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Team Natural Totally Made Braids A Top Beauty Trend In 2015

Head wraps off to Zendaya, Zoe, Solange and more.

When I was a wee Long Island, N.Y., tween with a weakness for boy bands and a tendency to daydream, I'd spend hours doing my Barbie doll's hair. I would run her glossy blonde tresses under the faucet, styling her wet hair into a series of braided looks.

Maybe it was this black girl's way of finding common ground with a treasured object -- one that blinked the bluest eyes and boasted a waist-length mane -- that bore little resemblance to me (or most girls of any complexion for that matter). I was just trying to close the beauty gap Mattel had created.

But the toymaker must have caught the wave this year because in late September, they unveiled a Zendaya Barbie, complete with the actress/singer's headline-making Oscar night 'loc extensions.

That wave, according to Google, signaled that "braids are back in a big way," becoming the "most prominent among top trending hairstyles for women."

Basically, women were not only embracing their natural hair in record numbers, but based on search volume, the biggest trends were "box braids":

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... and "goddess braids":

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It wasn't just liberated black girls tossing their chemical hair straighteners driving all of that Internet traffic though. Everyone from Teen Vogue to Kylie Jenner started crushing on cornrows.

Debates about cultural appropriation aside, for black girls who've long dealt with racist attitudes and stereotypes about their hair, seeing mainstream culture finally begin to embrace the beauty of braids feels long overdue and worth some applause. Fingers crossed that this is a wave that won't crash anytime soon.