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What You Need To Know Before Getting Box Braids
The last time I had box braids was around the summer of '97. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them (granted, this might have been due to the very '90s bobbed length I was forced to get), but after seeing my cousin pull a braid straight out of her sister's head, I became scarred from ever getting them again. That is, until I made the decision to go natural and, about six months in, became frustrated with dealing with two different textures that refused to cooperate with my styling needs. So, to give my hair — and myself — a much-needed break, I turned to box braids.
While box braids are in no way a new look — women of color have been wearing them for a long time — there's been something of a revival lately. Everyone from the Knowles sisters to Zoë Kravitz and Tia Mowry has been seen with them. It's not only a great protective hairstyle (one that keeps your hair and ends tucked in and shielded from factors like extreme weather conditions, while still promoting growth), but it's low-maintenance, convenient, and cute. And, with warm weather, it's a common go-to look for dealing with the harsh humidity that's sure to come.
I talked with some hairstylists to get the lowdown on everything you need to know — from choosing your ideal braid size to the takedown process. Read on for what they had to say.
Marcia Hamilton, who styled Alicia Keys' fabric braids, said that they looked like sorbet. That, and damn cool.
Photo: Via @magicfingersstudio.
Don't believe the hype: Sometimes, size does matter. "People are wearing bigger braids than they were before," Stasha Harris of Brooklyn's Magic Fingers Studio says. "Before, you'd wear them small and then you'd have no edges. With bigger braids, your hair is protected more and you can get more creative."
For some unexpected shine, add a few gold rings around your braids for an ultra-glam style.
Box braids don't need to be past your shoulders; a chin-length cut is just as cool.
Better still, make the shorter protective style really pop with some fresh orange color...
Photo: Via @joansmalls.
Or, take a cue from Joan Smalls and choose a few braids to serve up a subtle a pop of color that's impactful when you want it, yet easy to hide while styling for when you don't.