One of the most appealing things about box braids is that they’re low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they’re no-maintenance. Hair needs to be properly cared for to maintain a healthy scalp and beautiful, durable braids. Oftentimes, new stylers neglect proper care in favor of styling their hair with the top priority being neatness.
The most important thing you can do before installing box braids is taken some time to protect your edges from breakage. If you have very little or no edges left, consider using extensions or two-strand twists instead of box braids. If your edges appear strong, keep them that way by making sure your braids are not too tight and gently shampooing at least once a week—more depending on how often you work out or if you live in a humid climate.
Because box braids are more difficult to maintain than cornrow braid styles, they tend to stay in longer. Because many people keep their box braids in for six to eight weeks, it’s crucial to wash your scalp.
How To Wash Box Braids
- spray bottle
- mild shampoo or baby shampoo
- wide tooth comb
- tea tree oil (optional)
- Section your hair into four parts. Take the first section, and starting from the scalp, use your fingers to detangle the hair. Be sure to use a conditioner that is designed for black hair; this will help keep your hair moisturized. Condition every section of hair before shampooing.
- Wet your scalp and hair with warm water. Apply a small amount of shampoo to your scalp and massage it in with your fingertips. Be sure not to scrub your scalp too hard, as this can cause damage to your hair and scalp.
- Rinse the shampoo from your hair and scalp, then apply conditioner. Comb the conditioner through each section of hair, making sure to detangle any knots or tangles. Leave the conditioner in for about five minutes, then rinse it out completely.
- Towel-dry your hair, then use a wide-tooth comb to comb it until all the knots are gone. Apply a small amount of tea tree oil to your scalp if you have an oily scalp; this will help to reduce the amount of oil produced by your scalp.
- Repeat these steps every two weeks, or more often if necessary.
By following these simple steps, you can keep your box braids looking and feeling healthy. Clean and moisturized hair will stay braided for longer periods of time, so having a good regimen is crucial to maintaining your style for up to three months.
Healthy Styling Tips For Box Braids
Another thing to consider when wearing box braids is the weight of the style itself. If you have very thick or long hair, the added weight of the extensions can cause tension headaches or neck pain. Try using smaller braids to reduce the overall weight, and take breaks every few days to give your head a rest.
Styling your box braids is all about finding what works best for you. Styling your hair while it’s in box braids is not difficult, but it does require a bit more time and patience than when your hair is out of braids. For the most part, you’ll want to avoid using too much force when styling—braiding your hair too tightly will cause breakage. Instead, use light pressure and small motions.
Before you style your hair, make sure it is completely dry and detangled. Use a bit of oil (like olive or coconut) to smooth flyaways and frizz. If the braids at the front of your head are giving you trouble, try putting on a stocking cap while you sleep; this will reduce frizz and keep your hair from drying out as quickly.
When styling overnight, use satin (silk or cotton) pillowcases instead of regular fabric ones. Satin protects delicate hair and won’t cause breakage like rougher materials might.
There’s no way around it: maintaining box braids requires patience and time. However, there are certain steps that can be taken to ensure healthy hair with extensions. By following these simple tips, your box braids will look great and last longer.