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How Long Should You Keep in Box Braids?

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01 . 19 . 19
Kadia Blagrove

Kadia Blagrove

I’m a writer for all things lifestyle and culture. My stories are dedicated to women, laced with diversity, and are chock full of self-love. You can spot some of my work on The Huffington Post, Complex.com, xoJane, and others. I like good wine, good food, and Beyonce. Check out my hair stories for all your natural hair tips, tricks, and needs!
Kadia Blagrove

Getting a fresh set of box braids is always exciting. You get a brand new look that promises weeks of low-maintenance, but unfortunately those weeks are numbered. One of the reasons folks install box braids is to give their strands a break and allow their hair to retain length. However, leaving in a protective style, like box braids, for too long will undo all of the protecting and make your hair prone to breakage.

So how long should you keep in your box braids? The real answer is: It varies for each person. Depending on how well you care for your hair, you can leave in your look for a bit longer than others can. On the flip side, fine hair types may not be able to deal with the tension of extension braids for too long. If you’re unsure of your particular hair deal, you can’t go wrong by following the two -month rule. It’s cool to leave in box braids, or any extension protective style, in for up to one  month, but do not leave in longer than two months. That second  month is the absolute final expiration date — unless, you maintain the style with touch-ups and daily moisturization, but even then you wouldn’t want to go way beyond the two months.

 

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SIGNS IT’S TIME TO TAKE DOWN YOUR BRAIDS…

Embellished Box Braids

1. NEW GROWTH

When your roots start separating from the braid, due to growth, it’s time to remove. Because the new growth is hanging onto the braid, it’s prone to twisting and tangling.

2. BUILD UP

If you start to feel product build-up or lint cluster into your braids, it’s time to take those bad girls out. Because your hair is braided, all of the moisturizer and conditioners you’ve been applying overtime, will build-up, causing some serious knots.

3. FRIZZ

This is the easiest sign to spot. When gels, hair spray, and creams can no longer tame the frizz, it may be time to take down this look. Of course, box braids and other extension braided or twisted hairstyles don’t have to look super neat all the time. In fact a lot of  women prefer a bit of wear to their look — it gives a cool,carefree, boho vibe. But there’s a difference between flexy, frizzy braids and dry, messy ones. When your real hair starts to frizz out of control, it can lead to more tangles and weak ends.

 

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Another good sign that it’s time for a new look is boredom! If you’re tired of your braids, you have every right to take ‘em out — even if it’s only been a few weeks.  No matter your reason for removing your protective style, be sure to give your mane at least a month in between the next installation. You’ll want to give your strands a break from all the pulling and tugging of braiding.

 


How long do you leave in your box braids? Tell us the deets in the comments below!

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