Last year might have been the year of the 'man bun', but 2016 is all about boys wearing braids.

The 'man braid' is the latest male hair trend to hit the internet, splitting opinion as it takes over Instagram.

The look mainly involves mixing up a long braid with a short back and sides for maximum impact, in the style of a plaited mohawk. The braid can also be worn as a single cornrow running back across the head, or even as a crown for the most out-there version of the style.

Several men are taking to social media to show themselves combining the man braid with a man bun -- which was the most searched-for hair trend on Google in 2015.

Despite its sudden explosion, the man braid has been quietly gathering pace for some time. Pop star Harry Styles first tried out the concept in 2014, while hair chameleon Jared Leto took over in 2015 when he attended the Golden Globes wearing his ombré locks in a loose braid that ran down his back.

The news has attracted derision from some, with online critics jokingly attributing the craze to the rise of estrogen levels in the water. Yet many have defended it, and even called for the look to be referred to simply as a gender-neutral 'braid.'

The man braid is the latest in a series of quirky male beauty trends to go viral over the past few months, with clip-in buns and glitter beards all claiming their moment in the spotlight over the past year.