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Beauty doesn’t have to mean delicacy. Strength and confidence are gorgeous, just like these tough, ropey braids. These tight twines are thicker than cornrows but have the same head-hugging silhouette. The looks are strong, but not severe. Try these powerful braids paired with a sporty dress or wear them to your kickboxing class; they’ll add confidence to any look. Click the style notes for step-by-step instructions. –– Laura Martin

Step: Start with second-day hair. Mist mid-lengths and ends with refresh and brush through. Divide into thick rows, vertically or horizontally, clipping each row separately.

Step: Braid each row using an inverted french braiding technique and tight tension. Secure at the nape, leaving ends loose or proceed to ends.

Step: For a matte finish, mist completed braids with refinish and pull apart slightly to create wisps. For a glossy finish, mist with holding spray and use a tail comb to smooth flyaways.

Special thanks to Laura Martin for this post. Laura is a professional hair stylist, former senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, and a creative non-fiction MFA student at Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA

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