Box braids are usually the first style the comes to everyone’s mind when they think of protective styles. That’s for a good reason—they’re gorgeous. Whether you decide on a regal bob or waist length strands, box braids are always chic.
The beauty of box braids is that they’re so versatile. But, just in case the sheer number of styling options is making it difficult to decide what to do with your braids, we’ve rounded up our six favorite hairstyles for you to choose from.
Caring for Box Braids
The most important step in the care of any braided style is to make sure your braids are installed properly. The worst mistake you can make is having your hair braided too tightly. Any style that puts unnecessary pressure on your hair and scalp puts you at risk of developing traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that can be caused by pulling from tight styles like braids and ponytails. It is imperative that you speak up if you feel like your stylist is pulling too tightly—staying silent could cost you your hair.
The great thing about braids is that with proper care they can often last several weeks. However, just because you’re wearing one hairstyle for weeks doesn’t mean you can slack off on your haircare routine. Just like when your hair isn’t braided, your hair and scalp need lots of love to stay healthy. If you’re keeping your braids in for longer than a week, you’ll need to wash your hair while it remains braided. Shampoo like you normally would, making sure to be gentle so as not to disturb your style too much. Follow your shampoo with a hydrating conditioner to make sure your hair looks and feels moisturized.
Once you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, you’ll need to make sure your hair is completely dry before styling it. If you’ve added extra hair to your style, you may want to use a blow dryer to make sure your mane is 100 percent dry.
If you don’t have time to wash and condition your hair regularly completely, invest in a good astringent—we recommend witch hazel applied with Q-tips. It can help remove dirt and buildup, keeping your scalp healthy between washes.
Round up some bobby pins and a couple of hair elastics. Gather all of your braids on the top of your head and use an elastic to fasten a ponytail. You may want to consider using a shoelace to prevent your elastic from snapping under pressure.
If you’re having a bit of trouble gathering all your hair on the top of your head, flip your head over and tie the ponytail while your hair hangs downward. Begin wrapping your braids around themselves to form a bun, using bobby pins to keep your style in place as you go along. Once you’ve pinned the whole bun, use another elastic to ensure no stray braids escape your elegant style.
Half Up Spiral Bun
Gather the hair from the front half of your head and create a ponytail secured with an elastic.Next, take the braids from the ponytail and begin to coil them together until they form one largetwist. Wrap the twist around itself, making sure it lies flat and forms a spiral. Use jumbo pins to secure the spiral as you go along.
Begin by gathering all of your braids into a loose ponytail, dividing the tail into two equal
sections. Take a half-inch section of hair from the outside of left ponytail and cross it over to the
right. Repeat the process on the opposite side, taking a section from the outside of the right tail
over to the left.
Continue crossing the opposite sections of hair until you reach the end of the braid. Secure the
style with an elastic or a small clear rubber band. Once the braid is secure, remove the elastic
from the nape of the neck to give the braid a seamless look. For a final touch, pancake the braid
to create a voluminous effect.
To create this look, you’ll have to start by grabbing a handful of jumbo bobby pins. Part your braids on the far right or left side of your head. Then, grab two handfuls of braids near your hairline and twist one section of hair over the next, keeping both sections close to the scalp. Continue this twisting motion, gathering and pinning hair until you reach the nape of your neck. Go back over the twist and place bobby pins wherever you need extra support. Repeat the process on the other side.
Once you’ve twisted both sides, you can gather the remaining hair in a bun or ponytail, or continue to twist your braids and pin the hair for a full crown look.
Flexi Rod Curls
To begin, saturate your braids with water from a spray bottle. Wetting your braids and allowing them to dry while in the flexi rods will ensure your curls last even longer. Starting at the front of your head, grab three to four braids at a time and wrap them around a flexi rod. Twist to secure the curl, then continue wrapping your braids around the flexi rods until you’ve completed your whole head.
Keep the flexi rods in your hair until your hair has completely dried—feel free to use a hooded dryer or blow dryer to speed up the process. After your hair has dried and cooled, remove all of the rods and rake your fingers through your braids to loosen your curls.
For this look, all you’ll need is several hair elastics. Part your hair down the middle and tie off two sections of hair using the braids in the front half of your head. Gather the braids from one section and use an elastic to tie a pigtail. Then, take the braids in the pigtail and wrap them around each other before using another elastic to secure the bun.
Repeat on the other side for a style that’s party ready.