box braids
Beauty Natural Hair

How To Prepare Your Hair For Box Braids | Natural Black Hair Care

If you’re looking for a protective style for natural black hair care, box braids are a low maintenance and versatile option that can be extremely practical for your busy life.

While box braids are easy to maintain, it is important to consider the ways that you should care for your hair before getting your braids installed. This guide will help you prevent breakage, so that you can grow a healthy, beautiful head of hair.

Anyone can wear box braids. For more natural hair style advice, click here.

By: Olivia Harden

natural black hairstyles1) Find Your Style

First, you need to pick a look for your box braids.

Are you going for big, chunky braids or micro-braids that are much thinner in size? What about the color of your braids? You can choose from your natural hair color to a variety of others.

Whatever look you’re going for, it is imperative that you share a picture of it with your hairstylist. You want to make sure she knows exactly what you want and can give you your desired look.

If you are picking out your own hair at a beauty supply store, consider consulting with your hairstylist. This way, the two of you can decide on a shade that will look best on you.

box braids2) Choose The Right Hairstylist

Box braids take some time to complete. Due to this, you have to find a hairstylist that is not only patient but familiar and experienced with natural hair and hairstyles for natural hair. If you can’t find a hairstylist at a salon, there are other avenues in which you can find someone to braid your hair.

You might have a friend who knows how to braid hair…. If they’re serious about their hair business or you have a trusting relationship with them, consult with their previous clients (who aren’t friends!) and decide if you want to invest in their skills.

I’ve managed to find a friend of my family who braids hair and I haven’t been disappointed since. The end result is high quality and I always get lots of compliments. But that’s risky! If you don’t know the person’s work (or even work ethic), you might want to consider your options first.

Also, remember to book your appointment in advance! Good stylists book quickly, sometimes weeks ahead!

The editors of recommend some of these hair salons in Los Angeles.

3) Prepare Your Hair For Box Braids

Although box braids are a protective style, if you aren’t careful, your hair can become dry and break!

  • Prep Use a pre-shampoo treatment (also known as “pre-poo”) to moisturize and prepare your hair. As a pre-poo, I prefer coconut or black castor oil. 
  • Cleanse Next, get in there with a clarifying shampoo to clean your scalp completely. This is critical.
  • Condition Follow this with your favorite deep conditioner and a leave-in to make sure your hair is very moisturized. Avoid excess product as best as you can because it can be difficult to get it out of your installed hair.


natural hair


4) Maintaining & Caring For Your Box Braids

Wear a scarf at night and consider investing in a satin pillow case. If you decide to get really long box braids, it can be difficult to stuff them into a bonnet. Satin pillow cases are not only necessary, but doesn’t cause your hair to become dry like other fabrics.

More on How To Create A Nighttime Routine For Natural Hair

If braids start to fray, you can use scissors to cut the flyaways. To avoid cutting your natural hair, make sure you know where your hair ends inside of the braid. For flyaways that are too high up to cut, use gel to have them lay down with your hair.

Most mornings I can get away with just a swipe of gel to my baby hairs and I’m good to go.

Lastly, if you find that your braids look a little tired, you can always get the braids in the front redone again for a more fresh look.

Follow these steps for a happy, carefree protective style that you can depend on.

Have your own box braids pro-tip? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: WeHeart It @justineskye @Mabie_00 @dilaraozmen_62

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