(Marieclaire) – Just a few days shy of the official start of summer (though most of us long ago traded our leather jackets for crop tops and our lattes for margaritas), style icon Rihanna was spotted out and about on the streets of New York City fully embracing the hot weather with a brand new look: deep red waist-length box braids.
*screams in black girl magic*
Last night, the 31-year-old stepped out to make an appearance at the NYC pop-up launch for the latest addition to her womenswear line FENTY, just a month after the luxury brand’s debut. Clad in a sexy hot pink silk minidress (from the new 6-19 collection), Rihanna brought the sunshine on what was an otherwise cloudy day.
Though Rihanna has never been one to shy away from switching up her look (the classic Umbrella asymmetrical black bob! The Loud era fire engine–red bundles! the Anti bantu knots!!!!!), we haven’t seen her rock box braids before, but, as expected, Rih slays the protective style. The jumbo braids, waist-length and a stunning fiery red color, coordinated with Rihanna’s perfectly pink pout to provide a gorgeous contrast against her skin. Is there anything this woman can’t pull off??
Often referred to as “Poetic Justice braids,” a callback to Janet Jackson’s iconic aesthetic in the 1993 John Singleton film, box braids and their variations are are a popular protective style for black women seeking to give their natural hair a break—constant washing, conditioning, detangling, and styling of one’s natural tresses can often weaken or damage hair, so keeping it under wraps with this cool and convenient style is super common in the winter as well as the summer.
Interested in channeling your inner bad gal with box braids of your own? Heads up: This style can take 4–8 hours to complete, depending on how thick and long you want the braids to be. Not to worry, though; you can also make Riri proud with one of these braided hairstyles that will take significantly less time.