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Box Braids – Trends, Styles, Advice & More!

Box braids are one of the most popular hairstyles among African Americans, and it’s no wonder why. They’re stylish, easy to maintain, and can be worn in various styles. Check out what the pros say about this hairstyle.

Twisted Box Braids

box braids Instagram / @hairbydeege

Q&A with Style Creator Deidra
Hairstylist in Houston, TX

How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

These are braids that are long, lightweight, and offer many variations of styling. They have the ability to last up to four to six weeks.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

Start with freshly washed and detangled hair (at least three inches of hair is required). I used six packs of Xpressions braiding hair, a parting comb, Shine n’ Jam Extra Hold), hair clamps or hair ties, scissors and an electric water boiler. You will dip ends into the boiler once finished to seal the ends.

To maintain these braids, you can use an oil of your choice such as jojoba, olive oil, Argon, black castor oil, or even coconut oil. An oil should be applied two to three times per week. You can also use dry shampoo to clean the scalp. Hair should be tied down at night with scarf.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I have clients with all hair types from extremely fine to extremely coarse. Absolutely any hair type can try out this style. This style would best fit the person who wants a break from styling their hair daily. It’s a great style if you work out, are about to deliver a baby, traveling, transitioning to natural, or if you would simply like to try something new. Go for it!

Goddess Braids

yellow and black colored box braidsInstagram / @queenveehair

Q&A with Style Creator Victoria Davis
Hairstylist @ Cut Creaters Salon Suites in Atlanta, GA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is referred to as “Goddess Braids”. It is unique in its difference from a traditional scalp braid where you braid underhand because you actually braid overhand, causing the hair to bulge out.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

You can use any holding substance like edge control, gel or jam. I like to use Loc n’ Gel by Cut Creators Salon Suites. Mousse is a great maintaining molder for this style to last a bit longer.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I’d recommend this style to women of all ages and lifestyles. It looks great for any occasion. The uniqueness of this particular braid makes it suitable for classy and elegant events.

Ombre Box Braids

ombre box braidsInstagram / @_sweeta_neisha_

Q&A with Style Creator Raneisha Blanson
Independent Hairstylist in Sacramento, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

Box braids are larger individual braids with parts that are box shaped. My favorite thing about this look is its versatility. It’s able to be worn in many different styles like half up half down, a ponytail, flipped over to one side, and anything else one can think of.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

To maintain this look you would need to wrap your hair up while sleeping with a scarf. You would also need to put a bonnet on your head with all of the braids inside the bonnet as well. Remember to use some type of oil as needed on the scalp.

The braids were also dipped in boiling hot water to give them a more natural appearance and this may need to be done again in about three weeks or so. The products I used to create this look were Rastafri brand braiding hair (Freed’m-Silky-Braid) and Shine N’ Jam which is made by Ampro Pro Style.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Anyone who is willing to commit to the proper care and maintenance of these braids.

Symmetry

beautiful box braids for African womenInstagram / @hair.by.fabiola

Q&A with Style Creator Fabiola Fung
Independant African Hairstylist in Montreal, Canada


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

Symmetry. That’s the word that comes to mind when I describe this classically known, single braids style. What makes it so pleasing to the eyes are the all the calculations behind each braid. The three strands need to be weighted evenly, otherwise you get bumps. The partings must be clean to avoid painful hair tension. And, most importantly, you need to tuck in all of your client’s real hair for frizz camouflage, smoothness and sheen. All of these factors come together to create this perfectly symmetrical gathering of hair.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

For someone looking to recreate this, the first thing I would recommend is to locate me and make an immediate appointment. Otherwise, your local beauty supply store has everything you will need to do it at home. Kanekalon synthetic braiding hair is the type of extension I used. I prefer the brand X-pressions because it has a good density and proper texture to give you sleek braids that don’t feel like cheap plastic. You will also need a good hair oil to properly hydrate your real hair before starting, as well as an edge control conditioning gel for flyaway prevention. With patience and a couple of tutorials, practice makes perfect.

When it comes to making your new look last, this is one of the most low maintenance styles in the braiding world. It only requires that you remember to hydrate your hair at least every other day. I’m a big fan of mixing some water and a hair oil of your choice (such as castor oil) in a spray bottle and spritzing your hair and scalp before walking out the door.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I honestly feel that this is a universal style. I have done it on the kinkiest of hair types to the straightest. It can be a great look for children, students, busy moms, or even your lovely grandmother. The key is to find a stylist who knows what they are doing and does not braid too tightly. My clients are always surprised at the pain free braiding experience I offer because most don’t know that braids are not supposed to be painful.

This is a great protective style to help grow your hair by keeping it shielded from too much manipulation for a period of six to eight weeks at most, so it must be done gently. Whether you have a rounder face or finer features, it does not discriminate. Since this look allows for so much versatility, there is a single braid length and width to suit anyone.

Trendy & Bold

Q&A with style creator, Tiffani Renae
Owner/Braider @ Tiffani Renae Styles in Jonesboro, GA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This style is trendy, hip and bold. I love how easy it is to maintain. It’s one of those go-to looks when you want to give your hair a break, but also make a statement.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

Kanekalon braiding hair was used to create this look, along with Edge Control to slick down the roots. I recommend tying the hair down with a scarf nightly and using Edge Control on your edges when needed to maintain this look. I also recommend oiling your scalp at least every other day to promote growth and to keep up the look of the hair.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I think this style works for those who are on the go and have limited time to dedicate to their hair on a daily basis. It can also be good for those who want to give their hair a break from daily manipulation. This style can be rocked by anyone with any hair type, however the longevity of the style will vary depending on your hair texture. Kinkier textures will hold the braids the longest as they are less likely to slip at the roots.

Old Fashioned

Q&A with style creator, Kayla Jordan
Experienced Braider @ Upscale Beauty Salon in Tempe, AZ


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is old fashioned, yet still rocks with the latest trends. It’s always popular and in demand. My favorite thing about this style is that it is a “get up and go” style. It’s a protective style and you can style it multiple ways so it never gets boring.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

The products I recommend to maintain this look are a hairspray and mousse. You don’t want to mousse it all the time, but when you do, definitely spray some hairspray to get the shine back. Most importantly, wrap this style up before going to sleep every night. This will keep it from fraying too soon. The products I recommend to recreate this look are Jam, a comb, and hot water.

What type of client would you recommend this look for? 

This style can be for anyone! All hair types, all face shapes and all lifestyles can wear this. I would not recommend getting this style if you are suffering from any type of hair loss disease and have really thin hair as this hair varies on weight depending on size and length.

Low Maintenance

Low Maintenance hairstyleInstagram @afro_halo

Q&A with style creator, ‘Motseng Zulu
Manager @ Afro Halo Salon, Cosmo Mall in Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is an attractive hairstyle that is great for giving your hair a break from everyday styling. My favorite thing about the hairstyle is that it can be styled up or down to suit any occasion, and that it lasts for one to two months.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

This look is relatively low maintenance. It only requires washing deep conditioning and moisturizing every seven to ten days. The products I recommend are: Head and Shoulders Soothing Scalp Care shampoo, Head and Shoulders Soothing Scalp Care conditioner, Head and Shoulders Instant Relief spray, and Sulfur 8 braid spray.

To recreate the look, it is important to prep the hair with a shampoo, deep conditioner and blow dry. To create the style, you will need a comb, synthetic hair fiber, hair cutting scissors, hair moisturizer and gel.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look was done over short locks, so box braids are a great way of adding length for someone still growing their locks. This look can be styled in many ways to make it suitable for all face shapes.

Versatile Elegance

Versatile Elegance hairstyleInstagram @donebycheree

Q&A with style creator, Cheree Brown
Natural Hairstylist @ Done by Cheree in Memphis, TN


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is a versatile and easy style that can be pinned up for an elegant updo, or you can let it all hang down for a sassy, carefree look. My favorite style is to bun the top and let the back hang down for a combination of both looks, but the styles are endless for box braids. My favorite thing about it is that it’s a great protective style for natural hair. It is long-lasting (can be worn up to 3 months) and again, super versatile.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

The healthiest way to install and maintain this protective style is to start with thoroughly cleansed, conditioned and moisturized hair. I like a variety of brands that are all natural and free from parabens and sulfates. Thoroughly detangle hair with a good leave-in conditioner or moisturizing cream. I like Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Hair Milk, Taliah Waajid Easy Herbal Comb Out, and Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In.

Maintain this style with a good moisturizing spray that you can purchase or make yourself by adding water and your favorite oil (essential oils and/or conditioner) in a cheap spray bottle. Ideas for ocktail recipes are endless, and I recommend spraying the scalp and hair daily for maximum benefits.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This is one of many go-to protective styles that can be worn by anyone. Any face shape, hair type or lifestyle can pull off this look. I do recommend that the box braids be between jumbo to medium-sized as small and micro-sizes can contribute to breakage, especially for fine textures of hair.

It is also important to use an equal ratio of hair extensions to natural hair to minimize breakage. No one wants heavy braids! This protective style is great for the natural who is seeking a protective style to aid in length retention and for those seeking a low maintenance, long-lasting style. It is also a simple style for a vacation getaway. Feel free to get them wet in the pool!