What’s in My Hair Today: Vacation Box Braids

The perfect style for a packed itinerary!

With the rise of braided hairstyles, it’s hard for one to resist trying their hand at this style — even if they were never really personally into it. From cornrows to box braids of all sizes, these beautiful braided hairstyles are more than just protective hairstyles. They are a stylish expression of oneself and an ode to the culture. To to get ready for my most recent vacay, I decided to try box braids on my hair. For this edition of What’s in My Hair, I’m highlighting a hairstyle that I recently tried. Read on to learn about my experience with what I call vacation braids.

For my most recent vacation, there was absolutely no way I was able to just wear my hairstyle in its curly state. For one, the occasion called for tons of travel each day, leaving me with little-to-no time to worry about my hair. You’re probably wondering why should one worry about their hair while on vacation? Well, if you’re all about serving the best looks from hair-to-toe no matter where you are in the world, you’ll definitely catch my drift.

Out of all the braided styles that I could have chosen for this vacation, I decided that box braids were the right fit. The style still gave me the flexibility of alternating styles based on my ensemble and the best part, I was able to do my hair on the go! I have not worn braids in my hair since I was a teen so I was up for a challenge. Where do I go? What inspiration pictures should I bring? How long am I going to keep them in considering the cost? Unless you have the hookup, getting braids installed into your hair can run you anywhere from $100-$200.

vacation box braids close up
Close-up of how the copper was blended in with the black extensions. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Francois

The Process

My mother suggested I go to the woman that does her braids. I have to be honest: I was a bit skeptical at first but I did trust her. I met with Gwen, lead stylist and owner of @KeshNaturalHair and told her exactly what I wanted. For the uninitiated, box braids can take hours but Gwen is like an express braiding machine. To create my style, we used about six packs of Kanekalon braiding hair ($1.50 per pack) in black and some that blended with my copper highlights. I expressed that I didn’t want my braids to look like I had a patch of highlights here and there so Gwen made sure she mixed enough black extensions with the copper to give a more natural effect.

vacation box braids with accessories
To jazz my braids up, I added accessories. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Francois

The Final Result!

I was pleased with the results and loved the way my hair turned out. My braids didn’t feel heavy which I was really concerned about, let alone having the weight tug at my hairline. When it came to maintaining my hair at night, before sleeping on a silk pillowcase, I applied a few drops of The Good Stuff Frizz Control Oil to my hair to add shine to the extensions and to protect my natural hair braided in between.

Many people believe that with protective styles, you don’t have to do anything to your hair. Sorry ladies, you do. If you’re leaving the look in long-term, you should consider washing your hair to keep your scalp clean. I would definitely get my hair braided again! It was so easy to maintain and I felt like I did get a vacation from doing my hair on a daily basis.

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