What are box braids?
Box braids are the hair braiding style most popular amongst African people. The use of synthetic hair extensions usually achieves it. This hair braiding style protects afro-textured hair against split ends and damage from heat and humidity and thus can be worn for a long period to allow natural hair to grow – it’s cheaper too in the long run. (See related: Knotless braids vs box braids)
As the name box hints, the partings on each braid can be “box” or square-shaped. Even though the name implies that they are box or square-shaped, other parting variations, such as triangle and diamond parts, can fall under the name “box braids.”
How to wash box braids
As you all know, regular hair washing helps keep it healthy. To maintain your box braids, gently wash them at least once a month with diluted shampoo and conditioner. Ensure to hydrate after washing and retain moisture in the hair with natural oil and leave conditioner.
Here are the various methods used in cleaning your box braids;
Method 1: Applying shampoo
1. Choose a clarifying shampoo
A clarifying shampoo aids in washing away dirt and product buildup on your scalp. One should look for chamomile, tea tree oil and sulfate-free formula.
2. Stir the same amounts of shampoo and water in an applicator.
Mixing shampoo and water makes the mixture much thinner and more manageable, which will make the rinsing process easier.
3. Place the shampoo mixture directly on the scalp.
Coat the whole scalp with shampoo. Ensure to coat your hairline and cover the baby hairs on the sides.
4. Rub the shampoo mixture into the scalp with your fingertips.
Use small, slower circular motions to work in the shampoo. Don’t forget to be gentle so as not to damage your scalp. Regular rubbing, handling and wetting will damage the braids and make them look worn out.
5. Rinse your hair in the shower.
It would be best to allow the water to wash away the shampoo from the roots while flipping over sections of your hair for easier access to the water. While rinsing your box braids, you should hold the ends of the braids to the side to prevent the full lengths from becoming wet and hence keeping them lighter.
Method 2; Conditioning
- Select a hydrating conditioner
When selecting your conditioner, you should look for naturally hydrating ingredients such as aloe and shea butter. Try not to use products with harsh ingredients such as sulfates which damage your hair.
- Mix equal parts of conditioner and water in an applicator and shake until they combine into a milky liquid.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the scalp and braids to cover all of your hair.
- Allow the conditioner to sit for about 5-10 minutes while in the shower. This allows your hair to retain moisture and leave it hydrated.
- Wash out the conditioner thoroughly in the shower while massaging your hair roots using your fingertips to help remove any excess conditioner from the scalp.
Method 3; Drying
- Squeeze out as much of the water with your hand. Avoid rubbing back and forth or pulling on your braids.
- To drain excess moisture and set the braids, you should wrap your hair in a towel and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Dry your hair with a hairdryer if possible. Suppose you don’t have a hairdryer. Let your hair air dry without styling until it is completely dry.
Method 4; Hydrating
- Look for a gentle natural oil such as almond oil to rehydrate your hair.
- Apply the oil when your hair is almost fully dry.
- To slightly coat the scalp, pour on small amounts of oil by working section by section through your hair.
- If your hair dries out quickly, spray on a leave-in conditioner for additional hydration. Let your leave-in be absorbed completely before putting up or styling your hair.