What You Need To Know Before Getting Box Braids

Photo: Rob Latour/REX USA.
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.

More from Hair

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.