How to Style Coolest Modern Box Braids Hairstyle - Box Braids Trends for 2021
|Box braids go trending again in 2021. Photo: Haircuts and Hairstyles 2021
Box braids are three-stranded plaits. They aren’t too different from standard braids, but they are certainly more defined since the tension that is applied to the braids are enough to prevent fly-aways. And unlike cornrows, box braids are not braided flat against the scalp—hair is sectioned off into precisely shaped squares (or boxes) all throughout the scalp and gets braided down its entire length, so you can shake your freestanding plaits to your heart’s content. To get added length, volume, and protection, many naturals and relaxed heads opt for extensions.
According to Byrdie, kanekalon, a synthetic fiber that is used in most braiding hair packs, is commonly used to achieve the style due to its affordability and ability to withstand extreme heat for sealed ends (if rubber bands aren’t used). However, bulk human hair can also be used for a more natural look that’s environmentally friendly and sustainable. Though, this option is pricier and takes a bit more work since it’s real hair.
Do box braids damage your hair?
Box braids are a great protective style because there’s no thermal heat on the hair, which means your hair won’t have any issues growing. That said, box braids can damage your hair if they’re installed incorrectly, they're too heavy, or they're left in for too long.
To avoid damaging the hair, you want to make sure you treat the hair properly before and after the braids, keep up with night maintenance, and avoid keeping the braids in too long, Cosmo Politan cites.
How much do box braids cost?
As with pretty much all hairstyling consultations, the cost of your box braids depends on a few different factors—the style, size, and, of course, the length of your box braids. Unless you’re seeing a celebrity hairstylist or visiting a high-end salon, you can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $300 for your box braids.
What is the braiding process like?
Box braids are not a monolith. The style can be long or short, thick or thin. And depending on the look you’re going for, the hours you spend in a stylist’s chair can vary.
The time it takes depends on the skill and technique of the braider and the hair type of the client who is getting the braids—not so much on the braid style. On average, a quality braid style can take anywhere from four to eight hours.
If you’re going for a really elaborate or Rapunzel-length box braid style, you might want to bring a few magazines, a phone charger, and snacks with you.
How long do you keep in box braids?
It might be tempting to leave your box braids in for as long as possible. Especially if your braids still look good months after the first installation. However, if you keep your braids in for too long, it can cause breakage, matting, and buildup on your new growth, which completely defeats the purpose of a protective style.
Braids can last a maximum of 10 weeks if the hairline and nape are redone at the six-week mark, as cited by Byrdie. If the hairline and neck are not re-done at the six-week mark, eight weeks is the maximum amount of time you can keep your hair in a braided style.
How do you wash box braids?
There’s not really a definitive answer here because pros are actually split on whether you should wash your box braids or not.
Here is everything you should keep in mind:
Soak and shampoo
Before shampooing, Harris says to soak your braids with water and then add your shampoo.
Illeisha Lussiano, the founder of The Way, a salon on New York City’s Lower East Side, says you want to make sure you thoroughly cover your scalp with shampoo. “Pour shampoo into your hand and with your fingers, apply to your scalp, and rub in until scalp is fully saturated,” she says.
“Rinse thoroughly; repeat if needed,” says Lussiano. Be sure to rinse your scalp and braids, not leaving any shampoo.
To add some moisture back in, you should use a light conditioner. According to Well&Good, that way, the formula can penetrate your braids and is easy to wash out. Harris adds that when you put the conditioner on to leave it there for three to five minutes.
Fully dry your braids
Finally, be sure to wrap your hair in a large towel to soak up a majority of the water. From there, you can either choose to dry or use the help of a dryer. Be sure to fully dry your braids—the last thing you want is mildew growing in them—yikes!
The most important thing is to add oils to your hair after you’ve washed it. You can use some gel on your edges, like the Shine ‘n Jam Magic Fingers Gel, and add mousse to your braids. Run the mousse through your braids with your fingers and then tie them up with a durag to dry. Your braids should look fresh.
Top coolest box braids hairstyles - Trends in 2021
#1. Center Part
|Kerry Washington's center part box braids. Photo: Photo: Pinterest
There is no going wrong with a center-parted box braid look. Kerry Washington proved that during a photocall of her play "American Son" in 2018. If you look closely, you'll notice she adorned one of her braids with a dainty bead.
#2. Bob Box Braids
Take a trip back in time with a braided bob. This jumbo version seen on Jourdan Dunn is a perfect nod to the ’90s (especially the half-up, half-down style), and the hints of gold add an extra layer of fun.
#3. Small Box Braids
While our butts hurt just thinking about how long Laura Harrier had to sit in the salon chair in order to have these mini box braids installed, the end result is gorgeous. This particular style is the knotless version, which comes without the traditional knot at the start of the braid. They’re often more comfortable and put less tension on your scalp and edges.
#4. Twists in the Front
|Photo: The Oprah Magazine
Instead of going with the typical side part when wearing box braids, Keri Hilson twisted a few sections in the front towards the back for an event in 2016, as cited by The Oprah Magazine.
#5. Mini Blonde Braids
If seen from afar, Solange’s platinum blonde mini box braids might look like plain extensions or a wig, which is due to the size and the style, as cited by Glamour. The top portion is braided while the majority of the braid is left out, giving off a free-spirit vibe.
#6. In a Bun
|Photo: The Oprah Magazine
While attending The Looking Ahead Awards in Hollywood, Tia Mowry pulled her braids up into a bun. Johnson tells OprahMag.com that using something like the Kerastase Discipline Mousse before braiding the hair adds a more refined look and volume, which is perfect when you're going to put them up.
#7. Box Braids With Pearls
When hairstylist Lacy Redway and Tessa Thompson get together, magic happens—as evidenced by this box braids hairstyle that features braids woven together, multidimensional blonde strands, and pearls fit for a Pinterest board.
#8. Tucked in High Ponytail
|Photo: The Oprah Magazine
Take a cue from Janet Jackson and copy the relaxed tucked in a high ponytail she wore to the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Milan Fashion Week in 2013. If you already have box braids in, achieving this look is as easy as taking a scrunchie and pulling them up, then leaving them tucked in.
#9. Medium-Size Box Braids
Hair chameleon Zendaya’s simple auburn-brown medium-size box braids are styled with a side part and a few braids pinned back on one side. She also reminds us of the fun of having box braids: the ability to whip them back and forth.
|Photo: The Oprah Magazine
Danai Gurira arrived at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar after-party with a lob style that featured cornrows upfront and box braids underneath. The frayed ends added an extra edge to her already chic look.
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