21 simple ways to spice up long box braids

Beth | 08 April 2019
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Lacking styling inspiration for your long box braids? We’ve got you sorted!

Long box braids are a popular protective hairstyle for natural hair in which the hair is boxed off into squares and individually braided, with real or synthetic hair woven in to add extra length.

Once installed, they’re incredibly low maintenance and with good care, they can last between 1-2 months. However, once you’ve had your hair braided, you’ll probably be wondering what you can do to change up your look from day to day, right?

So, whether you’re a long-term box braid wearer looking to jazz up your mane or you’re new to the world of long box braids hairstyles and need some style advice, there are plenty of cute and creative ways to wear them — and the proof is in our inspiration gallery.

1. 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.

VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel

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.

2. 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?

3. 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.

TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist

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!

4. 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!

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Pigtails

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

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. Side braided 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

13. 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

14. 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_

15. 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

16. 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

Love Beauty And Planet Happy & Hydrated Gentle Cleansing Conditioner

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.

17. Curly 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

18. Mohawk

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

19. 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

20. 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

21. 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