Box braids top the list of timeless and ageless hairstyles that are continuously revamped into trending styles. Whether you wear them long, short, in a bun or wrapped up in a headscarf; box braids come highly recommend as the most versatile protective go-to hairstyle.
Now when you have box braids with human hair, proper care is needed to keep them looking beautiful and to nourish the hair underneath as well. Here is a complete guide on getting box braids and caring for them.
Does the Kind of Hair Matter?
One of the things most women worry about is what kind of hair to use for box braids.
First things first, what is your hair type and do you know how to properly care for it? If you are not too sure about this start from there and a visit to your hairstylist should sort it all out.
For fine hair go for medium to small-sized box braids, because with this type of hair you can’t get your desired volume with chunky-sized box braids. If you go for chunky sizes you also risk damaging your hair due to the weight.
The complete opposite applies if you have thick hair. Small-sized braids give a crowded look’ with thick hair, and let’s not talk about the hours that will have to go into installing them. If you have thick hair, go for chunky-sized box braids.
Prepping the Hair Underneath
Before you have box braids installed, it is important to prep your hair. This includes a good shampoo session, detangling and deep condition. Last, is blow-drying the hair before braiding.
What this does is place your hair in the healthiest setting to handle the long-term braids style. Given the build-up that comes with braided hair, starting off with the cleanest environment helps to maintain scalp hygiene.
Box Braid Installation
The actual braiding process is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we all do love the end product. Likewise, there is a right way to go about it to ensure that the braids last long and your hair stays protected, as it should.
Pain is often thought to be part and parcel of the braiding process, but it shouldn’t be. If you experience pain during braiding you could ask the stylist to reduce the pulling and tugging. However, some people experience pain due to sensitivity caused by the onset of hair loss.
Box braids will take a couple of hours to install, and it can be upwards of 3 to 8 hours depending on the size and stylist’s braiding method.
Maintaining Box Braids
Yes, box braids a popular no-fuss style, but the hair underneath still needs some maintenance to keep it healthy. Also remember that braids are synthetic and maintenance is needed to keep them hydrated and lustrous looking.
Moisturizing should be a daily hair care routine with and without braids. Get a good moisturizing spray that you can apply directly to your scalp as well as the length of the braids.
Wash your braids as often as possible, say after every 3 weeks, using a moisturizing shampoo. Follow through with conditioning and finally oiling. Make sure to dry the hair completely to avoid it mildewing and leaving an odor.
Styling your Box Braids
Braids are quite versatile and you can likewise wear them in a number of different styles. However, to protect your hair, certain styles are not recommended.
Avoid tight buns or ponytail, because they end up adding weight as well as tension against the scalp and it could lead to hair loss.
To protect your braids switch up to a silk pillow or use a silk hair bonnet to minimize on friction and preserve moisture.
Undoing Box Braids
It is recommended not to keep box braids for longer than 2 months. At around week 4 to 6, a touch-up around your hairline is suggested.
Patience will be needed when undoing box braids, just like with installing them. At this time your hair is prone to breakage because it has stayed uncombed for weeks. The key is to be gentle and remove knots encountered.
One trick is to spritz some moisturizer at the root of the braid to soften it before undoing it.
There you have it; a complete guide on how to get box braids and maintain them. Braids are a great low maintenance hairstyle, but proper care is required to keep your natural hair healthy and has your braids last longer.