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How Long Should You Keep in Box Braids?

Getting a fresh set of box braids (or even, doing your own) 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 protection and make your hair prone to breakage.

So, How Long Should You Keep in 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. Even then, you wouldn’t want to go way beyond the two months.

Signs It’s Time to Take Out Your 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. Buildup

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

3. Frizz

This is the easiest sign to spot. When gels, hairspray, 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 people 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.

4. Boredom

Another good sign that it’s time for a new look is boredom! But before you switch up your style completely, think of updating your braids with something fun, like Cardi B’s ombré. 

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.

Want to keep your box braids looking fresh? HERE is our ultimate guide!

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