Thinking of Getting Box Braids This Summer? What You Should Know

July 26, 2012  |  

The boho box braids seem to be among the trendiest of hairstyles this summer. Women every where have been going 90’s retro with the chunky waist length braids. Celebrities such as Joy Bryant, Solange Knowles, and Chrisette Michele, and now Beyonce Knowles among many others have been making blog headlines everywhere for embracing this hip  and evocative trend. I myself have been having my own summer love affair with the waist length Senegalese twists, which are very similar, only they are twists as opposed to braids. While many ladies have already hopped onto the boho bandwagon, there are others who are still contemplating whether or not they wish to join in on the fun. If you are one of those ladies who are still on the fence about trying out this chic hairdo, hopefully these tips will assist you in making your decision.

Box braids can make for a really great low-maitenance protective style. In this style you can give your hair a break and some time away to really grow and flourish, if hair growth is one of your goals. However, one thing that should be considered before getting with this trend is the current condition of your own hair. Any form of extensions can be like suicide to your hair if it is not in a healthy state. Any additional hair added to already weak and brittle hair can be a recipe for disaster. So imagine what it is like to add the weight of super long and chunky braids to already suffering hair. Not a good look. Before making your decision to get get box braids, assess the state of your hair. Are you experiencing severe shedding or breakage? Is your hair feeling brittle? If so, this probably isn’t best time for you to get those box braids you’ve been eying because they would most likely make a bad situation worse. Take a little time, nurse your hair back to health with plenty of TLC and you will be ready for extensions in no time.

If you’ve assessed your hair and determined that it is healthy enough to get you braids done, the next thing that you should consider is how you should prepare your hair to get this style done. I definitely suggest giving yourself a really good deep conditioner prior and possibly even a protein treatment prior to getting your extensions done. Be sure that you hair has an even protein and moisture balance if you do choose to go the protein route (protein treatments can be a horror when used improperly). This is all to ensure that you hair is strong enough to sustain the extensions. The next thing to consider is that your hair is properly moisturized. Extremely dry hair causes breakage so it is a great idea to apply an oil or butter to your scalp and hair prior to getting it braided.

Once you’ve prepped your hair, one of the most important things that you should is choose the right stylist. If you already have a trusted stylist whom you’ve had in mind to braid your hair great. If not, read carefully. If you want to avoid drama and headaches, you should only select a stylist who can show you that they’ve done this style before or a stylist who has been recommended to you by someone that you trust.

Although box braiding seems like a fairly simple concept, not everyone is good at it. I strongly suggest going to a professional hair braiding salon. I had a horrible experience with getting box braids done by a stylist who claimed to know what she was doing. My hair was such a mess that I took it out three days later. No one has time or money to waste, so be careful when selecting a stylist.

After you’ve decided which stylist you are going to use, the next thing to consider is the type of hair that you are going to use for your extensions. Being that box braids are a hot trend right now, people will try to bop you all in the name of the almighty dollar. Don’t allow anyone to sucker you into thinking you need some special kind of hair to get this style done. Simple braiding hair will get the job done. Most people use the Kanekalon jumbo braid hair. It shouldn’t cost any more than $2.99 per pack and that is on the pricey end of the spectrum. This hair is really inexpensive, so don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Don’t be afraid to let your stylist know if she is braiding your hair too tightly. If she has any sense she will listen and quit braiding as if she is trying to detach your scalp from the rest of your head. It is your hair at the end of the day and really tight braids can lead to breakage. What good is a cute hairstyle if your own hair is suffering underneath. You should also give your hair a few days to loosen up after getting it done before you start trying to pull it back and experimenting with the many different styles. Premature styling while your hair is still fairly tight can put major stress on your edges.

Once you’ve actually gotten your hair braided, the maintenance of your hair underneath is equally important. You should wash your hair every few weeks. Many ladies find the Crown and Glory Technique to be the most beneficial when it comes to washing. You should also be sure to keep you scalp and hair moisturized. I’ve found that the Doo Gro Anti Itch Growth Oil to be the best product when it comes to oiling my scalp.

The nozzle top makes for quick, neat, and simple application. I find that moisturizing braid sprays are pretty effective at moisturizing the rest of the hair. Don’t go crazy and apply to many products, though. Too many different products will make your braids look old and frizzy quickly.

And finally, enjoy your braids! Check out YouTube and hair blogs to figure out the many different styles that are available to you.

Jazmine Denise is a New York City based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise


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