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FEATURES Jul 9 2014 9:08AM

Thinking About Getting Box Braids? 7 Need-To-Know Tips

Box braids. Janet Jackson first made us covet them when she sported the hairstyle in the classic film Poetic Justice back in 1993, and after a couple of years, the hairstyle is now off hiatus and won’t go away.
We know celebrities like Brandy and Solange have been doing braids even when it wasn’t  the coolest style. But in the last year especially, we’ve seen them adorned by celebs like Christina Milan, Jada Pinkett Smith and Keri Hilson—all who are not the usual suspects when it comes to rocking braids. Proving for us everyday women that the box braid bandwagon has changed from a more eclectic bohemian look to now become the new norm.
Both powerful and bold, box-braids styles not only give you freedom to give your hair a rest, but are quite easy to maintain. Before actually getting your hair braided up, here are 7 tips to keep in mind when considering going for the box-braid style:
1. Not Too Thin
Make sure that your braids are at least 2 inches thick, and that they're braided loosely to achieve a full look. Besides, braids that are too thin take forever to take out.
2. Not Too Tight
The point of getting braids is to let your hair rest, and possibly grow. Getting your braids put in too tight can cause breakage. General rule of thumb: If you see small white bumps around your braids, ask your stylist to loosen, those bumps are signs of hair follicles being pulled at its root.
3. The Longer The Better
Make your braids reach to at least waist length. The longer your braids are the more versatile styling options you will have.
4. Loose Ends Only
Keep a few inches at the bottom of your braids loose. Never burn the ends of your braids, instead dip the ends in hot water to secure that they don’t unravel. Use quality hair that doesn’t frizz on the ends as your braids get older.
5. Embrace The Knot
A fat, dime-size knot at the top of your braid is an essential part in the look of the box braid, make sure stylist doesn’t minimize the knot.

6. Unkempt Is OK
The box-braid style is all about freedom, and effortless freedom at that, so don't fret when this low-maintenance hairstyle grows out. For even longer wear, have edges redone every 4 weeks for a fresh look.
7. Have Fun With It
Rocking your braids is all about freedom of expression, so when you're finally braided up, check out YouTube tutorials and play around with versatile styles that complement your face and personality.


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