When it comes to trendy hairstyles, there are always some styles that come and go (cough, mullet), but some that stand the test of time. One of the styles that we don't think is going away anytime soon is box braids. They're cute, stylish, and super convenient. Think you know anything about box braids? Think again. It's a must-have for every fashion-conscious girl, but whether you're a pro or new to box braids, there's always something to learn from this enduring style. This article will be your ultimate guide to box braids.
Although box braids are all over your Instagram, these braids are nothing new. It is believed that box braids originated in Africa and can be traced back thousands of years to local inhabited tribes. To be honest, the style hasn't changed much since its debut, so in a way, this style can still represent the beauty of African culture.
For the uninitiated, box braids are three-strand braids. They're not much different from standard braids, but they're tighter because the tension applied to the braids is enough to keep the strands from flying apart.
Unlike corn braids, box braids are not laid flat on the scalp—hair is divided into precisely shaped squares (or boxes) across the scalp and braided along the entire length so you can rock as much as you want Your braids are gone. For added length, volume and firmness, many beauty lovers choose to use hair extensions to achieve box braids.
Every season, there seems to be a new twist on this classic box braids style, so we've rounded up a few major categories and explained them accordingly.
Braids are separated into small squares. They are very playful and cute, with a strong representation.
These braids are a popular new trend, and they're longer than you might think. They're called feed-in braids or knotless braids, but the braiding process is the same. These lighter braids reduce friction on the scalp.
This style lends itself to a bohemian look, think of Zoe Kravitz. Goddess box braids (similar to Goddess Locs but different from Goddess Braids) are great for those who want a protective style with a little flare. They are typified by wavy or curly braided hair for a bohemian eclectic and maverick feel.
The hardest part of choosing box braids is deciding on the thickness of the braids. The head stylists of some popular salons say the decision is made easier when the environment is taken into account.
In their words, "The right size depends on your goals and objectives in choosing box braids. Are you looking for bohemian beach beauty braids for a week-long Caribbean trip? Or are you looking for a conservative style and free your hair fibers from styling?"
In addition to considering the climate you're in, stylists stress that the duration of your planned box braids should be discussed with your stylist. "If you plan to keep them around for longer, the smaller the section of your box braids should be," though, they advise their clients not to try micro braids. "We recommend that these box braids be at least two fingers wide."
Properly fitting your box braids can determine how long you can keep that hairstyle. Your hair must be cleaned and deeply conditioned before going to a stylist. If you want to do it yourself, make sure you have the right product for the job.
♦ Hair moisturizer
♦ Scalp care oil
♦ Edge control or hairspray
♦ Rat tail comb
♦ Two mirrors
♦ Since box braids are a long-term style, make sure your strands are very clean and properly conditioned before installing them. In this case, dirty hair cannot be styled.
♦ Your hair should be completely dry and moisturized before using extensions. But rather than opt for a cream or serum, opt for a moisturizing oil that absorbs quickly into your hair and provides plenty of moisture.
♦ The process should be painless. "If the process hurts, alert your stylist immediately," says one hairstylist. This can mean that the stylist is pulling your hair too tightly, potentially causing damage or breakage to your hair.
♦ Allow 5-12 hours for your stylist to properly install the braids. Yes, box braids are not an improvised style: remember it's long term, so it's a huge time investment and the result will last a long time.
♦ Some salons even recommend having two or more stylists per client to speed up the braiding process. But this is not required, so we recommend that you call ahead before asking.
Although box braids are a low-maintenance, long-lasting style, some maintenance is still required to ensure your braids and scalp are in top condition.
Hair stylists recommend spraying your box braids with a light moisturizing oil at least three to five times a week to prevent stubble and promote hair growth. At the same time, the scalp needs more TLC conditioner as it is the foundation of healthy hair.
"The scalp should be cleaned with a natural cleansing lotion like citrus rosemary, preferably sulfate-free, and it's recommended that you should use a nozzle applicator bottle every week," says the hairstylist. "Some people's scalp may require a diluted shampoo every other week or so. Using a lighter-textured styling product can help prevent excess hair buildup."
Plus, hair care experts recommend that it’s best to wash your braids once a week to keep your scalp healthy and your hair moist. But if that's not possible, a cleaning rhythm of one to three weeks may work, depending on the texture and specific condition of your scalp.
Box braids are almost like a ritual for beauty-loving women, and with just a little TLC conditioner, they can be a beautiful, carefree experience. Are you excited? Ready to give it a try? Then go for it! If you find this article helpful, please share it with those around you! If you are interested in this topic, you are more than welcome to leave a comment below!