Box braids are individual plates divided into little boxes, creating a timeless and adaptable style that can be worn up in a high ponytail or left down in a long braid. They are normally worn to give the natural hair a break and allow it to grow undisturbed. However, if left for a very long time, braids can cause harm and breakage to the hair.
How Long Should You Keep Box Braids In
Box braids can last 4 to 6 weeks on average no matter how much you pay for them. Most experts agree that while one month with braids is acceptable, longer than two months is not recommended. Leaving the braids for longer than 2 months can lead to hair damage and reduce the scalp’s breathability, leading to more problems. However, the length that box braids will be kept on depends on many factors like the hair routine, hair type, etc.
Factors That Impact Braids’ Longevity
1. Personal Hair Growth Rate
The growth rate of the hair varies from person to person. If your hairs grow fast, this means that your braids will grow out fast; hence you will remove them faster.
However, even if your hair has a slow growth rate, you should keep it for at most 2 months. Remember to give your hair a break between plaiting (1 month) to allow the scalp to breathe.
2. Tight vs. Loose
Braids that are too tight can pull on the hairline, and those too loose could undo themselves. Therefore, maintaining that balance when braiding hair will help to ensure its integrity and duration.
3. Box Braid Length
How long box braids last can also be determined by the size of your braids. Thin braids, also known as micro box braids, can last up to three months. This is so that your scalp can get more access to the braids because they have smaller parting sections. You can easily moisturize and wash your braids with easier access to maintain their health.
On the other hand, jumbo box braids don’t hold up as long as micro braids or even traditional box braids. When you reach the six-week point, you should give your head a break and then return to your new braid style.
Even though box braids are a low-maintenance protective style, you still need to develop a daily routine plan to keep your hair feeling and looking good. In addition, you should invest in good leave-in conditioners, scalp oils, and hair wraps.
5. Box Braids With Extensions
If you add extensions to your box braids, remove them sooner than the recommended 6 to 8 weeks – typically 3 to 4 weeks. Human hair extensions may last longer than artificial ones.
The extensions on your hair are simple to lift off, especially after washing. Most people attempt to avoid this by going weeks without washing their hair or scalp. However, this causes product buildup on your scalp and hair, which makes it more difficult to clean later, brittle, and dry.
6. Box Braids Without Extensions
With proper maintenance, box braids without extensions can last up to 6-8 weeks. In comparison to those with extensions, they can look cleaner and require less maintenance. In addition, they are easier to clean, and you can easily moisturize your scalp.
These box braids will last a very long time as long as you keep the hair and the scalp clean.
Signs It’s Time to Take Out Your Box Braids
a) New Growth
If you notice a big growth under the braid, it’s time to remove it. The new growth is vulnerable to twisting and tangling because it clings to the braid.
If you notice the buildup of products in your braids, it’s time to take them out. These product buildups can lead to the formation of tough knots.
This is the most notable sign that your braids have expired. If your braids have frizz after applying creams and hairspray, they are better taken out.
Boredom is another indication that it’s time for a change of hairstyle. Even if it’s only been a few weeks, you have every right to remove your braids if you’ve grown tired of them. It would be best if you took a break from braiding to give your strands a rest, regardless of the reason you removed your protective style.
6 Best Tips For Maintaining and Caring For Box Braids
You’ll still want to keep your natural hair moisturized and healthy even though it’s in braids. You can use braid spray to moisturize your braids to keep them tidy and shiny.
It would be best to wash your braids to remove product buildup around the three-week mark. However, you can wash earlier if you have gone swimming at a beach or the pool.
3. Don’t over-style
The fact that braids can be styled a million different ways is one of their best qualities. While it may be alluring to constantly pull your braids into a stylish top knot or a high ponytail, the results are unarguably not worth it. It can lead to wear and tear, leading to faster takeout.
4. Practice Proper Night Care
It’s best to cover your braids with a silk scarf or a bonnet before going to bed. This can prevent frizz while you sleep, lessen friction, and preserve your braids. If bonnets and scarves aren’t your options, you can still get the same effects by using a silk or satin pillowcase.
5. Do a Braid Touch-Up
If nothing else works and your box braids start to look fuzzy before the eight weeks, you can always get a hairline touch-up. Getting your hairline re-braided is an easy and quick way to get a salon-fresh look in a flash because most people only see the perimeter of your braids.
6. Know when it’s time to take them out
Despite all the advice on keeping your braids intact, you must remember that they are not designed to last indefinitely. These suggestions are intended to keep your braids looking their best for the eight weeks, but it’s best to take them out after that to relieve your hair of the stress.