52 Best Box Braids Hairstyles for Natural Hair in 2021

Long, short, chunky or dainty, we're talking all things box braids on natural hair.   

Box braids are good for natural tresses that need a break from heated styling and are a fun way to change up your look if you’re bored. The reason why they’re so popular is to do with the fact they require less attention than natural hair and allow you to get creative with colour and styles without any commitment.

You’re probably already seeing it everywhere: your favourite Instagram stars and celebrities wearing box braids on their natural hair. And If you’re a braid virgin, you might be wondering whether box braids are good for natural hair and how you can properly look after them. Luckily for you, we’re here to help!

Read on to find out if box braids are right for you, how to take care of them and see all the braided looks we can’t get enough of.

If you’re wondering if box braids are good for natural hair, the short answer is: it all depends on the state of your natural hair. While they certainly make a great protective hairstyle and also help you retain length, they are better suited to those who don’t have issues with severe dryness, thinning or scalp conditions.

No matter your hair length, there’s a lot of stunning box braids you can try with your natural hair. Scroll down to see our favourite examples for 2021.

Chunky Box Braids

Woman with chunky box braids hairstyle with hair cuffs
Credit: Instagram.com/martiniquaisement_

Size matters when it comes to box braids with natural hair. From thick, chunky styles to dainty, small braids, it’s important to consider the size and shape of your desired finish.Credit: @martiniquaisement_

Curly Box Braids

Woman with long curly box braids
Credit: Instagram.com/freshlengths

While many women who choose box braids for natural hair will stick to the popular straight finish, you can choose to break the stereotype and opt for a curly finish instead. From all over curly braids to wavy ends, the world is your oyster! Credit: @freshlengths

Medium Box Braids

Woman with medium box braids styled to the
Credit: Instagram.com/zoeleeg

If you’re a fan of medium hairstyles, you should think about giving medium box braids a try. They’re a great alternative to long box braids and just as stylish! Credit: @zoleeg

Bob Braids on Short Natural Hair

black woman with bob length box braids on natural hair with beaded ends
Beautiful beaded bob. Credit: Instagram.com/naturalbabe10.11-pro

Bobs are the timeless haircut many opt for when looking for chic and sophisticated styles, so why not team yours with a set of box braids?

The key to giving bob box braids a modern touch is to playing around with fun hues and accessories like beads and ribbon. Credit: @naturalbabe10.11-pro

Editor’s tip: Finish off this playful look with a few pumps of the Dove Advanced Shine Revived Treatment

Infused with African Macadamia Oil for beautifully supple hair, the lightweight, non-greasy formula instantly helps replenish lipids, soften and add shine.

Small Box Braids on Natural Hair

Woman with long, thin small box braids
Credit: Instagram.com/tach.j

Small and dainty braids are ideal for hair that is more on the fine side. Why? Because choosing a chunky braid for fine hair could be too heavy and cause damage to your hair, ruining your overall style. Credit: @tach.j

Knotless Box Braids

Woman with long knotless braids hairstyle
Credit: Instagram.com/____k.smith

With knotless braids, the braid is started with your own natural hair and then continued with the braiding hair, for a seamless effect. Credit: @____k.smith

Woman with knotless golden ponytail hairstyle with wavy ends
Credit: Instagram.com/alissa.ashley

This braiding style is great for those with finer natural hair, as it is light-weight and spread out more than regular box braids.
Credit: @alissa.ashley

Box Braids with Shaved Sides

Woman with long shaved box braids
Credit: Instagram.com/rafafranco2

There’s nothing wrong with adding a little edge to your look! So, if you fancy taking the plunge, take a look at our favourite shaved box braids hairstyles, here. Credit: @rafafranco2

Dyed Box Braids

Woman with pink long box braids
Credit: Instagram.com/magavilhas

Box braids are a great way to test out new shades without the full commitment. So, that pink or rainbow hue you’ve been dreaming of? You can finally try it with the help of coloured braiding extensions. Credit: @magavilhas

Triangle Box Braids

woman with golden brown triangle pattern box braids on natural hair
Square or triangle? There is no one size fits all when it comes to box braids. Credit: Instagram.com/ghanabraidstyles

The final piece of your box braids puzzle is the pattern. The most popular braiding pattern is of course box (square) shaped, but there are alternatives.

We love the triangle pattern we’ve seen popping up on all our social feeds and best of all it looks picturesque no matter what size, length and colour you choose. Credit: @ghanabraidstyles

Thick Box Braids

Woman with thick long box braids
Credit: Instagram.com/shyinstar

If you prefer thicker looks, you’ll love this take on box braids. Credit: @shyinstar

’90s Box Braids

Woman with half-up box braids with two pieces at the front left out

’90s hairstyles are on the rise, so you’ll be spot on the trend with this gorgeous box braid look.Credit: @amxndakali

Simple Half-up

Long box braids hairstyles: ATH editor Amra with long box braids in a half-up half-down style
A half-up, half-down is one of the easiest everyday hairstyles. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Every day looks call for something that’s quick and easy but still makes you look put together – and this half-up hairdo does just that.

Editor’s tip: Looking for a way to lay down your baby hairs? We find the easiest way is to use a toothbrush and some gel to work the hairs into place. The VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel is a favourite of ours as it gives a slick, shiny finish that really completes the look.

Half-up Bun

Long box braids hairstyles: ATH editor Amra with long box braids in a half-up bun hairstyle
Casual and cutesy, we love the hun. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

The half-up bun trend isn’t going anywhere, so if you’re stumped on how to style long box braids, give it a try by dividing your hair into two and twisting the top section into a bun. Why not give your look some ’90s flair by adding a scrunchie, too?

Braided Braid

Long box braids hairstyles: ATH editor Amra with long box braids in a side braid
Braids on braids on braids. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

A braided braid, who knew? This gorgeous side braid is the perfect way to show off your long box braids and keep them looking neat for work or school.

Editor’s tip: Whichever long box braids hairstyles you fall in love with, remember to keep your hair well hydrated using a leave-in conditioner, like the TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist.

This convenient spray-on formula is a quick and easy way to make sure your hair is getting the nourishment it needs. Plus, it leaves your locks smelling like a tropical island!

Braided Bow

Long box braids hairstyles: Smiling model with long golden box braids in a half-up bow hairstyle, wearing an orange top
A hair bow is the perfect party look.

Who needs accessories when you can make your own hair bow with your hair? Get the look in a cinch with our bow hair tutorial!

High Bun

Long box braids hairstyles: Smiling side profile of a woman with long dark brown box braids in a high bun, wearing a yellow top
Is there anything more perfect for taking you from day to night?

A high bun is a fail-safe way to bring some elegance to your daily hair routine. Professional enough to wear to work but also glam enough for a night out with the girls, its versatility is what makes us love it so much.

Coloured Braids

Long box braids hairstyles: Street style photo of a woman with coloured long box braids in a ponytail
Our inner unicorn is living for these rainbow braids. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Sure, these pink and blue coloured braids might not be for the faint of heart – but we say if you’re going to do colour, why not go all out? Plus, with such head-turning hues, you can afford to keep your actual style super simple – just a basic low pony will do.


Long box braids: Woman with long dark brown box braids in pigtails, wearing a white vest top
Box braids and pigtails, the perfect combo! Credit: Instagram.com/jasmeannnn

In case you missed the news, bunchies are back and cuter than ever! Do your best Baby Spice impression with these adorable pigtails – we love how this beauty has laid down her baby hairs. Credit: @jasmeannnn

Half-up Ponytail

Long box braids hairstyles: Girl with long box braids tied in a half-up ponytail
This is giving us major ’90s spice girls vibes. Credit: Instagram.com/seyi.ebiesuwa

Our main concern when choosing the day’s hairstyle is how much extra time it’ll let us spend in bed. Anyone else? That’s why this easy as pie half-up pony is one we find ourselves going back to time and time again. Sorry, not sorry. Credit: @seyi.ebiesuwa

Space Buns

Long box braids hairstyles: woman with long box braids in a half up half down space bun style
For an out-of-this-world style, space buns are a winner! Credit: Instagram.com/meet_the_stylist

Space buns are for life, not just for festivals! After all, double the buns = double the fun, making this the perfect way to show off your bubbly personality through your hair.

Who said you can’t rock long box braids styles and still slay the latest hair trends, right? Credit: @meet_the_stylist

Blue Braids

Long box braids: Smiling girl with long blue box braids holding a denim jacket over her shoulder
These bright blue braids command attention! Credit: Instagram.com/feiroz

Word on the street is that blue hair is the hue to rock in 2019, so make like Billie Eilish and Cardi B by trading your regular hue for blue this season. Credit: @feiroz

Headband Braid

Long box braids: Photo of a woman with long dark brown box braids with a twisted headband detail
Sometimes the simplest details can make all the difference to your style! Credit: Instagram.com/emily_rana

Have you spent ages searching how to style long box braids yet find that all of the looks you’re coming across are too complicated? This romantic headband braid may look intricate but is actually super simple.

All you need to do is take the front section of your hair and twist it, tucking it into the back of your head using a clip. And that’s it — perfectly polished princess hair without the stress, phew! Credit: @emily_rana

Grey Box Braids Ponytail

Long box braids hairstyles: woman with grey coloured box braids in a side braid ponytail
The ’80s called, they want their side pony back! Credit: Instagram.com/nakittahannah

The ’80s vibes are everywhere right now, so why not carry the throwback vibes on into your hair with a sweet side braided ponytail?

Super fun but also a practical way to keep your long box braids in check for the gym, it’s a great all-rounder. Credit: @nakittahannah

Braided Top Knot

Long box braids hairstyles: Woman with golden box braids in a high top knot bun
Messy buns and getting stuff done! Credit: Instagram.com/jebraids

Can you ever go wrong with a top knot? We think not. Take heed of this #braidsgang member’s blonde long box braids which she’s worked into an effortless top knot bun. Credit: @jebraids

Box Braid With Undercut

Long box braids: Woman with long dark brown box braids with an undercut, wearing a white bandeau top
You have to try an undercut at least once! Credit: Instagram.com/pelagiestyles_

If standard long box braids styles aren’t exciting enough for you and you’re looking for something a bit more out there, try adding a punky edge to your look with a shaved undercutCredit: @pelagiestyles_

Mermaid Braid

Long box braids: Back view of a woman with long golden blonde box braids styled in a mermaid braid, wearing a blue denim jacket
This mermaid-inspired hairstyle looks seriously impressive! Credit: Instagram.com/cixxsa

Give your long box braids the wow factor by weaving your strands into an intricate mermaid braidCredit: @cixxsa

Rapunzel Braids

Long box braids: Woman with extra long brunette box braids, wearing a lilac jumper and glasses
Rapunzel who? Credit: Instagram.com/alannanicolex

The benefit of braids is they give you the chance to wear your hair super long without having to wait years for it to grow, so why not really make the most of it with waist or even hip-length locks? Beyonce and Solange are both fans of statement lengths, which should be incentive enough to try them! Credit: @alannanicolex

Editor’s tip: To wash your braids, we suggest co-washing with the Love Beauty And Planet Happy & Hydrated Gentle Cleansing Conditioner to cleanse your scalp and remove any dirt or build-up. This 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner contains shea butter, which is known for its moisturising benefits.

Loose Box Braids

Long box braids: Woman with long curly dark brown box braids, worn over to side and wearing a yellow blazer
If you’ve never tried curly box braids, now’s the time. Credit: Instagram.com/mbalz

Most box braids are worn straight but if you’re after something a bit different, wavy and curly box braids are another super covetable option. You can either curl the braids themselves with a curling iron (if they’re made of real hair) or by braiding them into larger braids first and dipping them into hot water.

Or, instead of having your hair in long box braids all the way to the tips, you can leave the ends loose and curl them like this Instagrammer. Credit: @mbalz


Long box braids: Woman with long dark brown box braids with shaved undercut sides
Box braids don’t get much edgier than this! Credit: Instagram.com/flyageless

If you’re over your usual updos and want to know how to style long box braids in a brand new way, give this mohawk a try and see how heads turn. Credit: @flyageless

Fishtail Braid

Long box braids hairstyles: Woman with long dark brown box braids in a crown braid and side fishtail braid
We love that this look combines two of our favourite braids in one, the crown braid and the fishtail. Credit: Instagram.com/naturally_candace

Who says having box braids means you can’t rock those envy-inducing braids we see all over Pinterest? This dreamy side-swept fishtail braid is the stuff of any Pinner’s dreams and looks totally mermaid-worthy. Credit: @naturally_candace

Retro Pompadour

Long box braids hairstyles: side profile photo of a woman with long box braids in a pompadour style
This retro pompadour is poppin’! Credit: Instagram.com/msaliciajames

If vintage hairstyles are your jam, first, us too! and second, the pompadour is surely the ‘do for you. Loved by stars like Janelle Monae and Keke Palmer, this classically androgynous style has had a feminine reincarnation on the red carpet.

As hairstyles for long box braids go, this is the perfect way to dress up your mane for a special occasion or night out. It may take a little practice if you’re a beginner, but we think you’ll agree it’s well worth the effort. Credit: @msaliciajames

Hair Wraps

Long box braids hairstyles: Close up of a woman with dark brown box braids wrapped up in a bun in a black elastic head wrap
What would we do without our trusty headbands? Credit: Instagram.com/_zazzooo

Headbands of all kinds are having a moment right now and this is the best news for girls with long box braids.

Headbands and hair wraps can be used in a variety of different ways like wrapped around a bun as seen here. Once you get one, you’ll honestly wonder what you ever did before! Credit: @_zazzooo

Golden Side Ponytail

Box braids hairstyles: Young black woman with high side ponytail
High side ponytail.

Keep cool while you party by wearing your hair up in a stylish high, side ponytail.

To create this ponytail, try tipping your head upside down, before gathering your hair into a high ponytail that sits on whichever side you want. Flip your head back up, and secure your ponytail with a strong-hold hair band.

Then take 2-3 box braids from the tail of your pony, and wrap them around the base to form a makeshift hairband. And there you have it: a sleek-looking ponytail that will let you boogie all night long!

Half-up Crown

Images of box braids: Young black woman with half-up, half-down knotted crown
Half-up, half-down knotted crown.

Whether you’re rocking a dress or bomber jacket to a party, know that this box braid hairstyle looks good with almost any outfit. Why? Because the combination of the playful plait with the sophisticated, loose, flowing box braids underneath make for a hairdo that’s super versatile, not to mention utterly stunning.

High Bun

hairstyles for box braids: laughing young black woman with box braids in a high bun
High bun with box braids.

Ah, the bun… It’s perfect (and cute!) for keeping your tresses out of your face. And when it comes to creating box braid styles, this ‘do is super easy!

All you need to do is put your braids into a high ponytail and secure with a large hairband. Then, twist it to create your bun, gently wrapping it around itself and using bobby pins to hold it in place. Easy-peasy!

Braided Pompadour

hairstyles for box braids: black and white image of a young black woman with a box braids plaited into an updo
A sophisticated braided updo.

Looking for unusual styles for box braids? Then ladies, meet the braided pompadour!

To create the look, simply gather your box braids into a high ponytail and secure with a hairband. Section your ponytail into 3 equal parts and create 3 braids by weaving each section into a standard plait.

Now create your quiff by taking the farthest braid and pinning it to the opposite side of your head, sweeping it across your hairline and behind your ear. Pin it at the back of your head with bobby pins. Take the middle braid, and secure it snugly behind the first one, before repeating the process with the last braid – and you’re done!

Pin it at the back of your head with bobby pins. Take the middle braid, and secure it snugly behind the first one, before repeating the process with the last braid – and you’re done!

Cool High Ponytail

Styles for box braids: young black woman wearing a shirt with box braids put into a high ponytail
The high ponytail.

No roster of box braid hairstyles would be complete without the high ponytail. And just because this style is a classic, it doesn’t mean it should be overlooked (in fact, this ‘do is the basis of so many hairstyles!).

Easy Half-up Bun

box braid hairstyles: young black woman with box braids in a half-up bun
Top knot for box braids.

Can’t decide whether you want to an updo or to leave your hair down? Well, you don’t have to choose. This half-up, half-down hairstyle lets you have the best of both worlds!

Mini Space Buns

box braid styles: '90s-inspired half-up half-down box braid hairstyle
Looking for a fun and protective ‘do? ’90s-inspired buns!

We love buns at All Things Hair. That’s why we couldn’t miss any opportunity to include another bun-tastic look to our box braid hairstyles rundown.

Head Wrap

box braids: young black woman with box braids wearing a patterned headscraf
Wrap it up with a head scarf.

Looking for an easy way to add a bohemian touch to your hairstyles for box braids? Why not try a headscarf? It’s a really easy way to jazz up box braid hairstyles – and all you have to do is pick out a pretty scarf or piece of fabric to achieve the look.


Box braids gallery: Tia Mowry with box braids to the side
The side swept ‘do. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If having your hair down is your preferred style, but you still want to jazz things up, sweep your braids to the side in a similar way to Tia Mowry. This pretty box braid style is casual, understated, and looks great with any outfit.

Cute Updo

Box braids hairstyles: Keke Palmer with box braids updo hairstyle
The bun. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If having your hair up is more your thing, then styling your box braids in a giant top knot a la Keke Palmer should be right up your street! 

Braided Buns

Pictures of box braids: FKA Twigs double bun box braids hairstyle
Mini buns. Credit: David Fisher for Rex by Shutterstock

This gorgeous ’90s-inspired look is practical, creative, and great for the gym and formal events alike. So, if you’re looking to make a stylish impact with your box braids, consider pairing them with a set of cute space buns!

Purple Box Twists

Hairstyles with box braids: Jade Avia with coloured purple box braids styling box braids to the side
Styling box braids: Add some colour. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Want to make your cute box braids really pop? Then why not try experimenting with some bold hair colours? Go for vibrant highlights, or be brave and rock an all-over dye job, as shown by Jade Avia. 

Low Ponytail

box braids ponytail: woman with pink box braids hairstyle styled into a ponytail
Amp up the romance with this box braids ponytail ‘do! Credit: Instagram.com/bestboxbraids

Kicking things up a notch is this trendsetter, who has turned her mane into a romantic masterpiece by working her box braids ponytail low and with a delicate pink hue! Credit: @bestboxbraids

Undone Ponytail

shot of woman with green ponytail box braids undone, shot in the lift
Loose ponytails are in, too! Credit: Instagram.com/natalyneri

Got a more casual event to attend and don’t need your locks to look pristine? Say no more. Opting for a messy, undone box braids ponytail (just like this Instagrammer has) will make you look like a street style star in no time. Credit: @natalyneri

Accessorised Ponytail

close up shot of woman with low braids in a ponytail, that are accessorised smiling
Get low low low! Credit: Instagram.com//olay.mia

What’s one of the easiest ways to make a standard low ponytail into something super-chic? By adorning it with golden hair accessories, of course! Credit: @olay.mia

Purple Ponytail

shot of woman with purple box braids in a ponytail in a bar
Dinner date? This high ponytail box braids style has got your back! Credit: Instagram.com/graciii3

This sultry yet minimal hairstyle is perfect for days or nights where you want to exude high-fashion vibes (so basically always). Credit: @graciii3

Poetic Justice Braids

shot of woman with box braids in a high ponytail hairstyle smiling
Channel Poetic Justice vibes with this nostalgic ‘do. Credit: Credit: Instagram.com/bestboxbraids

When it comes to high ponytail box braids, take your style cue from Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice and you’ll #slay wherever you go!

To channel ’90s Poetic Justice vibes to a T, you’ll need to gather all your hair up high and use a wrap of your choice to hold it all together. Credit: @bestboxbraids

High Ponytail with Bandana

close up shot of woman with side ponytail box braids hairstyle wearing pink bandana, hoops and dark lipstick
There’s nothing wrong with looking to the ’80s for #braidinspo! Credit: Instagram.com/afrog4l

We never thought we would be happy to see the return of this ’80s hair trend. Whether you opt for a sparkly headband or even a bandana, you’ll have a gorgeously-simple hairstyle that’s ready for anything. Credit: @afrog4l

Side Box Braids

close up shot of woman with braided box braids ponytail hairstyle
Braided braids look like a masterpiece. Credit: Instagram.com/natalyneri

Who needs hair accessories when your hair can be an accessory? After fashioning your box braids in a ponytail, simply braid it for a chic and unique look that’s bound to get everyone talking.

Just imagine how cool this box braid hairstyle would look like with a fancy fishtail plait? Or perhaps a four-strand braid? Credit: @natalyneri

Now that you’ve got out rundown of the hottest styles around, learn how to do box braids on natural hair, here!

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