how to maintain box braids

What NOT To Do While Wearing Box Braids

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Some tips on what NOT to do while you are wearing box braids. If you want to maintain optimal hair health these are absolute no nos!

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! 🙂

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54 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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

      1. I just got some braids done (1st time) covered my hair with a Du-rag to sleep last night. I have a lot of baby hair that were not able to be tied what can I use to lightly comb & hold???

        1. You can use a toothbrush (not the one you brush your teeth with lol) and a little gel to lay your edges.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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?

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

  8. 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!

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

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

  10. 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 ?

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

    1. Cornrows are braids that remain attached to the scalp for part or majority of the length of the braid.

  11. 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 ?

    1. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. thanks for the tips!

    i’m a white dude with 3c hair, and i’m trying this box braid thing out. problem is they always stick out – and it looks ridiculous lol. what can i do to help the braids hang down more naturally? i’m in taiwan so it might not be so easy to find the product that i need. i’ve tried blow drying to no effect. any tips? thanks!

  17. Hi i want to do box braids on my myself but idon’t have gel with me and I can’t order online because the don’t do deliveries in my area. I also can’t go to the shops because it’s currently a lockdown and all cosmetic shops are closed. What Ivan I do to make my box braids look sleek by the roots of my hair/how can I make the box sleek without gel…i was thinking of using Vaseline and water but after reading your article Im not so sure 💁

    1. Vaseline is no good for the hair. Period. You can just make sure that your hair is moisturized properly, and just braid it up.

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