Box Braids Guide: How To Box Braids
Out of the dozens of braiding styles that have come and gone out of style, the box braid continues to be a revered classic in the natural hair community. The go to protective style is versatile enough to use on any hair length and curl pattern. Box braids can be customized in thousands of ways, starting with the hair parts, braid thickness, hair coloring, hair length and accessories.
Box braids can go from short bobs to hip length maintaining its core characteristic: Lose braids that provide the user with the feeling of full volume long hair to be style whichever way she desires.
We’ve created this guide to teach you the basics of box braids Class is in session!
1How To Do Box Braids – Tools Needed
Before we get started, a lesson in patience: box braids are a work of hours. There’s little “hacking” to do to make the process shorter, except for practicing a lot to improve your hand skills to threads faster. box braids are done by creating single loose braids with threaded in hair extensions, so that it is difficult to notice when you natural hair ends and the extensions begins.
Tools needed for box braids:
- Fine tooth comb
- Wax or styling gel
- 6 to 8 packs of hair extensions (see section below for details)
2How To Do Box Braids Step By Step
- Prep your hair extensions: Synthetic hair used for box braids may contain harsh chemicals that can make the hair stiff and cause itching in your scalp. Start by soaking your extensions in warm water with apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes. Rinse them, dry out as much moisture as you can with an old tshirt and let them air dry.
- Get your hair ready: You hair needs to be as smooth, detangled and clean as possible. Depending on how long it has been since your last, you can start with a clarifying shampoo and deep condition with a plastic cap for 30 minutes. Use the slip provided by your conditioner to get rid of any major hair knots by finger combing and using a detangler brush.
- Decide a part style: Classic box braids are done in small squares or rectangles, but you may like a triangle part. Whichever it is, decide before starting a pre-section as much of your head as you can, securing each hair section with a hair clip.
- Divide you hair extensions: Braiding hair comes pre-divided in about 1 inch thick sections. Depending on the thickness you want for you braids, you can keep that initial section or you can split in into thirds for thinner braids. Make as many sections of these as you can in advance, you can organize them on a hanger or lay them flat on a table.
- Prepare your braid feed: Your hair extension will be folded in half, creating a “u” shape you will use to your advantage to secure the hair. Loop this “u” with a second strand of synthetic hair and hold it firmly where they interlace.
- Start braiding: Press your synthetic hair loop firmly over or under your natural hair section and start braiding firmly. Box braids thrive the tighter the braiding is, so take you time to create some tension while threading. Once your natural hair runs out, continue braiding the synthetic hair until the very ends of your hair, making sure the are zero tangles in the way that can make your braid look crooked.
- Finishing box braids: After your are done repeating the process all over your hair, you must seal the ends of the extensions to make them look smoother and prevent unraveling. Do this by soaking all of your ends in hot water for 20 to 25 seconds, of side of your hair at the time. Use a towel and be mindful of the water’s temperature when taking them out to avoiding burning.
3How To Maintain Box Braids
Box braids upkeep follows most of the principles of any other natural hairstyle. Friction and dryness are the two challenges to overcome.
- Moisturize your hair often: Every two to three days, spritz your hair with water, aloe vera juice or watered down deep conditioner. It’s true that hair extensions will protect your hair from static and friction, but they can also draw moisture from your hair making it prone to brittleness.
- Wrap your hair at night: Use a scrunchie or any elastic band to tie your hair to the top of your head (pineapple) and wrap it with a satin scarf. Other option is investing in satin pillowcases to be free to sleep with your hair loose without risking your braids.
- Wash gently: You can wash your hair while wearing box braids. Do it one or twice a week to keep your scalp clean and get rid of any debris. To make it gentle, water down your shampoo in a spritz bottle and apply directly to your scalp, massaging gently each hair part with your tips, not your fingernails
4Best Hair For Box Braids
Box braids are made with good quality hair extensions. Synthetic hair with minimum heat resistance and some texture is the way to go for a good braiding experience.
When shopping for braiding hair extensions, look for hair bundles that are already separated into smaller sections, this will simplify the prep process and cut significant amount of time and hair waste.
The hair to use for box braids is texturized kanekalon hair of the X-pression, brazilian braid or silky braid varieties. The differences amongst these types will be how distinctive the wavy or curl pattern is and the amount of hair each bundle brings.
Here’s our shortlist of braiding hair extensions:
- RastAfri Freed’m Silky Braid Afrelle 100% Kanekalon
- MilkyWay Que Synthetic Kanekalon Braids Brazilian Soft&Volume Braid
- X-pression Premium Original Ultra Braid
Now Its Time To Take A look At These Box Braid Hairstyles Ideas
5Big Chunky Box Braids
make your parts wider and your plait hair bundle thicker to achieve this look. Definitely a time saver and a head turner!
6Box Braids With Highlights
Use highlighted hair extensions whose base color can closely blend with your current hair color. Instead of feeding in color onto your braids length, start with the highlighted hair color from the roots.
7Chocolate Box Braids
An interesting contrast for darker skin tones with brown / chocolate hair tone that has a golden touch to it.
8Cross Part Box Braids
You can do whatever you feel like with your box braids. These cross or tetris inspired parts are very cool!
9Curled Ends Box Braids
A popular variation. Using a curling iron and damp hair extensions, shape your braid ends to achieve this look.
10Full Side Swap Box Braids Bun
This style shows the versatility of box braids. A lush top bun with an equally powerful bang to dress up to any event or gala in your agenda.
11Gold Thread Box Braids
Even the classic style box braid with all black hair can be brought to new dynamics by threading in some gold. Do it around your face to highlight your features.
12Headband styled box braids
Even if you miss wrapping your hair at night, a good headband can keep your style in place. Look for satin line headbands for added hair care.
13Honey Big Box Braid
A nice color selection to show off a tan! Box braids are a great style to test hair colors just for the fun of it or to seriously consider dying your own!
14Long Bob Box Braids
Shorter box braids will put very popular haircuts at your reach. Long bobs are a sexy business style that shines through with the texture of box braids without losing an inch of sleekness.
15Mid Length Box Braids
A great variation of box braids. Thicker braids and shorter hair length that still has a lot of movement and shape. We love the tips turned inwards in a subtle curl.
16Purple Fiction Box Braids
Dramatic and mesmerizing. Very bright purple and green thread will cater to the souls of the cosplay, fantasy hearts.
17Short Bob Copper Box Braids
A great color variation for a short and sweet hairstyle. Pretty if you wear it all down, pretty in a half ponytail. This hairstyle is sexy and playful.
18Shoulder Length Box Braid
A great length option to reduce the weight from the hair extensions. The thickness of these braids also give it a more organic, chic vibe.
19Silver Ombre Box Braids
Silver is one of our favorite hair colors to try on braids. Consider it when you are craving a style reboot!
20Simple Beads Box Braids
This looks like something out of the land of Janelle Monae. Futuristic and minimal, a few beads matching your outfit is peak box braid game.
21Square Mid Part Box Braid
The classic we all know and love. These parts give it a sporty look that can be style up with a couple of cuffs or taken into a bun.
22Sunrise Ombre Braids
Give us more colorful play? Yes, please! These braids are pure black girl magic. Ombre in pink and purple shades are a great trend to try.