Box braids are a specific kind of hair braiding style which was originated from the African culture. You will find this style mostly among the Black people. Box braids are said to be a type of protective styling, which is mainly done for preventing hair damages like splits of hair ends or for reducing tangles and knots in the hair.
What are Box Braids?
Box braids are like normal braids but are done by dividing the hair into multiple sections of square or rectangular shapes. Then each section is braided separately. Sometimes the braids are done using the natural hair, or sometimes people also attach extensions of long synthetic hair to increase the length and the volume of the box braids.
What are the Different Types of Box Braids?
Box braids can be categorized based on the volume and length of your hair.
1. Depending on Volume
Chunky Jumbo Braids – These are heavy, and the sizes are also bigger than the other kinds of box braids. Thus, it sometimes becomes difficult to carry them due to the pressure on the hair strands. However, they are quite popular among women.
Thin Micro Braids – In this case, the braids are much thinner, thus the number of braids increases, and you will also get more access to your scalp. However, it put more pressure on the hair follicles as fewer hair strands are used in each of these braids to carry the weight.
Pencil Sized Box Braids – This is considered to be the normal size, neither too thin like micro braids or too thick like jumbo braids. For beginners, it is a good option to start with braiding hairstyles.
2. Depending on Length
Short Box Braids – If you are a fan of short hair, then definitely go for this braid length. It will never come in your way of working or sleeping.
Long Box Braids – Many people are fans of long hair and thus go of long box braids. However, handling them can be a bit of trouble, especially while sleeping or doing any work.
Medium Box Braids – It is not that common among women, but it is a convenient size. It comes in between the small and the long hair length.
How to Install Box Braids?
Before you start with the installation process, you need to prepare your hair for the same.
Follow these few simple steps –
- Firstly, shampoo your hair properly and then apply a moisturizing conditioner so that the hair does not get too dry afterward.
- After drying your hair, comb it with a wide-tooth comb and try to keep it free from all the tangles so that you can braid it easily.
- If your hair is straight, then fine, but if it is curly, then you will need to straighten it completely. However, before using a flat iron or a blow dryer, make sure you are applying a heat protectant gel or spray on your hair.
- Trim the hair and get rid of any hair splits; it results in long-lasting braids. And it is more important if you are using synthetic hair extensions.
- Also, apply a hydrating gel to your hair ends to prevent it from frizzing.
- Then divide your hair into four equal parts and part each of them into several sections of either 1 inch or 2 inches for regular or jumbo-sized braids, respectively, with a pointed end of a comb.
Now, if you want to add synthetic hair, then these are your next steps –
- First, you have to have at least 6 to 8 packs of synthetic hair for making long, thick braids.
- Separate the hair and make three stacks of one or two inches of hair and keep them separately in between your fingers.
- Keep one of those stacks aside and then make loops by interlocking the two other stacks.
Once you made the loops with the synthetic hair now, the process of attaching them with your natural hair begins. Follow these steps for doing it successfully –
- You have to place your synthetic hair at the root of your natural hair and interlock them so that your natural hair should come under the synthetic hair in the middle section.
- Then you have to braid your natural hair with synthetic hair tightly like its normally done and secure the end with a hair elastic once it’s done.
- Similarly, braid all the other sections of your natural hair with the synthetic ones, and once you are done with the procedure, chop off the flyways of the synthetic hair with a scissor.
- In the final step, dip the braids from the midsection till the end in hot water. This will help to seal them properly by removing the remaining flyaway and fizziness. Then you can remove the elastics once the sealing is done.
This is the complete procedure of installing hair braids with synthetic hair extensions.
How Long does it take to Install Box Braids?
The time required for doing a quality box braids style depends on the person’s expertise doing it and on the quantity and quality of hair.
However, on average, it is an event of four to eight hours. For a beginner, if you are doing your own braids, then the time can exceed up to 8 to 10 hours.
How to Put Hair Rings in Box Braids?
If you think that the styling part ends once you are done making those box braids, you’re mistaken. There is more to it. You can adorn your braids with different jewelry pieces and can make it more stylish.
Here is the procedure of how you can put rings in your box braids.
- First, get yourself some gold, silver, or multi-colored rings that will look bright on your hair.
- Pull apart the rings and make a space of about 0.75 inches, but do not put too much pressure. And do not make too much space, then putting them back will be a problem.
- Put one end of the ring into your hair at the place where you want it. And once you are sure that it has gotten through, then push the other end of the ring gently to close it.
- Once you are done, twist the ring so that only the circular part is visible from outside, you can twist it back whenever you want to adjust it.
Now you can make different styles by putting the rings any way you want.
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How to do Box Braids with Natural Hair?
The first few steps remain the same as mentioned before in the first part of the installation of the box braids section.
- So, after you shampoo your hair and dry and trim it properly following all the steps, then divide your hair into equal square-shaped sections. Each of those sections should not contain more than a pinch of hair.
- Then braid each of those sections tightly from the root to the tip and tie an elastic hair tie at the ends.
- Once you braid all the sections, dip the braids in hot water to seal the tips properly, and your box braids are done.
How to Hold Box Braids without Rubber Bands?
Though you will require elastic bands to hold the end of the braids at the beginning, once you complete the whole procedure, you will have to put the braids in hot boiled water to seal the ends. And once the ends are sealed, then you will no longer need the hair ties, then you can remove them.
How to Sleep with Box Braids?
When you have already spent a lot of making box braids, it becomes important to protect them and see that they do not suffer any damage while sleeping.
The simplest way to do that is to wrap a silk or a satin scarf around it. However, there are a few steps that need to be followed before wrapping it up.
- First, divide your braids into two halves and put a pony holder on each of them.
- Overlap the two sections at the back of your head, wrap them up and bring them at the front of your head and tie the whole thing with a scrunchie.
- Now wrap it with a scarf, and for added protection, you can put a bonnet over it so that the braids do not slip out.
Now you can have a stress-free peaceful sleep at night.
How to Take Care of Box Braids?
You must take proper care of your braids if you have invested in the style, make sure that you are reserving it.
- First of all, always follow the wrapping procedure, as mentioned above, whenever you are sleeping.
- Make sure that your scalp remains moist. Using a spray bottle, you can spritz water or any other water-based solutions like coconut oil or almond oil, etc. at least twice or thrice a week. Spraying for 5 minutes will be more than enough. You can apply shea butter on your scalp.
- You should wash your braids once every two weeks to get rid of all the sweats and the dirt. Dry wash it using dry shampoo and a washcloth soaked in lukewarm water. Divide your braids into sections and follow the procedure and also wipe your scalp.
- After a few weeks, you should start thinking about pampering the edges of your hairline. Apply coconut oil, or if you have a favorite product, you can use that but make sure that it is alcohol-free.
- Never wear your braids for more than eight weeks; otherwise, it will hamper the growth of your natural hair.
Follow these few steps, and you will have a healthy set of box braids.
How to Open Box Braids?
When it’s time to open your braids, you have to be careful about it. Do not be in a rush that may lead to the tearing of your natural hair.
- Leave a section of hair open and pull up the rest at the top of your head with a clip.
- Open each one separately, and once that section is loose, comb it with a wide-tooth comb to detangle all the hair properly. You can also opt for finger detangling.
- Repeat the process with the rest of your braids until you open them all.
You should follow these few things after taking out the braids.
- Rinse your scalp properly with a shampoo to clean up all the oils you have used to keep it moist.
- Deep condition your hair to restore its moisture as it was dry for so many days.
- It will be better to trim your hair for ensuring its further healthy natural growth.
- Do not consider reinstalling braids for at least the next two weeks. Let it breathe and keep it as free as possible.
Overall, it can be concluded that though box braids are very stylish, however, maintaining them demands a lot of labor.
So, if you want to try it, go for it keeping in mind the amount of time you have to invest in its care.
On the other hand, you should try it out at least once in your lifetime to get that hipster look.