How Long Do Box Braids Last? Maintenance Tips

Explore the cost and different ways to maintain these traditional beautiful braids.

Written by , MSc Manjari Uppal MSc linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Comparative Literature) Vaishali Sinha MA (Comparative Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years

If you are thinking about getting those gorgeous box braids, you have come to the right place. Traditionally, they involve wrapping extension hair around the base of your natural hair and securing it with a knot at the scalp to create a sleek and structured look. While these waist-grazing braids may seem like the hair makeover you might need, you must understand the benefits and the different factors that may ultimately determine how long your box braids may last. So, without further ado, check out this article to understand how to make these gorgeous braids last long while looking your absolute best. Read on.

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • Do a scalp or protein treatment on unwashed hair before your braiding appointment to keep your braids healthy and nourished.
  • Go with 5 – 12 hours in hand to give your stylist enough time to install your braids correctly.
  • Use a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to protect your braids from frizz and breakage while sleeping.
  • Use a microfiber towel to drain the extra water after washing your braids to avoid weighing them down.

How Long Do Box Braids Last?

The longevity of box braids depends on several factors such as your hair type, maintenance routine, and the skill of your stylist. On average, traditional box braids can last anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks, while the more modern knotless braids tend to last between 6 to 8 weeks. But just like other protective styles like cornrows or crochet braids, leaving box braids in for an extended period can affect the scalp’s ability to breathe. That is why many stylists suggest not extending beyond 8 weeks as it can cause natural oils and dead skin cells to accumulate on the scalp. However, regularly moisturizing the scalp and braids, avoiding excessive manipulation, and getting touch-ups frequently can help prolong their duration.

Rayaan, a YouTuber, shared her experience of getting knotless box braids and how she made them last for a month in her video. She said, “My braids are in for almost a full month as you can see here. I have refreshed it every past three or four days and I haven’t refreshed it every single day (i). ”

Understanding the factors that influence the longevity of your box braids is a key determinant in the decision-making process. Find out what they are in the section below.

Factors That Affect The Longevity Of Box Braids

A happy woman with box braids
Image: IStock

Some of the factors that may affect the longevity of your braids include:

1. Hair Type – Your hair type significantly influences the longevity of your box braids. Your natural hair is stronger and more resilient, which may have a firmer grip and is less prone to unraveling or slipping compared to chemically treated hair. Additionally, the texture of your hair can affect how well the braids stay intact.

2. New Growth – The rate of new hair growth also directly influences the durability of box braids. If your hair grows at a quick rate, your braids will grow out faster, leading you to re-do them more often. However, those with a slower hair growth rate may need more time for the braids to grow out and may require less frequent touch-ups.

It is important to note that as your natural hair grows, it creates tension at the roots, potentially causing discomfort and premature loosening or even hair breakage. Therefore, the longevity of your box braids may vary depending on how quickly your hair grows and how well you manage new growth.

3. Braid Size – The size of the braids plays a significant role in determining their lifespan. Smaller braids tend to last longer as they have a tighter hold and are less prone to unraveling compared to larger braids. Micro box braids or thin braids can last longer due to their smaller parting section that provides better access to the scalp, which can help maintain the braids’ health.

4. Frizz – This is a common concern that can impact the braids’ longevity. Factors such as the type of hair extensions used and the technique employed during braiding can all contribute to frizz. Therefore, moisturizing the braids frequently can help minimize frizz and extend their lifespan.

5. Tight Vs. Loose – The tension applied during braiding plays a crucial role in determining how long box braids last. While tight braids may initially appear neater and last longer, they can also cause discomfort on the scalp, potentially leading to breakage and hair loss. On the other hand, loose braids may be more comfortable but are prone to unraveling sooner. That is why finding the right balance is essential for maximizing the longevity of your box braids.

Additionally, other factors such as the quality of hair extensions, the expertise of the stylist, and your hair care routine all contribute to the overall durability of box braids. Understanding these factors will allow you to implement effective maintenance habits that can help preserve the health of your scalp and hair. Check out the next section to know what they are.

Maintenance Tips For Box Braids

Box braids can last anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks. Here are some simple tips that can help your braids last longer:

1. Moisturize Your Hair

You can moisturize your box braids with the following products to keep them nourished and healthy:

  • Hot Hair Oils
    You can heat up a mixture of grapeseed oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and castor oil. Apply it to your hair and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing it off with a shampoo. Doing this weekly will ensure your box braids stay hydrated.
  • Braid Sprays
    Opt for a braid spray to add moisture and extra shine to your braids, reduce itchiness, and offer a pleasant fragrance. These sprays can be used on both natural and synthetic hair, providing essential conditioning for your scalp and braids.
  • Water
    Opt for a braid spray to add moisture and extra shine to your braids, reduce itchiness, and offer a pleasant fragrance. These sprays can be used on both natural and synthetic hair, providing essential conditioning for your scalp and braids.
  • Leave-In Conditioner
    Opt for a braid spray to add moisture and extra shine to your braids, reduce itchiness, and offer a pleasant fragrance. These sprays can be used on both natural and synthetic hair, providing essential conditioning for your scalp and braids.

2. Wash Your Hair Frequently

A woman washing her hair
Image: Shutterstock

Washing your braids every two weeks can help remove product buildup, cleanse the scalp, and eliminate bacteria, which can prolong the life of your braids and improve your scalp health. Learning the proper technique for washing your box braids can help preserve their integrity and prevent dryness and itchiness.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you are short on time, you can also opt for a hydrating dry shampoo to add moisture to the scalp and prevent dryness and itchiness.

3. Follow A Night Hair Care Routine

Practicing a proper nightcare routine will reduce friction and maintain their health. Spray your hair with a leave-in conditioner or massage the ends with oil to keep your hair moisturized.

4. Get Frequent Touch-Ups

Regular touch-ups can help maintain the appearance of your braids as new hair grows. Focusing on the hairline and addressing areas where braids may have loosened can avoid the need for a full redo and keep your braids looking neat and fresh for a long time.

5. Use An Anti-Itch Oil

Applying an anti-itch oil to your scalp every few days can help alleviate itching, soothe scalp irritation, and avoid damaging your braids. Ensure you use a cotton ball to coat the scalp without saturating the braids as excessive oil may lead to buildup and weigh down the hair.

6. Avoid Overstyling Your Hair

The desire to style your box braids in different styles every day is undeniable. However, overstyling them can lead to loose braids and potential hair loss. Therefore, avoid doing this to minimize tension and preserve your braids.

7. Trim Flyaways

Doing this will ensure your braids look fresh, help you distinguish between your natural and synthetic hair to avoid, and enhance their overall appearance and longevity.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Wrap a towel dipped in hot water around the edges to help relieve the pain you may experience after installing your box braids.

Understanding and implementing effective maintenance tips is essential to the longevity and health of your box braids. But before you finalize your decision, you must also take the cost and the factors that influence it into account. Find out more about it below.

How Much Do Box Braids Cost?

The cost depends on various factors such as the salon’s location, the stylist’s expertise, braid size, hair length, and the type of box braid extensions used. You can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $300 or more for box braids. Salons located in metropolitan areas or highly skilled stylists may charge more. Factors such as the intricacy of the braiding pattern, the length and thickness of your natural hair, and the desired length of the braids can also influence the final cost. Additionally, if you opt for specialty braiding techniques or premium-quality hair extensions, expect the price to be on the higher end of the spectrum. Therefore, talk to your stylist about your needs and get the budget to ensure there are no surprises.

Box braids are a great way to up your style quotient and boost your confidence. However, these gorgeous braids require a long-term commitment to ensure their longevity and health. Taking factors such as your hair type and braid size into consideration can help you implement effective maintenance practices. Regularly moisturizing your braids and getting frequent touch-ups will prolong their lifespan while keeping them looking fresh and healthy. So, whether you opt for micro box braids or jumbo braids adhering to these habits will allow you to rock your stylish look with confidence and flair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long before I can swim with my box braids?

It is recommended to wait at least 2 weeks before swimming with box braids to allow them to settle and minimize the risk of unraveling or damage due to prolonged water exposure.

How long do small and large box braids last?

Small box braids can last up to 6-8 weeks or even longer with proper maintenance. On the other hand, large box braids may last between 4-6 weeks before getting redone or removed due to increased weight and tension on the scalp.

How long does the pain last after getting box braids?

Pain or discomfort after getting box braids can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as individual pain tolerance, braid tension, and the technique used by the stylist. Generally, any discomfort or soreness should subside within a few days as your scalp adjusts to the braids. If the pain persists or becomes severe, consult your stylist to ensure proper adjustment or removal of the braids to prevent any potential damage to your scalp and hair.

Is it possible to wash box braids without causing frizz or damage?

Yes, it is possible to wash box braids without causing frizz or damage by diluting the shampoo with water, applying it to your scalp, and gently massaging it in a downward motion to avoid frizziness and disturbing the braids.

Key Takeaways

  • Factors such as the braid size, hair type, and maintenance routine influence the longevity of your box braids.
  • Moisturizing regularly, washing your hair with care, and using an anti-itch oil can help nourish your braids and prevent flakiness and dryness.
  • The stylist’s expertise, the salon’s location, and the braid size and length will determine the final cost.

Box braids are an excellent way of getting that much-awaited hair revamp. However, it requires a lot of commitment to ensure they last as long as possible. Watch this informative video for the secrets to rocking your box braids with confidence.

Personal Experience: Source

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Manjari Uppal

Manjari Uppal Beauty & Lifestyle Writer

Manjari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over three years of experience in writing across different niches, including beauty, health, wellness, and technology. She first discovered her passion for writing in school and has since honed her craft to perfection. During her post-graduation at Manipal University, Manjari delved deeper into her writing expertise while researching for her thesis. full bio

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