Are you looking for a hairstyle that makes bad hair days a thing of the past? If your answer is affirmative, then sit tight and read further! We are going to tell you everything about box braids, which make your hair look perfect at any given time of the day and night. This look includes many braids of different thicknesses and colors.
Box braids are versatile and always look beautiful. One of the must-have styles are long box braids. These long braids can have different lengths that range from the waist and beyond! Because we love these super stylish braids, we have put together a collection of 100 best braid looks to delight you. You will find thin, thick, and vibrant braids, extra hairstyles and more.
Box braids are not all about good looks. In fact, this hairstyle protects your natural hair from breaking and helps is grow nicely. Moreover, it requires minimal styling once it’s done. Numerous FAQs and their answers will clarify every aspect for you!
Celebrities rely on the braiding talent of Charlotte Mensah, Lacy Redway and Larry Sims to share their best care tips before, during and after. So, let’s see what types of box braids are there and how to care for them!
Box Braids – Frequently Asked Questions
In order to find out everything you need about box braids, we will answer to the most frequently asked questions.
What are Box Braids?
Box braids are finely braided plaits. The hair is split into a clean pattern and then braided down together with synthetic hair.
How Do I Prepare My Hair for Box Braids?
Deep care is essential for hair preparation. “That’s how hair is strengthened and revitalized,” says London hairdresser Charlotte Mensah. In addition, your hair should be thoroughly cleansed and untangled in order to eliminate product build-up and prevent hair breakage. Also, by drying your hair before braiding it, you avoid the frizz.
Which Hair Extensions are Best for Box Braids?
According to hairstylist Larry Sims, the hair extensions type depends entirely on your personal preferences. “Synthetic hair is more popular and lasts six to eight weeks,” he explains. “Human hair is softer and usually lasts for three to four weeks.”
Mensah recommends thin braids for finer hair types: “If the braids are too wide, you may not get the volume you want and you may damage your natural hair.” Conversely, for those of you with thick hair, thick braids are a good choice.
The materials available to make the most popular box braids are Kanekalon and jumbo. In terms of appearance, the two materials promise the same result. However, jumbo is lighter and therefore more suitable for those who want long and voluminous braids. Moreover, both types of synthetic hair come in a wide range of colors. The array starts with natural hair colors and goes all the way to bright and fancy colors or color combinations. In other words, for those of you who dislike monotony, box braids are a great hair-styling option.
What are the Functions Met by Synthetic Hair?
The braided synthetic hair fulfills several functions. On one hand, it confers the desired fullness and length to the braids. On the other hand, it protects your natural hair and makes the entire hairstyle more durable than without it. In addition, with the help of synthetic hair, you can use colorful accents. All these are possible without damaging your natural hair!
The braiding of synthetic hair makes this hairstyle last for months longer. Also, the braids are voluminous, firmer and can be extended to the waist and beyond. In addition to the added protection offered by synthetic hair, there is also the option of thermally sealing the ends of the braids. Professional hairstylists actually use synthetic hair for these reasons.
Synthetic hair is woven in from the hairline and then braided down a few inches, or as long as desired. So, the plaits’ ends only consist of artificial hair, therefore they can be thermally sealed. You can also wave or curl the ends for a particularly feminine and elegant touch.
Are Afro Braids Just for Women?
Afro braids are incredibly versatile and super easy to clean. So, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t look good on both men and women. The possibilities are numerous: fine or slightly thicker braids, short or long, with or without waves. By the way, wavy Afro braids are called zig zag braids. Moreover, these braids are a hit for children as well! This is because they are low maintenance and a protective hairstyle.
Which Hair Type is Required for Full on Braiding?
Whether you are the owner of frizzy or straight hair, you must know that you can get Afro braids in any case. They are actually suitable for every hair type. However, people with serious hair loss problems and those who are prone to migraines should refrain from trying it. This is because, especially during the first days, when the braids are very tightly tied to the scalp, headaches may occur more frequently.
Which is the Minimum Natural Hair Length Needed?
Your natural hair must be between 2 and 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long in order to be braided. This length vary depending on how thick you want the braids to be. Short hair can be braided in thin plaits easier than in thick plaits.
For How Long Can I Wear the Braids?
The finer the braids are plaited, the longer they can be worn. If you have decided to use artificial hair, you can wear the braids for 3-4 months. The wearing time can be extended through various methods depending on how fast your natural hair grows and whether or not you are a perfectionist. After the wearing time has passed, the braids must be undone or re-woven.
What are the Main Differences Between Thick and Thin Braids?
Wide-plaited braids initially bring a more pleasant hair feeling with them. This is because they draw less and tie up easier. However, they hold for a shorter amount of time compared to thin braids. Thin braids are noticeably firmer and you can wear them longer. The synthetic hair is woven into the resulting strands, which is also used in case of very thin plaits.
How are the Ends Sealed?
The ends can then be sealed in different ways. Depending on your preference, you can use colorless nail polish, a lighter or simply dunk the tips into hot water. If you are a bit uncertain about the durability of the chosen synthetic hair and you are afraid of ruining it, you should not. These sealing methods are tested and work as promised.
What About the After Care?
When you undo the braids, you will see lots of loose hair. This is because the hairs that would normally fall during a day are stuck withing the braids. So, they will become visible when you undo your braids. This is no reason for concern as you would’ve lost them anyway.
Even if braided hair doesn’t harm your strands in any way, after wearing the braids you can cut the ends of your hair a little. In this way, it will continue to grow in a healthy manner. Remember to use a revitalizing shampoo, hair conditioner, hair masks and so on.
Styling Options for Thin and Thick Box Braids
Box braids are super easy to care for and very versatile. So, this means that you do not always have to wear your braids “open”. This is because there are a lot of hip braid styles that you can try. Here are our favorites:
Braids Knotted at the Top
What you need to do in order to obtain this hairstyle is to pick a few braids from the crown area of your head, form a knot with them and then secure them. The knot type that you make should be according to the length of your braids. The wilder the strands meander around your head, the more extravagant your hairstyle will look in the end.
Faux Mohawk Made of Braids
This hairstyle is much easier to achieve with box braids than with natural hair. What you need to do is to move the braids towards the middle top of your head and find a way to secure them properly. This created the impression of a mohawk.
Box Braids Shaped Like Space Buns
You can create a girly look with the help of space buns. In order to achieve it, you must simply twist two buns on the right and left side of your head. There is no limit when it comes to how many buns you can make. You can let your imagination play freely.
Braids Made of More Braids
Since your entire hair is braided, you have a full head of braids. This means that you can use them as normal hair in order to braid them too. Of course, this might be difficult to do with very thick box braids. However, it goes pretty well with the other thicknesses.
Accessorized Box Braids
Just as any other hairstyle, you can accessorize your box braids. You can do so with special accessories for braids, headbands, flowers and so on. Don’t underestimate the power of decorating your braids!
Half Up, Half Down Afro Braids
Next, we have another half hairstyle. This uses thick and long box braids and looks super trendy. You can adjust this look or test braids in a different color. Red would look awesome and ombre too. It’s an easy-to-wear hairstyle that everyone will enjoy.
Box Braids – Ways to Fight the Frizz
As an anti-frizz agent, Mensah recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase. Also, he recommends braiding the frontal plaits again every two to three weeks. In this way, your hairstyle will not only look fresh, but it will also look neat. Moreover, to help control baby hairs coming out of the braids, specialists recommend using hair gel and applying it with a toothbrush.
To keep the hair as long as possible and looking beautiful, you should avoid friction. Therefore, it is advisable to braid the plaits at night into a thick braid. Also, you could put an old pair of pantyhose over your head in order to protect your hair while you sleep.
The Right Care for Your Box Braids
We will give you the good news first: In general, the maintenance of box braids is not at all costly. This hairstyle is easy to clean. Therefore, it is very practical for those of you who prefer to style their hair fast. Also, we will provide numerous care tips for you to succeed maintaining your braids beautiful for a long time.
Once per week, you should wash your braids. In this regard, you should be as gentle as possible. Since we don’t want hairs to come out of the braids, the washing process should be done with patience. Avoid exposing your braids to unnecessary friction at all costs. If you do so, your braids will look fresh and well-groomed for a longer period of time.
Transparent shampoo is recommended for washing. This is because it will not leave any visible residue in the braids. Moreover, the easiest way to distribute the shampoo in your braids is to press them together. Rinse your braids very well once you’re done.
When it comes to drying your braids, things are just as simple. After you get out of the shower, you should wrap a large towel around your braids. Next, you might want to wait for about 5 to 10 minutes in order to make the braids less drippy. So, the moisture must be transferred to the towel. After you’re done, just leave the plaits in the open air to get dry.
Box Braids May Cause Scalp Issues
During the first days after getting Afro braids, you might have an itchy and tensed scalp. This happens because your scalp has to get used to the tightness of the braids. They cause a sort of tension that makes the scalp sensitive for a couple of days.
- Fill a spray bottle with hair tonic and spray it on the irritated areas. Itching banned!
- To keep the braids well-groomed and moisturized, use leave-in conditioner regularly. The latter doesn’t leave any residue in your hair.
- Apply hair oil if the tips are dry.
- At first the braids feel a bit stiff. Warm water softens the braids over time.
- Use toners for the scalp. These antimicrobial cures cleanse and invigorate the scalp between washing. At the same time, the scalp is moisturized, which leaves it shining. Therefore, we also recommend the regular use of oils and nourishing sprays.
- Extra care is given to hair and scalp with aloe vera or panthenol, which promise a calming effect and prevent possible itching.
- Braiding creates spots on the scalp that are completely unaccustomed to sunlight and therefore need to be especially protected.
Box Braids Removal – How and When?
Most hairdressers agree that Afro braids should be removed after six to a maximum of eight weeks. This is good advice because the more you wait, the more confusing and difficult the removal process becomes. Not to mention that its protective role will no longer be relevant. So, in order to undo them, specialists recommend just cutting the braid at a safe point. This means somewhere longer than where your natural hair reaches. For a painless removal, use lots of hair conditioner. Also, you may try a paddle brush, which is known to tame frizzy hair.
Braids make it difficult for the hair to absorb moisture. This is because the moisture can’t fully penetrate the cuticle layer from the roots to the tips. This means that you have to balance the moisture requirements with an additional moisturizer.
Likewise, it can be helpful to trim your hair between each new braiding hairstyle. A direct styling is tempting, but according to Mensah, your hair needs a break. “Show off your natural hair for three to four weeks,” she advises. If that seems too long, you should still try to leave it at least 3 to 4 days.
Endless Hairstyle Possibilities With Box Braids
For a short recap, we can say that box braids are simple 3-strand braids, plaited all over the head. They may be of different thicknesses as well as colors. In addition, they can be done with or without the help of synthetic hair. However, it is customary to use synthetic hair in case of a protective hairstyle like this one.
If you pick thin braids, then you will be able to wear this hairstyle for months! This means that you will always be ready to leave your house whenever you want to without having to style your hair. However, box braids can be styled too. So, don’t worry about looking the same for a long while!
In addition, protect both your natural hair and the added synthetic hair by following the care instructions mentioned above. They are important to consider and apply as much as possible!