What NOT To Do While Wearing Box Braids

how to maintain hair while wearing box braids

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m back in box braids once again. I really wanted to give my hair a break for the Fall/ Winter season and I also want to grow the front out long again. I may even grow it into a bob who knows. Anyway, I did a post a while back on how to maintain your box braids while keeping your own hair healthy, but this time around I’d like to give you guys some tips on what not to do while you are wearing box braids. These are absolute no nos!

1. Don’t forgo washing/cleansing

You must cleanse your hair and scalp while braided and notice that I said cleanse. Some people may not like to wash their braids and I don’t suggest washing human hair braids, but I recommend at least using a cleanser made especially for braids or a dry shampoo. The gunk  and excess dirt that nests at the knots of the braids can cause extra breakage upon removal. You will get build up on your scalp which can cause itching and irritation that can be damaging. Oh and let’s not talk about the semi-funk that you will develop, especially if you’re very active and do a lot of physical activities. Trust me I know as I used to be one of those who wears braids for months with no type of cleansing and it wasn’t fun.

2. Don’t pull your hair up too tight

I sometimes see people with their braids pulled up so tight that their edges are screaming and it makes me cringe. Synthetic hair by default is heavier, while larger and longer braids also tend to be heavy. This already puts extra stress on the hair particularly the edges. Do not add more stress by pulling your hair up too tight… not if you want to preserve your hairline. It doesn’t look good anyway.

3. Don’t overload your hair with heavy products

All you need is a water based braid spray or a homemade mixture of your own that includes water, a little glycerin to moisturize and essential oils. Do not put petroleum jelly, hair grease, heavy creams and gels or heavy oil on your scalp or in your hair while braided. It will weigh your hair down, make it dirty and attract extra lint. It can also cause slippage.

4. Don’t skip touch ups

You must retouch your edges/ part braids every few weeks. Not only will your hair not look good with frizzy and untamed new growth, it will also start to break off from the stress of the hanging braids. The “dirt ball” at the knot which also contains shedding hair will be hard to remove as well causing breakage.

5. Don’t go to sleep without covering up your hair

After all of that hard work putting your braids in or sitting for hours letting someone else do them, don’t you want to keep them looking nice? Exactly. Tie your hair up at night to avoid the frizzies and excess lint. I just wear an extra large satin bonnet.

6. Don’t be afraid to get creative

Box braids are very versatile and the styling possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to try different styles to avoid getting bored with the braids. If you need some styling inspiration check out my post on how to style your box braids.

If you have any questions or more don’ts or do’s to wearing box braids leave it in the comments! 🙂


When I’m not hunting down the latest and greatest beauty products, beating a face or lacing a do, you can find me roaming the streets of NYC in my stilettos looking for the next best restaurant. Or in the kitchen trying to outdo myself from the last time.

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  1. 10.29.2014 / 5:07 pm

    Useful post. Also I don’t think people should wear chunky braids as it looks too heavy on the hair strands. i.e- marley braids.

    • Erica
      10.30.2014 / 4:27 pm

      That marley hair is actually extremely light!

  2. Char Bowie
    10.30.2014 / 8:46 am

    I would say for women with natural hair, do blow your hair out before getting box braids. It’s not a necessity but it helps your braids look fresh and neat and last longer. My braider(african) will blow it out for you if you have not done so already and she isnt concerned with being gentle! LOL

    • Erica
      10.30.2014 / 4:26 pm

      LOL They are NEVER gentle!

  3. 10.30.2014 / 11:05 am

    The best tips ever!!! I haven’t had box braids since I was a child, but I don’t remember EVER washing them. Ugh…so gross!

    Thanks for sharing chica!


    • Erica
      10.30.2014 / 4:28 pm

      That was me as a child and teen. Ewww lol

  4. princess
    11.17.2014 / 2:05 pm

    I love your braids, where did you get them done at?

    • Erica
      11.17.2014 / 2:47 pm

      Thank you so much. I do them myself!

  5. Claudine
    12.10.2014 / 1:39 pm

    Hi Erica – I’ve found your blog really interesting. After nearly 30 years of relaxing,dyeing and bonding I decided to stop all that and grow out the relaxer which take long has my hair was short anyway. A year on my hair has gone back to its natural state , I’ve rotected my hair by weaving and braiding and washing and conditioning my hair with Texture My Way. I digres – my qyestion is with my hair being in box braids at the mo could I wash my scalp with the products that I use when washing my hair in between weaves and braids?

    • Erica
      12.12.2014 / 4:09 pm

      It shouldn’t be a problem just dilute the shampoo with some water and rinse well.

  6. jennifer
    04.26.2015 / 9:28 pm

    Hello I’ve always loved your braids every time I go to get my braids I take your pictures to my styles.LOL..But I never wash my braids ..I need to know where to get it and how to use it. .Thanks so much.

    • Erica
      04.27.2015 / 4:47 pm

      Hi. I’m not exactly sure what you are asking…

  7. jennifer
    04.26.2015 / 9:30 pm


  8. Britt
    05.15.2016 / 10:03 pm

    I really worried box braids will be heavy b/c I have really think natural hair. I was thinking of using human hair b/c its lighter… But I love the way the kaneklon hair looks with the braids. PLEASE HELP!

    • Erica
      05.19.2016 / 12:51 am

      No worries about the braids being too heavy as the Xtreme Kanekalon braiding hair is very light!

  9. Fancy
    07.10.2016 / 11:55 am

    Erica when you wash your braids do you put on a do rag or should I just gently massage while the braids are down?

    • Erica
      07.13.2016 / 1:42 pm

      I leave my braids down and gently massage

  10. Shena
    07.24.2016 / 10:21 am

    Love them! I recently got box-braids myself for the first time ever. Loving them! What specific products are you using to cleanse your hair and scalp?

  11. Shamanique
    04.07.2017 / 6:46 pm

    If I were to get short or smaller braids would they not be as heavy?

    • Erica
      04.08.2017 / 7:30 pm

      Heaviness depends the type of hair you use, and the amount that you put in each braid. Shorter braids are generally lighter though.

  12. Brenda J Townes
    04.15.2017 / 7:22 pm

    I’m new to box braids and I need some advice on how to avoid the lint getting on to the ends of the braids. I love them too!

    • Erica
      04.16.2017 / 10:08 pm

      I never get lint in my braids. I sleep with a satin bonnet every night, and never sleep with them loose. Hope that helps!

  13. Dulcelinda Almeida
    07.06.2017 / 1:56 pm

    Hi I just got box braids done like two weeks ago and there already coming out . what should i do?

    • Erica
      07.10.2017 / 1:33 am

      Go back to the person who did them to fix them for you. They should not be coming out.

  14. amira
    09.04.2017 / 1:02 pm

    is it ok to use argan and coconut oil on my scalp with the box braids?

    • Erica
      09.04.2017 / 2:07 pm

      I don’t see why not

  15. aarica
    11.16.2017 / 4:31 pm

    i recently got my hair braided and one of my braids came out with my hair they werent tight and i been going to the braider for three years now this is the first time this has happened should i wait to get it braided again ?

    • Erica
      11.20.2017 / 6:15 am

      If your hair came out with the braid and the braids weren’t tight, there could be a deeper issue going on.

  16. Pinta
    12.08.2017 / 5:08 am

    They’re not called box braids they are cornrows

    • Erica
      12.08.2017 / 4:40 pm

      No. These are box braids.

  17. Sabrina
    08.26.2018 / 9:44 am

    Hey Darling ! 😉
    What’s Your tips on maintaining braids on european hair ?

  18. britt
    11.16.2018 / 7:22 pm

    Hey! I recently got box braids two weeks ago, and I decided to wash because of the itchiness and the buildup. I washed and three braids are slipping off and some of the braids are showing the rubber band. (I did the rubber band method) I didn’t rub to hard when I was washing, I just lightly massaged and rinsed. I’m a little frustrated that the braids are looking frizzy and loose. Any help ?

    • Erica
      11.16.2018 / 11:59 pm

      Hi Britt. I’ve never done the rubber band method on myself or anyone else’s hair, so I’m not exactly sure how you’re supposed to care for them. I braid the old school way and those braids withstand washing.

  19. Taja Ward
    12.30.2018 / 12:21 pm

    Hi I just got box braids and im worried about my braids coming out sooner because im a dishwasher at a restaurant and the dish machine gives out some steam and the restaurant can be a little warm sometimes hot I was wondering if that could cause my braids to fall out

    • Erica
      01.17.2019 / 12:19 am

      If your hair is braided properly, then steam should not make your braids fall out.

  20. Adesemi C Elumaro
    01.30.2019 / 11:35 pm

    What do you mean by touch ups?

    • Erica
      01.31.2019 / 12:34 pm

      Remove and rebraid

  21. Heather
    03.14.2019 / 5:37 pm

    I just got box braids for the first time and there are so many products I’m not sure what is the best to use. I bought a water based curl moisturizer and olive oil spray. I’m not sure if what I bought is exactly what I need and I don’t want anything that will make my hair look oily or frizz up. Any advice?

  22. nina
    06.15.2019 / 6:12 am

    Hi Erica, really useful article and the braids look beautiful on you, after exactly how many weeks do you recommend touch ups?
    and also, is it okay to put oils on the synthetic hair, even though it doesnt really do anything, does it damadge the braids

    • Erica
      06.24.2019 / 12:16 pm

      How often you touch up the braids depends on your personal hair growth rate. I wouldn’t put oils on the synthetic hair as it will attract more dirt and lint, and start to look too shiny.

  23. 10.30.2019 / 4:21 pm

    Hi Erica, my name is Tasia Nicholle Hester, and I got my box braids on Wednesday October 2 2019, and I sprayed my hair with Water Free Egptian Sparkle Perm & Braid Sheen Polish with Conditioner, but I ran out it two days ago, and now I’m using Blue Magic hair grease on my hair. I always kept my braids in four months and my hair never broke off at all.

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