person with box braids

How to Do Box Braids in 10 Simple Steps

Box braids are a protective hairstyle for natural hair, achieved by sectioning off the hair into squares, or ‘boxes’. Braiding hair is often added to the natural hair for length and each section is plaited into individual three-strand braids from root to tip.

This style first gained mainstream popularity when Janet Jackson rocked them in Poetic Justice. And since then, the likes of Beyoncé, Solange and Zoe Kravitz have made the look as covetable as ever.

But, don’t worry about booking that salon appointment, ATH is here to teach you how to do box braids yourself in just 10 simple steps. Apart from the fact that they are one of the prettiest protective hairstyles, this technique also has the added advantage of being practical and versatile. However you choose to wear them, you’ll never regret learning how to do box braids.

How to Do Box Braids in 10 Easy Steps


Section the hair.

Wondering how to start a box braid? It’s simple! Using a wide tooth comb, carefully detangle your mane. Next, use your comb to section your hair in half horizontally.

Clip the top half up so it doesn’t get your way when you start plaiting. Then, divide the loose section of hair vertically into two equal sections. 

How to do box braids tutorial woman with afro hair parting it

Use a wax.

Take a small amount of styling wax and, using your fingers, gently comb it through the hair, concentrating on the roots.

This will make the hair easier to weave and give your braids a smooth and shiny finish.



How to do box braids tutorial woman with afro hair parting it

Tie to secure.

Use a small elastic (preferably either clear or the same colour as your hair) to tie off the section at the top. 

This will help to prevent tension on the roots and keep the hair flat against the scalp. 

How to do box braids tutorial woman with afro hair parting it and tying with hairband

Style your extensions.

Take a folded section of the extensions you are going to use and pull gently on the ends. 

This will separate them and make them slightly uneven, giving you a tapered effect that’s more natural.

How to do box braids tutorial black girl brushing our hair extensions 

Start braiding.

Braiding hair for box braids couldn’t be simpler. Place the folded extension over your hair tie and pull the strand apart so it lies either side of your natural hair section. 

This will help keep the braid as close as possible to your scalp. Then, start a regular three strand braid by weaving the outer extensions under the middle strand. 

How to do box braids tutorial black girl brushing our hair extensions 

Plait from root to tip.

Braid the hair all the way down until you reach the point where your natural hair runs out.

Then, separate the remaining two sections of hair (the extensions) into three and continue weaving the hair until you reach the bottom.

How to do box braids tutorial black girl braiding hair and smiling

Repeat the process.

Moving section by section, divide the hair equally and continue this braiding process.

It’s essential to use the same size and length extension for each braid so that the style looks seamless.

How to do box braids tutorial back section of hair braided

Dip the ends in hot water.

Once you’ve finished, dip the ends of your braids into hot water to seal the tips. Use a towel to remove any excess water

You can also press a hot towel all over your entire head to flatten any flyaway hairs so each braid looks perfectly polished. 

How to do box braids tutorial dipping hair in water

Style your edges.

Now your braids are sealed, use scissors to trim the ends if necessary. The final step of this box braids tutorial? Styling your hairline.

Place a small amount of the TRESemmé Freeze Hold Hairspray onto a spare dry toothbrush and use it to seal any stray hairs around your hairline into place. 


a black woman hair brushing her baby hair

You're done!

See, we told you it wasn’t that hard!

Now you’ve mastered your box braids, experiment with how you’re going to style them by scrolling through our handy inspo gallery

How to do box braids tutorial girl with box braids smiling

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