7 Shampoos That Will Help Preserve Your Box Braids

Picture this: It's the hottest day of summer, and you're four hours deep into an all-day hair appointment that seeps well into the evening, too. Your hairstylist and her assistant are double-timing on a set of waist-length, medium-width box braids, tightly securing small sections of your natural hair with extensions and plaiting downwards faster than the speed of light. Box braids aren't just a protective style — they're an investment that takes time, money, and talent. So in return, you should take care of them... along with the real hair that's underneath, too.

"Washing your hair is really important while you're braided," Tamara Laureus, owner of Hairenomics Mane Bar in Brooklyn, NY, says. "It helps get rid of buildup and dandruff that produces while your hair is being protected."


To take care of that, Laureus recommends washing your hair anywhere between once every two weeks to once a month, depending on your preference. If you sweat a lot or hit the gym frequently, then you'll likely need to lather up a bit more. Either way, the pro-approved method is this: Wash your braids in circular motion so you can avoid frizz, Laureus says. And let your hair dry at least 75 percent before going under a hooded dryer, or just air dry completely. This way, you'll prevent frizz, allowing you to wear your braids for a blissful six to nine weeks.

Ahead, see some of the best liquid, gel, and spray cleansers to keep your braids popping all summer long.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

1 of 7

African Royale BRX Braid & Extensions Sheen Spray

"I prefer liquids or sprays, which directly add moisture and shine to braids," Laureus says of this alcohol-free classic.
African Royale BRX Braid & Extensions Sheen Spray, $3.79 Buy
2 of 7

ORS Herbal Cleanse Hair and Scalp Cleanse Shampoo

Dealing with an itchy scalp? This treatment, which can be used for scratchy spots and your actual braids, is made with soothing aloe vera.
ORS Herbal Cleanse Hair and Scalp Cleanse Shampoo, $25.00 $15.50 Buy
3 of 7

Shea Moisture Jojoba Oil & Ucuuba Butter No-Rinse Foam Cleanser

For a mess-free wash day, try squeezing on a bit of this jojoba oil and ucuuba foam cleanser, that will absorb oil without totally dousing your hair. shea moisture jojoba oil & ucuuba butter no-rinse foam cleanser
SheaMoisture Jojoba Oil & Ucuuba Butter No-Rinse Foam Cleanser, $11.99 Buy
4 of 7

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

If you've got to clarify your scalp, Laureus suggests following with a moisturizing product — like coconut oil — to replenish and add shine. When washing braids with an actual shampoo, Laureus likes going from root to tip, just as she would with regular hair. Just use a gentle hand so you don't yank your plait out.
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo, $4.79 Buy
5 of 7

Taliah Waajid Refresh And So Clean Bamboo, Avocado And Peppermint Dry Gel Shampoo

A steam treatment also feels amazing on an irritated scalp, and helps get rid of flakes. With this one, wet a towel and heat it for two minutes, wrapping your entire head after applying the gel to your scalp and hair.
Taliah Waajid Bamboo, Avocado & Peppermint Dry Gel Shampoo , $7.99 Buy
6 of 7

Cantu Cleanse Root Rinse

Some people use apple cider vinegar to cleanse their faux hair before braiding – and this rinse contains the ingredient that detoxes and nourishes, along with shea butter and tea tree oil.
Cantu Cleanse Root Rinse, $4.99 Buy
7 of 7

Devacurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum

Think of all the good micellar water does for your face, then imagine that same magic happening for your scalp. This Devacurl bottle has micellar technology, jojoba oil, and rosemary extract to gently remove product buildup from the scalp while keeping it hydrated. If sudsy shampoos tend to dry out your scalp, you'll fall in love with this serum.
DevaCurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum, $28.00 Buy
Load more...