You’re feeling good, riding hard, and are this close to your personal best in spin class…when suddenly your ponytail unravels and you lose your pace to wipe your sweaty locks out of your eyes and tie your hair back.
As it turns out, finding a hairstyle that makes it through your workouts intact is as hard as getting a sports bra that actually fits. But we think we’ve found one that will keep your hair in check—in and out of the gym.
Introducing the boxer braid, the latest style to take over your Instagram feed. This tight-to-the-head double braid is so good at keeping hair in check (which might explain why its provenance is in the ring, via female fighters who couldn’t risk being blinded by flyaways) that it’s become a favorite of workout-obsessed social media stars like Kayla Itsines and Hannah Bronfman.
A big part of the appeal? Once you’ve finished your boxing session, you could throw on your leather jacket, spritz a bit of dry shampoo, and keep rocking your boxer braids all day long (bonus points for looking extra tough and cool at the company-wide meeting).
Boxer Braids How To
While the boxer braid might be a bit trickier to master than the similarly beloved half bun, don’t let it intimidate you: According to Michelle Steele, manager and stylist at the braid-driven 901too Salon in Los Angeles, even hair novices can get the hang of it. “The key to the boxer braid is to start with a powdered texture product, like Rahua’s Voluminous Dry Shampoo, which will help even the finest hair appear fuller and make it much easier to style,” says Steele.
The key to the boxer braid is to start with a powdered texture-giving product or dry shampoo.
From there, part your hair down the middle, grab a section of hair near the crown of one side, and divide that piece into three equal sections. Begin braiding by crossing the strand in your right hand under the strand in the middle, following with the piece in your left, pulling in additional hair as you go. Steele likens it to an inside-out, or Dutch, French braid (when in doubt, try a YouTube tutorial), and recommends going slow because you want the braids to be as tight as possible.
And yes, even you and your (long/short/curly/thin/fill-in-the-blank) hair can rock the boxer braid. “[It’s] such a trendy feel right now because you can do it on any hair type,” Steele promises.
Ready to step into the boxer braid ring? These seven It-girl-approved versions will have you ready to lace up that hair and test it out at every workout you love.
The Classic Boxer Braid
As seen on @shaninamshaik
If you’re a purist, this is the look you’re going for: braids tight to the head, and continued through to the tips, which are tightly secured.
The Intentionally-Messy Boxer Braid
As seen on @WeWoreWhat
For the ultimate girl-on-the-go who doesn’t have time to wash her hair after a workout, this style feeds off a looser braid. That means no need to re-tighten after your workout: Just spritz a little dry shampoo, slip into your favorite pair of Stan Smiths and studio-to-street leggings, and no one will be the wiser.
The Boxer-Meets-Fishtail Braid
As seen on @MorganBeau
For the experienced braider, try this two-in-one style. Instead of braiding all the way down, fishtail your hair once you hit the nape of your neck.
The Intentional Flyaway Boxer Braid
As seen on @HannahBronfman
So even your boxer braid couldn’t make it through that HIIT workout without a few flyaways popping up. Disaster? Nope—take a page from Hannah Bronfman (who we think found inspiration in FKA Twigs) and use a bit of hair gel or spray to set your halo of hair in a cool, swirling pattern.
The Boxer-Ponytail Hybrid
As seen on @melsays
For the girl who just can’t quit her ponytail habit, consider this your boxer braid gateway drug. Braid about three-quarters of the way down your head, and then secure both sides of hair in one elastic band.
The Boxer-Rope Twist
As seen on @Rachael_brook
If you’re going for something a bit more fashion than fitness, this is the look for you. Braid from your roots to the nape of your neck, where you’ll secure each side with a hair tie. From there, separate each ponytail into three parts, twisting the remaining hair until you reach the tips. Steele suggests using small, clear hair ties for the tightest grip.
The Boxer Braid Shorty
As seen on @kristin_ess
If you’re rocking the current lob trend, fear not: The boxer braid is for you, too. Just keep braids smaller (do this by dividing your hair up into thirds, quarters, or even fifths), and after your workout you can undo one side of braids for a fierce, high-fashion style.