Often clients will call for box braids  and the question I get asked the most is what size box braids should I get?  The answer to this one has to consider the following:

  • Is your hair thin? healthy?
  • Do you swim or visit the gym a lot?
  • What length would you like them
  • Is your hair thin? ¬†Healthy? ¬†box braids use as much as twice the amount of extension hair a normal braid style would. ¬†To do a full head with extensions to the waist requires about 10 bags of synthetic hair. ¬†If your hair is really thin, having this much weight on your hair can cause breakage.
  • If your hair is not healthy, taking ¬†steps, such as including greens like kale into your diet, is necessary.
  • Do you swim or visit the gym a lot? ¬†For the swimmers, braids are a challenge because the hair will get wet and make the natural hair curl up. ¬†If you intend to keep the hair for more than a month, braids might not be the best decision for you.
  • for those that visit the gym a lot, box braids are a lot heavier than normal braids on the neck. ¬†If you a jumping around etc. this will need easing into or there will be some pain involved. ¬†Sudden turns of the head become a chore and people close to you have to be careful they don’t get whipped.
  • What length would you like them? ¬†This covers both the above scenarios but with a little twist. ¬†Box braids look better the longer they are. ¬†It has that exotic look that makes people want to run their hand in your hair. ¬†If your hair is thin, having big thick braids will remove hair at your hairline. ¬†This happens most often in the second month of having them and the regrowth is holding all that waist-length hair.

In the quest to look fashionable, box braids are trendy but when you do them consider the thickness of your hair.  Limit the length of time you keep them on before having them redone.  If you start seeing hair bulbs at the hairline, you are losing hair.  Continuing in this way has long term effects  such as baldness.  After one month, at the most,  a check of how much the hair has grown will let you know when to change them.

Paula Barker, silkielocks.com

check out my e-book: ¬†Dreadlocks: ¬†A Hairstylist’s Manifest.