I’ve been braiding my hair for so long it’s really like second nature to me to do it myself. In fact, I don’t think I go to a salon for much at all anymore. I pretty much do all of my trims and styling. Going to the salon with natural hair has always been for convenience reasons. If I know I won’t have time to do a style or am desperate, I’ll go to the salon. Otherwise, it’s economical and practical to do it myself.
So I thought it would be a good idea to share some hair tips and my process, if you think you might want to save some cash and attempt braiding your own hair. This isn’t a tutorial about how to braid. There are a ton of videos on YouTube for that. But, I want to share tips that I don’t often see covered and let you know exactly what you’ll need for your beauty shopping list, as well as a basic hair budget. If you’re gonna attempt braiding yourself, you’ll need a few things and will need to prep you hair.
- Clarifying Shampoo
- Deep Conditioner
- Hair Clips
- Trimming Shears
- Rat Tail Comb
- Leave In Conditioner
- Heat Protectant
- Hair Moisturizer
- Blow Dryer with comb attachment
Before styling your box braids
Wash, deep condition and blow dry. I opted to do a henna treatment before installing my box braids. The deep conditioning properties of henna greatly reduces my chances of breakage or damage due to protective styling with extensions.
I like to prep my hair with moisture before parting and while I’m braiding, so having a good moisturizer ready is important. It makes the braiding process flow easier, prevents your hair from drying or breakage and keeps your braids looking fresh longer.
How Much Hair Do I Need For Box Braids?
The number of packs of hair you’ll need depends on the length of the style you’re going for. In general, 5-6 packs of jumbo braid hair should cover most styles. However, if you’re looking to do thick braids (dookie braids, poetic justice braids) you’ll need upwards of 10 packs. Also, if you plan on doing super long braids, you’ll need to buy close to 10 packs of 24″ hair, for medium-sized braids. You’ll need more if you plan on making them thicker.
The finer your hair, the less extension hair is needed.
Pricing can range from $2 – $8 per pack depending on where you buy your hair. I prefer to buy from my local beauty supply or online.
What Kind Of Hair Do I Need?
I like to use synthetic, Kanekalon braiding hair for box braids. My favorite brands to use are Jumbo Braid / African Collection by Sensationnel and Outre X-pression Braid. The reason I like these is they are thick, full and the fibers are easy on the fingers as you braid. Kanekalon is the best braiding fiber because the ends can be sealed in boiling water, you can brush out tangles without snapping the hair and it will bend with heat. Meaning, not only can you seal your ends, but you can also curl your ends with boiling water and curling rods to amp up your styles.
How Long Can I Keep Them In?
I recommend not keeping your box braids in for more than 6-8 weeks. 8 weeks is the max for me. I know some people opt for less time, but I like to keep my box braids in for as long as I can with regular maintenance.
My Personal Box Braid Tips
- Keep an extra pack of hair on hand for touch ups to your edges and anywhere where you see the need to replace a braid or two.
- Don’t braid too tightly. The goal is to keep your edges people. So it’s ok to not have snatched edges when it comes to box braids. You can always opt for an edge control gel, hair gel or oils to keep your borders looking fresh.
- For a softer finish, braid all the way down to the ends and seal with the boiling water method.
- For a more permanent finish, you can use a lighter to seal your ends with a quick pass through the flame and by rolling the braid between your finger tips. You’ll want to focus on the last 3-4 inches of your braids. For shorter braid styles, just make sure you aren’t passing flame along any area that includes your actual hair. Human hair is flammable people!
Well, I hope these tips have inspired you and will help you to be more confident about braiding your hair. As always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy to leave them in the comment section.