These Celebrities Have A Box Braids Idea For Every Length & Aesthetic

Why not try them all?

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Gabrielle Union box braid updo

When it comes to protective hairstyles, box braids might just be the most popular — there’s a reason why the look is so consistent across the decades. Wildly versatile and undoubtedly glamorous, the look lends itself to a wide variety of colors, lengths, textures, and braiding styles. Go classic with neatly-defined squares — so fresh for summer — or take a more relaxed approach with a knotless set spread evenly over mapped-out quadrants. No matter your personal style, though, there’s a celebrity box braid idea out there that’s sure to suit it.

Part of the appeal of box braids is both its protective nature and how many different ways they can be styled. You could take a page out of Keke Palmer or Zendaya’s book and go for a big, glossy set of jumbo plaits, or you could keep it beachy and demure by playing with curly ends, á la Tessa Thompson. The braids lend themselves well to bright, bold colors — like Regina King’s regal purple set — as well as delicate yet eye-grabbing accessories, like the sort always seen on Issa Rae.

Just below, get inspired for the season ahead by exploring this selection of A-list-approved box braids.

Keke Palmer

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One of the most fun directions you can take with braids is extreme length — that’s the beauty of feed-ins. For a film premiere, Palmer decided to go all-in with drama with an extra-long set of jumbo box braids that nearly fall to her knees.

Tia Mowry


On the opposite end of the spectrum, a short take on the look is just as striking. Mowry opted for a classic bob with her traditional box braids, skimming her shoulders for a dynamic, highly versatile look.

Gabrielle Union

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Part updo, part free-flowing look, one of Union’s coolest-ever looks is undoubtedly this hybrid bun, which gathers her long, glossy box braids up into a sleek topknot. For added movement and shape, she left two plaits loose on each side of her face — a little nod to a beloved Y2K style.

Lupita Nyong’o

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Nyong’o beauty choices are so consistently artistic, and her take on box braids is the finest example. There’s so much going on with this look — the classic plaits on top tossed to the left in a deep side-part, the edgy undercut, the large twisted braid created using multiple smaller pieces, and the smattering of silver hair cuffs down its length.


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Jumbo box braids always make a statement — why else would Zendaya turn to the look for so many major red carpet moments? Hers are especially thick and shiny, with laser-precise parts and immaculate edges.

Regina King

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King is one of the most beloved beauty icons of her generation, so of course she’s played around with box braids several times over her career. That said, her arriving to speak on a panel with a half-up set of purple plaits still blew fans minds, and it remains one of the coolest hair moments of all time.

Tessa Thompson


Beautifully blending textures, Thompson’s box braids start strong and thick before blooming into loose French curls from her shoulders down. It’s a style that’s at once sleek and effortless, the perfect combination of two beloved looks.

Michelle Obama

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There was no ignoring the unreal beauty moments Obama pulled out for every single stop on her book tour through winter 2022. She loved her braids so much, she kept them in for a special event at the American Symphony, pulling a portion of them up into a voluminous half-ponytail.

Issa Rae

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A preeminent naturalista, Rae’s protective hairstyles are always unmatched — and full of hidden details, too. Not only is her box braid ponytail so long and full of sunny blonde highlights, but she’s wrapped bits of delicate copper wire around some of them for a glistening metallic touch.



Knotless braids simply don’t come better than Beyoncé’s honey blonde set. Evenly spacing the plaits without creating ultra-defined squares, she manages to make the intricate style — which undoubtedly took hours to weave — look downright casual.