed suit this summer, swapping her weave for braids in the signature blonde we’ve basically come to accept as her natural color. While black hair fibre is by far the most common color choice for box braids, Beyonce’s lighter alternative is a refreshing reminder that synthetic hair offers endless color options–all of which are free from the damaging effects of using chemicals.

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