There’s just something about a girl in a box braids hairstyle.
Box braids are one the most popular protective styles, no matter the season. “Do it yourself” has become a lifestyle, especially throughout the pandemic. Styling natural hair, especially trying to do your own box braided hairstyle, can seem overwhelming. If going to a salon or paying for a stylist to install box braids is out of your budget or you’re just up for a challenge, we’re here to give a step-by-step on how to do it yourself.
What are box braids?
If you already know what box braids are, you still might learn something new about this popular protective style. If you’re unfamiliar with box braids, they are braids that are parted in square-shaped or box-like sections throughout the scalp. The braid begins at the root and goes on to the end of the hair. They are commonly installed using synthetic hair extensions to create a longer, fuller look and better protect natural hair. Although it’s pricier, some people use human hair extensions to achieve a more natural look.
What are the different types of box braids?
Box braids are one of the most versatile protective styles for natural hair. They can be installed and worn in many different ways. Here are a few options.
- Classic box braids are the most popular type of box braids and are, in fact, the standard of all types of braid styles. If you’re a beginner at braiding or have never done box braids, we recommend starting with this style.
- If you’re feeling confident, try out the more recently trending style, the knotless box braid. You start the braid using just your natural hair and gradually add in extensions throughout the braid. Knotless braids have less tension on the scalp and give a more natural look. But, how do knotless braids vs knot braids compare? We’ve got your answers!
- Jumbo box braids are another excellent option for beginners. This style features braids that are much larger to make it look like the hair has more volume. Since the braids are more prominent, you will have fewer braids throughout your hair . For those in a time crunch daily looking for a near effortless style, you might want to start with jumbo box braids.
How much do box braids usually cost?
Since you’re here to learn how to do box braids yourself, you probably already know they can come at a hefty price. Box braids have continued to grow in popularity and can run anywhere between $100-$600. The price you’ll pay for box braids will depend on the stylist’s expertise, as well as the size, length, and color mix of extensions you want.
Is doing box braids on yourself hard?
While you can get box braids done in a salon or by a stylist, you can manage them on your own in the comfort of your home too. With the proper technique, products, and patience, you too can do box braids on yourself. If this is your first time doing box braids, remember that you’ll get better with practice.
How long does it take to do box braids on yourself?
On average, it can take you anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to do box braids with added extensions. The amount of time it takes depends on your braiding skills, technique, and the style of box braids you want. The longer and smaller in size you want your braids to be, the more time it will take to install. It'll take less time if you wish to create jumbo box braids or bob length box braids. Depending on your natural hair length and desired braid size, it can take anywhere from an hour to a few hours, even without additional hair extensions.
How long do I keep in box braids?
When you spend time, money, and effort on fresh braids, you want to be able to keep them in long enough so that it feels worth it. However, one of the purposes of this style is to protect your natural hair. If you keep your braids in for longer than two months, this can cause excess buildup, breakage, and damage to your hair. If you take great care of your braids and already have healthy hair, you can keep your braids in for a maximum of 10 weeks.
Do box braids ruin your hair?
A protective style is a hairstyle that keeps your hair and ends tucked away to minimize breakage, damage and promote hair growth. Giving your hair a break from manipulation prevents split ends, loss of hydration and helps you save a good chunk of time. Environmental factors like humidity, extreme heat, or cold temperatures can negatively affect the moisture and strength of your curls, so keeping your hair in a style like box braids can help minimize damage.
How do you take care of box braids?
Your crown is worthy of all the love and care in the world. Natural hair textures are more fragile than other types of hair, so it’s essential to have a solid routine in place to keep your hair healthy. When you have box braids, it’s key to incorporate the right products into a regular hair care routine to keep them fresh for longer while maintaining the health of your scalp. Here are a few tips for taking care of box braids.
- Moisturize your scalp daily using water along with PATTERN’s Scalp Serum, Hydrating Mist, and Argan Oil to prevent dryness, itchiness, and damage to your hair.
- Protect your braids at night by sleeping on a silk pillowcase and covering your hair with a bonnet or satin cap to keep the braids fresh.
- Nail down a hair care routine that involves washing and conditioning your scalp and braids to prevent buildup and damage.
How do you sleep with box braids?
Sleeping with box braids can be challenging and uncomfortable if you don’t have what you need. To keep your braids frizz-free and hydrated throughout the night, you will need to wrap your braids in a silk or satin bonnet or scarf. You can also use a silk or satin pillowcase, just in case you might be too tired one night to wrap your hair.
Step by step to achieving box braids
Now that you have the 411 on box braids, you’re ready to follow this step-by-step guide on how to do them yourself.
#1 Cleanse your hair
Start by thoroughly shampooing your hair to remove excess buildup, including product, sweat, and dirt. Apply PATTERN’s Lightweight Conditioner to smooth out your hair and then detangle.
#2 Deep condition your hair
Applying a deep conditioning treatment, such as PATTERN’s Leave-In Conditioner, to your hair is the best way to give your curls the strength and moisture they need before braiding.
#3 Dry & detangle your hair
Air dry or use a blow dryer on low to medium heat and comb through your hair to stretch out the curls. If you have tighter curls, you may need to use a blow dryer to stretch your curls. If you have looser curls, you can use a blow dryer or let it air dry. While blow-drying your hair, use PATTERN’s Wide Tooth Comb or brush to ensure every knot is out. If you’re air-drying your hair, detangle and brush out the curls so that your hair lays flat. This will give your hair more slip to help the braiding and installation process.
#4 Section your hair
Use a rat tail comb to draw a horizontal part at the back of your head. Depending on the size you want your box braids, create the part about 1 to 2 inches from your neck. Clip up the rest of your hair.
#5 Part boxes in your hair
Within the first section, make a vertical part so it creates a square shape. The square shape (box) size will depend on how small or large you want your braids to be. Make a 1 inch part for medium box braids and a 2 inch part for jumbo braids.
#6 Moisturize your hair
Apply cream and a medium-to-strong hold gel. Try PATTERN’s Styling Cream to give your hair an extra layer of moisture. Applying a gel will help smooth out your hair and prevent unwanted frizz or blend into the synthetic hair if you’re adding extensions.
#7 Secure with rubber bands
The rubber band method is a hack to make this process much easier! Add mini elastic rubber bands to each square shape you sectioned out at the root of your hair. It should look like mini ponytails going across the back of your head. Repeat steps 4-7 until your head is filled with boxes tied with elastic bands at the root.
#8 Get 5-8 packs of hair
Depending on the size you want your box braids, get at least 5 packs of hair. Unless you want to have to run back to the beauty supply store to get a few more packs, always get more than you think you’ll need from the start. If you don’t use every pack, you can save the excess for your next style. Pre-stretched kanekalon is the most commonly used type of hair for box braids. Pre-stretched hair is hair that has been stretched with the ends of the hair tapered. This type of hair is preferred for many because it is tangle-free, lightweight, creates a more natural look, and saves a lot of time in the braiding process.
#9 Start braiding
Take a small section of hair and fold it in half at the root over the elastic band. The extensions should be on either side, with your natural hair in the middle. Begin braiding as you normally would
#10 Continue braiding
Braid your hair to the ends and repeat.
#11 Seal the ends
Boil water and dip the ends of your braids into the water to seal them closed. This will help create a hold for your braid and prevent frizz.
#12 Lay your edges
Use PATTERN’s Edge Control to lay down your baby hairs to finalize your look.
You did it! You have just styled your own box braids. Not only did you save some coins, but you just picked up a new superpower. There are many benefits of braiding hair, but it is crucial to keep your hair moisturized and always protect your hair at night to keep your scalp feeling good and braids looking even better.
- "Tutorial: How to Do Box Braids in 2 Ways". All Things Hair. Oct 11, 2019. https://www.allthingshair.com/en-us/hairstyles-haircuts/braids/how-to-do-box-braids-tutorial/
- Cortney Moore. "Everything You Need to Know About Getting Box Braids". The Byrdie. Updated on Dec 10, 2020. https://www.byrdie.com/box-braids-4783121#how-long-do-box-braids-last
Asia Millia Ware. "Style
How to Do Your Own Box Braids: 6 Tips for Mastering The Hairstyle at Home". Teen Vogue. Jul 16, 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-do-your-own-box-braids