Boxer braids first hit the mainstream in, you guessed it, a boxing movie.
Hilary Swank’s character in Million Dollar Baby takes to the ring in a practical style that kept her hair from her eyes and out of the way of her mean left hook.
Since the 2004 movie, the style has moved out of the gym and into the fashion sphere.
Not only have boxer braids been spotted on the catwalk, but also on the heads of the Kardashians, Katy Perry and Karlie Kloss.
Think of it as a 3D version of a French braid. Rather than the plait being smooth against your scalp, it pops out prominently.
It may look complicated, but Leigh Dole, owner of Blow Bar Co, says it’s an easy style to master and more people are coming into the salon to request braids rather than smooth blow drys.
“With a French braid, you bring the hair in from the sides and plait it over, with a boxer braid you’re bring the hair in from underneath,” she says.
“Practice on someone else first, it’s all about getting the movement and understanding the technique then you can do it on yourself while looking in a mirror.”
To make it easy on yourself, go with day-old hair.
“You want dirty hair, definitely. It gives you grip,” Dole says.
“It’s a great style if you have a lot of hair and if you have fine hair, you can make it look a lot thicker. Mouse makes it much more workable plus it adds volume and texture.”
The key to making boxer braids cool is texture.
After it’s done, you want to gently pull out the plait so it looks thicker and slightly imperfect.
“It gives it more dimension and is a strong editorial look,” Dole says.
Once you’ve got the basic technique, it’s time to step it up a notch or three.
“You can position the braids to focus on different parts of your head to enhance your facial features. If you draw the braid from the side of the head rather than the top, it enhances the cheekbones,” Dole says.
“Start with the braids on top and then finish it in a fishtale braid or wrap the ends into a chignon.
“Position the braid on the crown rather than a part, so it looks like a veil. It’s a much cooler look than a headband.”