Box Braids: How to Install & Care For Your Hair

box braids hairstyles

Box braids have been around for quite a while. With their longevity and great protective style abilities, I don’t see them losing popularity anytime soon. As a licensed cosmetologist and natural hair enthusiast, box braids are typically one of my top five booked hair services on any given month. They take several hours but can last two to three months with proper care. 

How Are Box Braids Done?

This style incorporates kanekalon hair braided in on top of the client’s existing hair. I know a lot of people use Xpressions Hair, but I promise you making the switch to pre-stretched braiding hair makes a world of difference. EZ pre-stretched braiding hair is my hair of choice as it’s anti-bacterial and helps reduce any scalp irritation.    

There are a couple of questions that I ask my clients to make sure that they’ll be completely satisfied with their service. 

First, I ask clients what size braids they desire. You’ll need to know how long they want to get out of their braids, and make sure you select the braids size accordingly.

How Long Do Box Braids Last?

If you only want a few weeks, a large size will suffice. If you’re going for longevity, maybe bring a book or laptop and be prepared for a long install of small-sized braids.

A box braid install can take anywhere between four hours and ten hours, depending on the size of the braids and the speed of the braider.    

box braids hair colors
box braids gallery

Another question I’ll ask is what length box braids they had in mind. Clients may decide anything from a chin-length bob to all their way down to their bottom. I’ve found that in the summer months a lot of people embrace their inner Beyonce and go for those longer lengths!

The length of the braids have nothing to do with how long the style will last, just how long the style will take to install. 

Another thing to decide is what color? Do you want to do a hair color that blends with the clients existing hair color or do you wanna do something bold and funky? Some women like a bold red. Or their existing color with a little blonde mixed in as a highlight.

Just be mindful of what hair colors your work or school may find acceptable. A lot of my little clients like to do colors of the summer when they don’t have to worry about their school dress code

jumbo box braids with triangle parts
super jumbo box braids

Jumbo Box Braids with Triangle Parts

Parting doesn’t have to be the standard boxes! If my client is wanting to rock some large box braids, I always recommend a triangle parting to dress it up!

If you want to get really fancy, you can always do a mix of funky parts and cornrows around large box braids. Half moon parting/free-forming parting is the quickest, so for my little naturals this is my go-to to keep them from having to sit very long. 

Deciding what to do with the ends is usually one of my last questions. You can leave them smooth and straight, braid them first and deep them for a crinkled look or you can throw the ends on rods for lots of curl and volume.

You’ll want to dip the ends into boiling water to keep them smooth and to help prevent unraveling. You can heat water on the stove of this, warm it up in the microwave or use a kettle. 

ALSO READ: How to Install Crochet Braids By Yourself At Home In 4 Hours

box braids styles pictures

Do Box Braids Damage Your Hair?

Before the install, it’s a good idea to clarify the hair to remove all build up and then follow up with a deep conditioner. The braids will be in a while, so it’s a good idea to spoil the hair a bit before putting it away.

After the hair has been washed and conditioned, I like to add a generous amount of hair moisturizer and then oil to seal it in. You’ll want to make sure that your moisturizer has water as its first ingredient. Olive oil can act as a way to seal your hair’s moisture in as well as a heat protector. 

If you’ve ever had a reaction to braiding hair, try a pre-stretched antibacterial hair. You can dip it into some apple cider vinegar to reset the pH balance and give you the maximum amount of relief. You can do this a day or two before, so your hair will be dry by the time you’re ready to install it. 

How to do Acv Rinse for Braiding Hair

You’ll want to touch up your braids with a leave in conditioner every few days. Shea Moisture and Kinky Curly have great hair fresheners that will help keep your hair hydrated under your braids.

Once you’ve applied your leave-in, you’ll want to smooth some oil into your scalp. I like two parts Jamaican black castor oil mixed with one part tea tree oil. The tea tree is an antifungal and helps prevent itchiness. 

ALSO READ: 7 Amazing Oils for Natural Hair, Besides Coconut Oil

How Do You Sleep With Box Braids?

Before bed, you’ll want to cover with a silk scarf or a hair bonnet. If you made the decision to get your child’s hair braided and you’re concerned about them keeping their hair covered, having them sleep on a satin pillowcase is the next best thing. 

Be mindful of how you style your braids. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many clients damage their edges by styling their already tight style into an intricate design.

High ponytails and buns are great, just leave some slack so your edges aren’t over manipulated. It’s a good idea to remove all hair accessories before bed so your hair is allowed to rest. 

Can I Wash My Braids and Can They Get Wet?

Yes, everyone asks, you can absolutely wash box braids! Wash with a clear shampoo, you’ll want something that’s translucent. Focus the shampoo on the scalp, letting the suds run down the length of the hair.

While your braids are drying, you’ll want to tie them down flat to keep your hair from frizzing as it dries. They will take all day to dry so it’s best to wash them in the morning. 

We know that you’ll love rocking this hairstyle! Have you ever worn box braids before? 

About the Author: Dominique is a licensed cosmetologist. She has been styling hair professionally since she graduated from Paul Mitchell the School of Nashville.

She owns her own hair studio in Brentwood, TN where she resides with her husband, son and daughter. In between working and juggling her family, she enjoys shopping and working on her website:  

Dominque Upshur
Dominque Upshur

Dominique is a licensed cosmetologist. She’s been doing hair professionally since she graduated from Paul Mitchell the School of Nashville. She owns her own hair studio in Brentwood, TN where she resides with her husband, son, and daughter. In between working and juggling her family, she enjoys shopping and working on her website:

Find me on: Web

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