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Sum­mer is almost here and with many of us plan­ning to hit the beach or start swim­ming, own hair box braids are a great style choice for man­ag­ing hair in wet con­di­tions. Here is my guide to get­ting the most from own hair braids.

1. Size mat­ters: larg­er braids or mini braids?
The size of your box braids will deter­mine how long you can keep the style and also how you can style it. Larg­er braids (about 1 square inch at the base) are eas­ier to put in and take down. If your hair is atleast 6 inch­es long, they will last some­where between 2–4 weeks. Mini braids on the oth­er hand are much more time con­sum­ing to put in and take down but the advan­tage they have is that they can be styled quite beau­ti­ful­ly. It is pos­si­ble to do ban­tu knot outs, roller or rod sets, braid outs and twist outs on mini braids. Mini braids can last a lit­tle longer too, usu­al­ly around 3–6 weeks. The braid size you choose should reflect your patience lev­el both for being able to put in and take down the style as well as how patient you gen­er­al­ly are with keep­ing your hair in a pro­tec­tive style. Here is a styling video for those won­der­ing about mini braid ver­sa­til­i­ty.

2. Start with clean stretched hair and use two mir­rors.
It will always be eas­ier to sec­tion and cre­ate parts with stretched hair. At the sim­plest lev­el all you have to do is make large braids (8–10) on fresh­ly washed and con­di­tioned hair. Allow­ing hair to dry in a braid allows it to stretch out. As you advance, you may want to try band­ing, African thread­ing or curl­form­ers as heat­less stretch­ing meth­ods or if your hair is ok with heat then a blow out will work just as well. If you like real­ly clean parts, do use a rat tail comb (met­al ones tend to cre­ate clean­er parts) and two mir­rors to coun­tercheck the straight­ness of your part. Here is a clas­sic how to part and braid video.

3. Pro­tect your edges
The front and back edges of the hair­line are the two most vul­ner­a­ble places for hair loss. If your hair­line is nat­u­ral­ly thin­ner at the­se points, do make an effort to make larg­er braids rather than small­er ones even if you are choos­ing to make mini braids. Some nat­u­rals also find that corn­row­ing the­se areas instead of braid­ing helps to reduce stress on the hair­line. How­ev­er, this is only the case when the corn­rows are not too tight oth­er­wise they have no pro­tec­tive effect.

4. Do wash your hair 
If you like to deep con­di­tion your hair week­ly or sham­poo wash every fort­night, there is no rea­son to change your rou­tine because you are in box braids. It is true that the wash­ing will make the hair fuzzier over time and this may lim­it for some, the length of time that they can keep the style. How­ev­er, stick­ing to your nor­mal rou­tine or adding in addi­tion­al wash­es due to chlo­rine or sea water may over­all be more ben­e­fi­cial to the con­di­tion of your hair

5. Don’t wor­ry about the ends 
If your hair nat­u­ral­ly curls at the end, then fin­ish­ing off your style with a spritz of water and a curling pro­duct or gel may be worth your while. If your hair is not in this cat­e­go­ry, then fin­ish­ing off the box braids with a twist or just leav­ing it alone is fine. You do not need to try to get your ends to clump as this can be unnec­es­sary extra manip­u­la­tion. The hair in box braids will gen­er­al­ly not tan­gle that much at the ends. If you have issues dur­ing take down, you can at that point attempt to roller set the ends with a perm rod, curl­former or hair­pin a la Cipri­ana to stretch out the hair.

Ladies, do you plan to braid your hair this sum­mer?

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19 Comments on "5 Tips For Rocking Braids (Using Your Own Hair) This Summer!"

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natalia

This my go to hair style it helped me reach bsl. I wear my hair in box braids 4 months at a time with­out any prob­lem

sophia

I am so hap­py I found this spot. Boy I braid­ed my hair about two weeks ago and I had to wash I need­ed it so bad. I didn’t know what to do because its nat­u­ral but after read­ing your arti­cle i’m very hap­py to know that one, I can leave the­se in for anoth­er two weeks, and two I can wash it and deep con­di­tion it as well. thank you

Jessica

how long between rebraids? I have a 15 mon­th old and removed her braids all her own hair. when should I be able to braid it again?

Natural Hair Styles 101

I think I’m going to incor­po­rate braid­ed hair­styles into my sum­mer style reg­i­men soon. I have been try­ing to think of a way to “baby” my edges and I am find­ing that corn­row­ing my edges down the side of my head seems to be improv­ing that area! Hope­ful­ly, a sum­mer full of braid­ed hair­styles will be just what I need!

me

I have done this and as some­one already men­tioned your starts mat­ting. When you take them down you must also be VERY patient it won’t hap­pen in a flash.

B-Phlyy

This arti­cle is right on time. I had planned on this as my go to style for the sum­mer and plan on wash­ing and braid­ing tonight.

Tanya

Already rock­ing mini-twists with braid­ed roots. Think­ing about Doing mini-braids over the sum­mer. And btw, that’s pook­i­napp in those videos! I love that lady! She’s my hair twin, lol.

Shaniya H.

I like the way that the­se YTer’s did their real hair box braids–

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2le9rv2iWA

and hers also -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdW0Edzxtio

Azariah

Will this work if you’re in the process of tran­si­tion­ing?

Bobby

As a long term tran­si­tion­er myself, this might not work on hair that has relaxed ends because they will unrav­el. You can roll the ends but you would need to do it every­day.

toofin

The 5 points real­ly make sense, thanks for the help.

TWA4now

I have yet to do braids just mini twist then per­haps wash and gos for the sum­mer or more mini braids…and the beat goes on…

annnsow

I wish I could but… I’ve nev­er been able to make anthing tight in my life T-T

Hyspin

I have braid exten­sions in just over 2 months now since my rate of growth (not my reten­tion) is only quar­ter inch a mon­th, I only half an inch of roots show­ing (it real­ly looks like less than quar­ter of an inch because of the curl), is it pos­si­ble that I could push this style to 4–5 months instead of the 2–3 months? I think it will prob­a­bly take 4 months or so to get long enough to start to mat­te.

Sana

I used to wear my exten­sion for 3 months at a time and I actu­al­ly retained a lot of length. I wet my hair every­day and washed once a mon­th. They were about medi­um size and full. I used wet an wavy human hair which was light so it didn’t pull my hair. I kept it neat by hav­ing the front and side braid­ed every mon­th or as need­ed. It’s doable but like every­thing else you still have to take care of your hair. PS at the time I wasn’t even try to grow my hair. It grew like weeds.

TWA4now

I wouldn’t push it beyond 2 months…do your­self and hair a favor.

Hyspin

I am just curi­ous what are dis­ad­van­tages of keep­ing exten­sions in for that long if my hair is such a slow grow­er? I thought the only dis­ad­van­tage was the dread­ing and that was due to the length hair gets for MOST peo­ple by 2 months.

Valerie

The biggest issue I can think of is mat­ting. Depend­ing on the reg­i­men you have for your braids it needs a “treat­ment” break between pro­tec­tive styles or youll end up with long weak hair

nappy headed black girl

The two mir­ror trick is genius. Don’t know why I nev­er thought of that lol I can’t part to save my life, even with a rat­tail comb.

I’m not rock­ing braids this sum­mer because I’m a dread. But when I was loose I was nev­er a big fan of braids any­way.

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