Craving for a braided look, but not ready to give up on the lob trend just yet? Find out how short box braids styles can give you the best of both worlds (with half of the weight!).
If you’ve been an avid reader of All Things Hair, then you know we’ve got a soft spot for box-braided looks. We love how they can instantly give previously hard-to-manage curls some heft and structure, while providing some feminine length and fullness. That said, we’re also digging how short box braids give you the best of both worlds, especially during the summer: frizz-proof hair in a trendy, low-maintenance and super-cute style.
Creating short box braids hairstyles involves the same process as doing it for longer styles, except the ends are trimmed and sealed at a shorter length, usually around chin-length for a “lobbed” look. (If you want to get box braids on short hair that’s closely cropped in a curly pixie or a Teeny Weeny Afro, a bit more skill is required in securing the root to your extensions.) The braiding process however remains the same down the lengths and ends. Read on to learn more.
How to Create Short Box Braids Styles
1. Wash hair thoroughly beforehand.
Box braids, short or otherwise, are still considered a protective hairstyle and is meant to be kept in for weeks at a time. Ensure that hair is optimally moisturized before you braid your hair by cleansing with a nourishing system. We love the moisture and smoothness we get from Suave Professionals Avocado+Olive Oil Smoothing Shampoo and Suave Professionals Avocado+Olive Oil Smoothing Conditioner. Rinse thoroughly. You can follow up with a moisture mask, such as Suave Professionals Moisture Mask with Almond and Shea Butter, if you need an extra dose of deeper hydration. Rinse your hair and carefully towel-dry.
2. Detangle and blow-dry.
Carefully detangle hair with a comb and some moisturizing spray (we like using Dove Absolute Curls Leave-in Detangler on knots and gnarly spots). Next, blow-dry hair gently until it’s as least 90% dry, to create the best conditions for braiding. You need your hair the cleanest and healthiest it can get at the beginning before jumping into a long-term look such as short box braids.
3. Be patient!
If you’re getting braided at a salon, be prepared as the process can take anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on your natural hair’s thickness. On that note, also make sure to choose hair extensions that match your real hair the best—too thick, and you risk a sparse look; too thin, and you risk ending up with too many braids, which can feel really heavy and uncomfortable.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Even though you’re now rocking a protective look that helps shield hair from damage, remember that synthetic hair, like extensions and weaves, can still be really drying on your real strands. To avoid breakage (particularly during removal), it’s best to keep braids and your scalp well-moisturized and lubricated with a daily leave-in conditioner (we love Dove Absolute Curls Supreme Crème Serum) or a non-greasy yet hardworking hair oil (such as Nexxus Oil Infinite Nourishing Hair Oil).
5. Wash your short box braids every so often.
Women like to wash their braids every three weeks to a month—even sooner for some, if you’re prone to heavy sweating and itching, or did a particularly intense sesh at the gym. Wash as you normally would with a shampoo and conditioner, then follow up with your oil. Drying hair completely is key, else you end up with braids that are mildewy and sour-smelling.
6. And some last-minute tips:
Some find that sleeping on a silk pillowcase or headwrap helps reduce friction and frizz on their braids. It’s not quite as serious with short box braids since they’re much lighter overall, but some can also develop some tension alopecia, or hair loss on their hairline from too-tight braids, especially if they’re fond of putting hair up in elaborate updos and styles that may weigh too heavy. All things considered, have fun with this new look, and get ready to sport your cutest summer ’do yet!