There’s no arguing with the fact that box braids are fire. Not only are they insanely gorgeous and a celeb go-to, they’re also a protective style, meaning your real hair is protected underneath your braids. To unlock all the secrets behind the style, we tapped Larry Sims, hairstylist to Kiki Layne, Zendaya and Gabrielle Union (just to name a few).
Pain is Beauty
It’s a universal truth that beauty takes time, and box braids are no exception. If you do get box braids, you should expect to be in the chair for 4-8 hours – a good chunk of your day will be spent getting beautified. “Box braids can be time-consuming, depending on the size and length,” Larry assures us.
In addition to taking time, be mindful that there’s a bit of an adjustment period before getting used to them since the style is so taxing on your scalp. “There may be some tightness and tenderness to your scalp,” he adds, as the braids are pulling on your skin. “Sleeping may also be sensitive for the first couple of nights until they loosen up. Box Braids could also itch over a period of time if you use braiding hair,” Larry continues. “They can also tend to be heavy, depending on the size and length.”
Sleep on Silk
To keep box braids from getting messed up or unraveling while you toss and turn at night, Larry suggests sleeping with a silk scarf, which will cover the braids. “A silk scarf at the roots is the best way to sleep with braids to keep them frizz-free,” he explains.
You Get Your Money’s Worth
Though the style takes time to get, it lasts. “Box braids can last 4-6 weeks,” says Larry. “You know it’s time to freshen them up or take them out when the base of the braids have slipped or grown away from your scalp,” he adds. This new growth will take a month or a little over to happen (depending on your hair’s rate of growth) but when it starts to be visible, it’s time for a removal or touch up.
Style and Care
Box braids are super versatile and you can style them as you would normally style your hair. “You can style box braids pretty much any way you want,” says Larry, who notes they add a special flair to ponytails, top-knots, half-up looks, and more. However, when you do style, take care to not overdo it with product and cleanse your scalp. “Make sure your scalp is clean and moisturized by using a co-wash shampoo and a scalp oil,” he recommends, taking care of your hair under the style.
“Box Braids are a great protective style to give your hair a break from thermal styling – they are beautiful & stylish – enjoy them!” adds Larry.