How to Box Braid Your Own Hair: An Easy Guide for Beginners

How to Box Braid Your Own Hair: An Easy Guide for Beginners

How to Box Braid Your Own Hair: An Easy Guide for Beginners

Box braid are a black girl's go-to hairstyle for a reason. They keep your hair off your neck, look great, are easy to maintain, and can be styled in various ways. They're especially a popular protective style during summers and other warmer months. Most women usually go to professionals to get box braids, as they can be a bit tricky and require some practice to master. However, with this simple guide, you can learn to create this hairstyle yourself. Let’s get started.

How to Do Your Own Box Braids


beautiful woman touching box braids
Credit: Envato Elements/ halfpoint

Here's a step-by-step guide to box braiding your hair:

What You'll Need

  • Fine-tooth comb
  • Rat-tail comb (for precise parting)
  • Hair ties or clips to section hair
  • Hair gel or cream for hold
  • Hair oil or spray for finishing
  • Synthetic braiding hair (optional, for added length and volume)

Step 1: Prepare Your Hair

Before you begin braiding, wash your hair using a moisturizing shampoo and follow up with a hydrating conditioner. Pat your hair with a towel to remove excess water. Apply a smoothing hair gel or cream to tame frizz and add hold.

Step 2: Section Your Hair

Use the rat-tail comb to part your hair into four large sections. Secure each section with a hair tie or clip. Leave one section free to start braiding.

Step 3: Part a Small Section

Within the free section, use the rat-tail comb to part off a small square or rectangle about an inch wide. Apply additional gel to the edges of this small section to smooth any stray hairs.

Step 4: Prepare the Extension Hair (if using)

If your natural hair length is short, you can always use extensions. Take your synthetic braiding hair and fold it to the desired length. Hold the fold at the midpoint to blend it with the natural hair section you parted. You can skip this step if you want short box braids.

Step 5: Divide and Start Braiding

Divide your real hair into three even strands. Integrate the synthetic hair by placing it over your natural strands, keeping the midpoint fold aligned with your scalp. Braid hair by alternately crossing the right and left strands under the middle strand, tightly pulling each strand to keep the braid close to the scalp.

Step 6: Secure the Braid

Continue braiding down the length of the hair until you reach the ends. If using synthetic hair, it may naturally secure itself; otherwise, tie off the end with a small hair elastic.

Step 7: Repeat for Each Section

Unclip the next section of your hair and repeat the parting, smoothing, and braiding process until all your hair is braided.

Step 8: Apply Finishing Products

Once all braids are complete, use a light hair oil or finishing spray to add shine and lock in moisture. Trim any stray hairs with hair scissors to tidy up your braids.

Tips and Tricks for Box Braiding


side view of beautiful happy woman
Credit: Envato Elements/ wirestock

Here are some useful tips and tricks when box braiding:

  • For a uniform look, make sure each section of hair you braid is roughly the same size. Use your comb to help create straight, even parts.
  • Keep a consistent tension on the hair as you braid. This prevents the braids from being too loose (which can unravel easily) or too tight (which can cause discomfort or breakage).
  • Choose a gel or cream that doesn’t flake or build up. Water-based products are great for keeping the scalp and hair moisturized without causing buildup.
  • Braiding can take several hours, especially if you're new to it or have a lot of hair. Make sure you have enough time set aside so you don't have to rush through the braiding process.

How to Maintain Your Box Braids


woman touching her box braids
Credit: Envato Elements/ ASphotostudio

To keep your box braids looking great for as long as possible, follow these maintenance tips:

  • If your braids start looking a bit fuzzy, use a small amount of gel and a toothbrush or small brush to smooth down flyaways and keep your braids looking neat.
  • Scalp itching is common when wearing box braids, especially if your scalp is dry. To prevent itching, moisturize your scalp regularly with lightweight oils or scalp serums. You can also use aloe vera gel or specialized scalp treatments to soothe irritation.
  • Wash your braids gently with diluted shampoo and conditioner when necessary, and be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any product buildup.
  • Box braids can dry out your hair. Apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to the length of your braids and scalp every few days to keep your hair hydrated.
  • Always cover your braids with a silk or satin scarf or use a silk pillowcase when sleeping. This reduces friction and helps prevent frizz and breakage.
  • If your braids are slipping out of place, try securing them more tightly with rubber bands or hair clips.

How to Experiment with Different Box Braid Styles


happy woman touching box braids
Credit: Envato Elements/ Olezzo

Once you've mastered the basics of box braiding, don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different styles. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • You can vary the size of your box braids. Small braids are more time-consuming but can last longer and look better. Large braids are quicker to dol and can give a bold look. Medium braids are a good balance between the two.
  • Instead of the typical square sections, try triangular, diamond, or even curved partings to add a unique twist to your style.
  • Use colored synthetic hair to add streaks or full braids of color without dyeing your natural hair. This is a great way to experiment with different hair colors without damaging your hair.
  • Decorate your braids with beads, rings, or wraps. These can be added at the ends or along the braids.
  • Style your braids in layers or in a half-up, half-down hairstyle. This can change your look dramatically and is easy to switch up day by day.
  • Box braids can be styled into almost any updo, including buns, top knots, ponytails, and even intricate designs like crown braids, knotless box braids, or halo braids.


How long does it take to box braid your own hair?

The time it takes to box braid your hair depends on various factors such as the length and thickness of your hair, your braiding skill level, and whether you're using hair extensions. On average, it can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete a full head of box braids.

How long do box braids last?

Box braids can typically last anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks with proper maintenance. However, factors such as your hair texture, activity level, and how well you care for your braids can affect their longevity.

Can I wash my box braids?

Yes, you can wash your box braids, but it's essential to do so gently to avoid causing frizz or unraveling the braids. Dilute shampoo with water and apply it directly to your scalp, then rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a lightweight conditioner if needed, and be sure to rinse it out completely.

Can I exercise with box braids?

Yes, you can exercise with box braids, but it's essential to take some precautions to protect your braids. Tie your braids back securely to prevent them from getting tangled or frizzy during physical activity. You may also want to wear a sweatband or scarf to absorb sweat and protect your edges.

How do I remove box braids?

To remove box braids, start by carefully cutting the rubber bands or hair ties at the base of each braid. Then, unravel each braid gently, taking care not to tug or pull on your hair. Once all the braids are unraveled, detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb and wash and condition it to remove any leftover residue.

What is pre-stretched hair and is it good for box braiding?

Pre-stretched hair is synthetic hair that manufacturers have already stretched to remove shorter strands. It's excellent for box braiding since it tends to tangle less.


With practice and patience, anyone can master the art of box braiding their own hair. Follow these simple steps, and soon you'll be rocking flawless box braids like a pro.

To keep your new braids secure and stylish, try using Burlybands hair ties. They're strong, durable, and designed to hold your hair without slipping or breaking, making them perfect for maintaining beautiful braids all day long. Shop with us today.

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