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Box Braids Hairstyles— All You Need to Know Before Installing this Hairdo

If there’s one attachment hairstyle that’ll always be in vogue it has to be box braids hairstyles.

This coiffure has been in existence for as long as I can remember. And the crazy thing about it is that it doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

Instead, hair enthusiasts are finding different ways to tweak it and birth new hairstyles from this coiffure. That’s why we have knotless, butterfly braids and other African braids taking cues from the regular box braids.

If this hairdo is what you plan to wear next, kudos! Your being on this page shows you’re on the right track.

You’ll find beautiful braid inspirations in this article. But if you aren’t careful, box braids may damage your hair. 

Thus, to prevent this beautiful hairstyle from becoming your worst nightmare, we included in this article pro tips for you to follow.  

Wondering what these guidelines are?

There’s only one way to know: keep reading to learn and get inspired.

What are Box Braids Hairstyles?

beautiful lady rocking chunky black box braids

Box braids are protective hairstyles that feature individual plaits, created by sectioning the hair into small squares and braiding from the roots. They protect your hair from environmental elements and manipulation.

You can achieve this style with your natural hair. But for more accents, many women prefer to add hair extensions like attachment, Brazilian wool, baby wool,  etc., to increase the length and density of their braids.

So, feel free to use any color of extension you’re comfortable with, whether black, brown, red, green, blue, purple, etc.  It gives a spark to your hair, different from your usual hair color and length.

lady taking mirror selfie rocking sky blue box braids

Besides being a protective hairdo, this style requires low maintenance. Once you install it, you won’t have to spend hours restyling or washing your hair. 

But there’s a drawback: It’s time-consuming and somewhat expensive. Depending on the style and size you want, you’ll have to sit for long hours for your hairstylist to install it for you. 

Since this hairstyle is on your mind, perhaps, you may be wondering… 

How Long Do Box Braids Last?

pretty lady wearing chunky gold box braids

First, this is dependent on three factors:

Your type of hair, how your hair stylist installed the braids, and how well you take care of them.

If your hair is relaxed and your braids are thin and full, they can last for four to six weeks. 

But if you’re a naturalista, your braids should stay for three to four weeks if they are thin and dense. Chunky braids won’t last long on natural hair. So, if this is your choice, expect it to last for two or three weeks.

Above all, if you take proper care of your braids, they’ll last you long enough to make a style statement with them. As Dr. Kari Williams, Celebrity Hairstylist at Mahogany Hair Revolution, said:

“The hair becomes ruined when the braids are installed improperly with too much tension or weight.” 

Kari Williams
lady wearing black and lemon box braids hairstyle

But for the sake of your hair, don’t leave your braids longer than eight weeks. 

Doing so can break your hair. What’s worse? Dead skin cells, natural oils, and shed hair won’t escape from beneath the braids. And when this happens, your hair breeds bacteria.

That aside, if they stay longer than eight weeks, they won’t look as attractive as they used to. One reason is that your hair will be sticking out of the extension.

Styles of Box Braids Hairstyles

pretty lady wearing medium sized black box braids

This hairdo comes in different styles some which include:

  • Chunky box braids
  • Thin box braids
  • Medium-sized box braids
  • Knotless braids
  • Butterfly braids
  • Bob box braids
  • Extra long box braids
  • Colourful box braids
  • Curly box braids
  • One million braids
  • Crochet box braids

You can have them at any length you’re comfortable with.

lady looking onto the sun rocking thin pink box braids

If you want them as bob or you want them to stop at your back or waist, you’ll have it. And if you want to curl the ends of your braids, it’ll happen.

This style is versatile enough to achieve anything with it. You just have to ensure your hairstylist understands your goal.

That aside, there was a time one million braids were in vogue. This style featured many teeny-weeny braids.

I really don’t know what fascinated women who wore this hairstyle back then.

lady looking at her phone with black and blue box braid hairstyle

I mean, imagine how long it would take to install and then loosen them. The worst was that the extensions could easily pull off with your hair in them.

But because it was trendy, women jumped on it and lost their hairline in the process.

Thankfully, extremely tiny braids have left the scene. So, pick any of the other types of box braids and go with the flow.

What to do Before Getting Box Braids Hairstyles

lady wearing green box braids

Before you sit to achieve this hairstyle, ensure you do these:

1. Keep Your Hair Clean and Moisturized

shy lady with thin pink box braids

If your hair isn’t neat and properly washed, your braids won’t last for long. So, shampoo and condition your hair.

pretty lady wearing medium-sized box braids

You can do this at the salon and have your stylist blow-dry your hair afterward. And don’t forget to moisturize your hair with natural oils or good hair cream.

2. Resolve to Sit for Long

lady wearing short black box braids with curls at the ends

If possible, be prepared to spend most of your day in the salon. Although this depends on the size of your braid and the speed of your hairstylist, this mindset is necessary so you don’t rush your hairstylist into doing a haphazard job.

lady wearing a mixture of black and blue box braids hairstyle

So, relax in your seat. Get busy with a book or social media while your stylist works wonders on your hair.

And when you experience sitting fatigue, don’t hesitate to ask for a break so you can stretch or use the convenience.

3. Ensure Your Stylist is Skilled

lady rocking hot pink box braids

When picking a stylist, don’t judge them based on their finished work alone.

Does your chosen hairstylist care about the overall health of your hair? Do they really understand the techniques involved?  Do they pick edges and exert pressure during the braiding process? Will they empathize with you when it gets painful? 

lady wearing black and pink box braids hairstyle in her mirror selfie picture

Confirm all these before paying anyone to ruin your hair in the guise of beautifying it.

4. Communicate with Your Hairstylist

lady wearing black box braids mixed with other colors

Similar to the above, you should also communicate with your stylist. Don’t Just sit there and let them do anything they want.

It’s your hair and your money. So, tell them what you want. If it feels like the braids are too tight, feel free to tell them to adjust their hands. And if you want it in any style, communicate your preferences with them.

lady wearing black facemask rocking long black box braids

This will ensure the finished product is exactly what you had in mind.

5. Don’t Restyle Them Immediately

lady making medium black box braids hairstyle

Box braids are versatile and as such, you can manipulate them into ponytails, updos, buns, etc. 

However, resist the urge to restyle them immediately you leave the salon. Instead, give the braids some days or even a week to loosen up before you do so.

lady wearing burgundy box braid hairstyle

Why? Restyling them early adds more pressure to your scalp. And in return, you may feel a headache or pull off a strand or more.

So wear them down for some days before restyling as you like.

6. Keep Your Edge Control Handy

lady rocking long brown box braids

Hair wax will keep your edges in place and add more details to your hair.

Furthermore, as your braids get old, your baby hair would look rough. To keep them in shape, use edge control to style your edges.

lady wearing long box braids with curly ends

It’ll further beautify your hair and make it more attractive.

7. Know What to do if the Braids End up too Tight

lady in a car wearing long black box braids

Even after speaking with your stylist, don’t be surprised if the braids turn out tight. And if that happens, the tips on how to loosen tight braids will come in handy.

lady taking a mirror selfie with long black and gold box braids

But if you use them and they don’t ease your pain, feel free to get rid of the braids. Your health is more important than style.

8. Know When to Loosen Your Braids

lady with back tattoo with thin colored box braid hairstyle

When you look in the mirror and see your braids now look unkempt, take them off. They shouldn’t stay longer than six to eight weeks otherwise they’ll damage your hair.

back view of a lady's long black box braids with beads at the ends

And when loosening them, do so carefully lest you should create knots that’ll be difficult to untangle without breaking your hair. 

Can Box Braids Hairstyles Damage Your Hair?

lady rocking thin long box braids

Yes, box braids can damage your hair especially if you attach hair extensions and they stay too long. 

Moreso, if your hairstylist exerts too much pressure on your scalp, it can pull your hairline and cause alopecia.

lady wearing long red box braids outside

Scared of Hair Breakage? Go for Knotless Braids

Unlike the regular box braids hairstyles, your stylist won’t knot your hair tightly from the base with hair extensions to achieve knotless braids.

Instead, they start by braiding your natural hair from the roots and feeding in extensions as they braid on.

Go for this hairstyle if you’re scared of hair breakage or tight braids. Need inspiration on that? Check out our guide on knotless braids hairstyles.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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  1. Thanks for the reminder that the tightness is also an important factor to consider when it comes to box braids hair styling. One of my friends is interested in getting that kind of hairstyle someday because she had grown her hair quite a lot in the past year. Doing something cool with it will make it all worthwhile.

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