(Hair)

13 Cute Box Braid Hairstyles To Try This Winter For An Enviable New Look

Warning: It’ll be hard to choose just one.

@lacyredway
Box Braids

Out of all the protective hairstyles out there, box braids — braids named after the square shape in which your hair is sectioned off — are one of the most popular. Not only do they shield the hair from environmental stressors and cut down on maintenance time, but they are incredibly versatile.

Worn up, down, in a top knot, and in a plethora of different colors and lengths, box braids continue to be a go-to. Your stylist will often claim box braids last as long as six weeks, but generally speaking, how long your braids last often depends on how you take care of them. Although box braids are typically installed with extensions, your root hair is still exposed — meaning it will need to be moisturized with an oil to keep it from drying out. Shamicka Williams, a professional hair braider, recommends “sleeping with a good fitted scarf or bonnet to protect braids from friction while you sleep.”

If you’re thinking of getting the style yourself, look no further than the below 13 styles for inspiration, according to three braiding experts. Between the side swoop, classic ponytail, and beaded box braids, there is sure to be a new box braid style for you to try this season.

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Space Buns Box Braids

Space buns are not going anywhere, and they are one of the coolest ways to style box braids. To protect the braids at night, Janelle Fulton, box braids educator recommends “wrapping the top portion of the braids with a silk scarf leaving the ends of the braids exposed. Then tucking the ends by putting it in a loose low bun and putting on a bonnet to keep it from getting frizzy.”

Ponytail Box Braids

“Tie box braids all up into a high ponytail or bun and you are ready for everyday activities like working out with no fear of sweating out your hairstyle,” says master braider Ka’mesha Cathcart. When styling this one, don’t forget to give your baby hairs some TLC with something like Pattern Edge Control and an edge brush.

Side Swoop Box Braids

If you want the sexiness of a side swoop, Fulton suggests dividing the front portion of your hair with your desired side part and placing the remaining hair in a ponytail or leaving loose. For added security, you can bobby pin the swoop to the nape of the neck.

Box Braids With Undercut

Undercuts are a great way to release the scalp of too much heat and weight. Now with an undercut and box braids you can enjoy the versatility and function of both styles in one.

Bob Box Braids

If you’re craving the sleekness of a bob but want the low-maintenance styling of braids, why not go for a bob box braid hairstyle? Choose to wear the bob at an angle or sharp across the collarbone. “The bob is a great alternative for a low maintenance hairstyle without the hassle of dealing with extra long hair,” says Cathcart.

Side Part Box Braids

These medium box braids, the width of a penny to nickel-sized, can last up to eight weeks with the right scalp care. Fulton recommends AmPro Moose for everyday use. “Depending on how you like your braids to look, washing isn’t necessary,” says Williams. However, if you do want to wash every now and then, you can use a dry shampoo or conditioning shampoo and conditioner like Amika’s Hydration Station kit.

Colored Box Braids

Colored box braids allow the color to speak for itself. To maintain: “Apply an all natural oil such as coconut oil, peppermint oil, or castor oil at least twice a week to help moisturize and protect you from a dry and itchy scalp,” says Cathcart. The expert enjoys Mizani Nourishing Oil.

2-In-1 Box Braid

With the union of enlarged bantu knots and box braids, you will no longer have to settle on just one style. And although box braids typically last up to eight weeks, the experts recommend a touch up around the perimeter of the hairline half way through to help preserve the style.

Half Up, Half Down Box Braids

According to Cathcart, splitting the hair in two buns with the rest hanging is a great day-time look that transitions perfectly into the night.

Middle Part Box Braids

For all braids and especially middle parts, Fulton recommends paying attention to your scalp health. “Keep scalp moisturized with a leave-in spray [her top pick: Jamaican Mango & Lime] and add essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, or lemon for added hydration.”

Accessorized Box Braids

By adding a scarf or fun hair scrunchie, the traditional knotless box braids become elevated.

Top Knot Box Braids

Box braids are great but sometimes you just want hair out of your face, or enjoy switching up your hairstyle. To style in a topknot, simply gather hair into a chic top bun and secure it with a ponytail holder and bobby pins to keep in place.

Beaded Box Braids

With box braids there’s no need to pick one thing to accentuate the style. Opt for beads plus color, bangs, and a bob, proving the more the merrier is the way to go.