One of the most popular protective styles in the world today is box braids, and there are so many reasons to love them. They are a low maintenance protective style that can help with length retention and promoting hair growth, all while giving you a wide range of styling options. Scroll on for twenty inspiring hairstyles you can create with box braids, but first let’s define what box braids are and how to care for them.
What are box braids?
Box braids are a hairstyle created by putting the hair into square or rectangle sections. Each square or rectangle is then further divided into three equal strands and all three strands are plaited tightly to achieve a neat firm finish. Box braids can be achieved using your natural hair or extension. They can also be of any length (short, medium, or long) or width (thin, medium, or thick), depending on your preference.
How do you care for your box braids?
Box braids need proper maintenance to make them last longer and look their best. Here are some ways you can take care of your natural hair while wearing box braids:
1. Oil your scalp
Massaging your scalp with natural hair oil while you have your box braids in is necessary to keep your scalp from going dry. This is because when your scalp is dry, it can result in itching and flaking which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing especially if the urge to itch comes up in public. However, using natural oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, or argan oil on your scalp once or twice a week can help it stay hydrated, leading to a healthy scalp while also supporting healthy hair growth.
It is also important for me to address the concern with oily scalps that oiling an already oily scalp with box braids on may also lead to clogged pores, flaking, itching, and dandruff. While this is valid, you can still oil your scalp with essential oils such as lemon oil or lavender oil which have antibacterial properties that help to balance excessive oil production.
2. Moisturize your edges
With your box braids in, it can be easy to neglect your edges, which can lead to dryness. To make sure your edges still get the proper care they deserve, you can massage them with a lightweight oil or moisturizing cream daily to keep them hydrated and healthy.
3. Use a shower cap in the bathroom
Before you bathe or take a shower, wrap your braids in a bun or freestyle with any updo that is comfortable enough to fit into a shower cap. Because your natural hair is going to be in this protective style for some weeks, you may not be able to get it fully dried if water gets into it every day. Worse is, your hair and scalp can get really itchy and smelly from this, not to mention, messy. To avoid this, simply wear a shower cap to the bathroom.
The same rule applies if you have your box braids in during the rainy season. Make sure you have a shower cap stashed in your bag when you go out as this may come in handy to help protect your braids in case of sudden rainfall.
Finally, wear a swimming cap to swim to protect your braids from the chlorine in the water which can strip it of its natural oils.
4. Take them out at the right time
Leaving your box braids in for weeks on end can result in a dusty unkempt look. It can also cause itching and odor. Furthermore, your natural hair strands may weaken and break or pull out of the roots when you eventually take out the braids. To prevent this, it is usually recommended to take out your box braids after four to eight weeks.
Read next: Before You Take Down Your Braids, Read This
5. Wrap with satin or silk scarf to bed
Protects your edges and braids from losing moisture, shedding, and breaking which can result from the friction of rubbing your hair against the cotton pillow case by wrapping it with a silk or satin scarf to bed.
6. Limit daily styling
Box braids are versatile when it comes to styling options but this does not mean you should style them every other day. Daily styling can put tension on your hair and fragile edges causing them to break or pull out at the roots. So, instead of manipulating your box braids into a new style every day, give it a couple of days before switching styles.
20 Box Braids Natural Hairstyles
1. Large box braids
2. Box braids with French curls
3. Bohemian box braids
4. Box braids with beads
5. Knotless box braids
6. Ombre box braids
7. Box braids ponytail
8. Colored jumbo box braids
9. Bob box braids
10. Box braids with the side part
11. Two buns on box braids
12. Asymmetrical bob box braids
13. Box braids with the middle part
14. Half-up half-down box braids
15. Box braids updo
16. Box braids with minimal accessory
17. Short box braids with tight curls
18. Box braids x crisscross
19. Box braids + triangle braids
20. Swept back box braids
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