Box braids are a traditional African hairstyle, which is quite popular even in today’s time. Classy and charmingly intricate, box braids are not just beautiful; they also serve the purpose of protecting your hair, especially thick, luscious, and curly African hair, which can be quite difficult to manage. They come in different lengths and sizes, with stunning highlights in various colors, metallic threads, beads, and whatnot.
The term “box” has been given because the style is done by separating the hair into many square-shaped divisions. Typically, most box braids consist of synthetic extensions to provide support, thickness, and the desired length to your normal hair. Human hair extensions are considered to be a much better alternative than synthetic ones. Box braids are not just about style; they are also culturally very important and stands synonymous with the beautiful and versatile African culture.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make a Box Braid
- Hair extensions – Make sure not to install the extensions on your hair too tightly since it can cause hair damage.
- Hair styling wax – to reduce frizz (optional).
- Hair styling gel – optional.
Steps to Make a Box Braid
1. Wash Your Hair With Shampoo And Conditioner
This step is essential since your hair is going to be locked-in for a long time, so the hair must get enough moisture. After that, air dry your hair and detangle it using a comb. If your hair is too curly to manage, then you can try straightening your hair using a blow dryer, but don’t forget to apply a heat protectant.
2. Divide Hair Into 4 Sections
Using a wide-toothed comb, divide your hair into 4 box-shaped sections. The sections should be evenly parted. In this initial stage, you can use the hairstyling wax, which will help to reduce frizz. But this is completely an optional step and totally up to you. Tie up the sections you won’t be using first with a plastic tie or anything similar. This is to prevent the hair in one section from overlapping with the other.
3. Use The Extensions and Start Braiding
Take your extensions, fold them, and lightly pull them on the ends. Then start the braiding process by placing this folded extension over your hair tie so that it looks natural enough. After this, start braiding your hair in the normal three-strand braid style and using the extension as your middle strand. Keep doing this till you reach the end of your real hair. Now, the remaining sections can again be divided into three and braided in the same manner till you reach the tips of your extensions.
4. Repeat The Process
Now, you just need to repeat the same braiding process on the rest of your hair by taking strands or sections of equal thickness so that you get an overall even look. Make sure you work section by section, one at a time.
5. Secure Your Braids
Finally, to secure your braids neatly, you can either try dipping the ends of your hair in hot water for a few minutes, or you can also cover your entire head with a hot towel to even it out. And there, your box braids are ready. If needed, you can also secure the strands on your hairline by using any styling gel.
An ideal period is around 6-8 weeks and not more than that since the extensions can start damaging your hair and cause it to break. The box braids may look fine without any signs of trouble but never keep them longer than 8 weeks.
The first tip is not to wear them for more than 6-8 weeks. Another thing you should take care of is not to get a new set of extensions just as soon as you remove the old ones. Wait for at least a month before you get new ones and give your hair time to heal and recover.
Keeping your scalp moisturized is the number one tip for maintenance. Other methods of maintaining include washing your hair at regular intervals, avoiding unnatural hair products, and even if natural products, avoid using them every day. Keeping your edges neat and trimmed is also good enough.