There’s a new hair trend taking over the Internet, and this one pays lowkey respects to genetics—and no, it has nothing to do with 23andMe. They’re called DNA braids, and it’s a viral braiding technique that gets its name for resembling the double helix structure of nucleic acid.
Pictures and tutorials of the unique, twisted braids are all over YouTube and Instagram, and luckily, mastering them seems a whole lot easier than getting your PhD in genomics.
It creates a similar look to a fishtail braid, except with this technique you’re working with three sections of hair as opposed to two, and the braid has a twisted effect. Hairstylist Alexandra Wilson posted her take on the braid with a video on Instagram, along with a full written breakdown on how to get the look.
According to Wilson, you begin by separating the hair into three sections, the middle section being the smallest and the stationary strand. You take a little piece from the outside of the left section and cross it over. Then you cross that same section underneath the middle section, and then add it to the right. Next, you take a piece from the outside of the right section of hair, bring it over the middle section and then add it to the left. These two movements are repeated over and over again until you complete your braid. As you continue this technique, Wilson says the braid naturally twists. “Small sections are always better, they make the braid look more intricate,” Wilson writes in her Instagram caption.
And a bonus for anyone who was brave enough to road-test the rainbow hair, the twisted structure of this braid highlights the variation of colors found in this dye trend.
But let’s be honest: Braids are a lot easier to master by actually seeing and watching the technique in motion. You can follow along with Wilson in the Instagram video, or try out this YouTube tutorial above from vlogger Alex Gaboury.
While DNA braids don’t seem too intimidating, they’ll definitely require some forearm strength. Be sure to rest up before you recreate the structure of your genetic code.