Wash day and the best darn box braid method for natural hair
I didn't take any pictures of my actual hair this last wash day because I wasn't doing anything different and frankly, my arm wasn't ready.
I have gotten to the point where I need to put my hair away before I go bonkers and chop it off.
Box braids have been a craving for months. I have a zillion inspiration pictures on my phone and I finally got around to it on election day. This wash day was to prep for that protective style.
By the way, congrats Nigeria on our new president. I'm so glad we kept the peace most of all.
Wash day was almost a week prior. I kept it simple and short with a 2-in-1 wash and dc with Shea Moisture Purification Masque + a teaspoon of castor oil. I have a fancy new hair towel! But that's another post.
Leave-in was Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner and I sealed with my oil mix (coconut, olive and jojoba now).
Even though box braids are pretty basic I went on YouTube just to see and I learnt a new trick! The key to box braid heaven- to get smoother, longer-lasting box braids on natural hair...
... start with two strand twists.
So three days to box braid day, I co-washed with Africa Naturalistas Moisturising and Detangling Conditioner, let it dry 80% and sealed with the Savvy & Chic Shea buttercup (Go Naija!)
Then did my regular medium-sized two-strand twists.
D-day. I got the extensions ready: Xpression braiding hair, two packs in 99J and one in 33 (because they had run out of 99J at the shop).
|Left: 33- reddish brown Right: 99J- wine|
|Had to "pick" the ends by pulling lightly to get them from a straight across cut to wispy and tapered.|
- Take some hair (amount depends on size of braids desired) loop it over the root of a twist, making sure the ends of the added hair are at the same level; such that you have two pieces of braiding hair with the twist in the middle;
- Braid using the twist as the third leg.
- When the twist starts to thin out, create a new third leg by borrowing hair from the main two, and try to conceal the end of the twist in it.
- Continue till you get to the bottom. You know how sometimes as you braid, one leg thins out before the others? Borrow as needed from the fatter legs as you go down. This even helps to protect the braid from unravelling.
- I finished mine with a two-strand twist at the very tip, but you can also tie it off.
Extra tip- Take this from someone who learnt the hard way: If you don't want hair that is too big/heavy to manage, make it scantier at the back by doing bigger twists there so more hair is used in a single braid = fewer braids at the back. Don't worry the ones in front will cover them completely.
It took me seven hours with breaks to eat, rest, etc; which is not bad at all for a first-time box braider (using extensions) in my opinion. Before now I had only done twists by myself.
I'm in love with this method because:
- I can rock my twists and not have to take them down before braiding.
- I got smooth, even braids without having to blowdry or stretch my loose hair.
- I didn't need to part with a tail comb.
- No worries about breakage when the braiding hair tangled and I had to work through.
- I didn't have to deal with free hair finding its way into a braid halfway down, and then trying to figure out whether to loosen the braid and start again or just cut the stray strands. (don't you hate when that happens!)
- It's like a double protective style.
- You can go in twists to the salon/market, tell them what to do, and not have to worry about them battling with your kinks.
- It looks like it's going to stay smooth for quite a while because it's secure and won't puff up so much when exposed to humidity/water like stretched loose hair does.
- Takedown is going to be a breeze.
I want to be more adventurous with styling this one than I've been in the past with box braids.
I'm thinking of doing different styles and compiling a how-to post on all the styles I do. Yay or nay? Please tell me in the comments. *slobbery kisses*
P.s. if you're new to The Wash Day Experience and want to join, start here. We want to see how you pamper your hair :)