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DIY STYLE

Summer Protective Hairstyle: Box Braids

summer-protective-styleI’ve been jonesing for box braids since before summer.

Small-medium long braids are my favorite, worn either half up or in a towering, massive bun. Box braids are a great low maintenance, non-fussy hairstyle to wear anytime, but they’re the perfect summer protective hairstyle, especially in extreme desert and humid climates.

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A week or so after returning from my Las Vegas trip, I decided to try my hand at installing box braids. I had never attempted to braid my own hair; I usually go to a hairstylist or ask my cousin to do them. But I’m serious about this DIY lifestyle, so I decided to try doing them myself after watching some box braid tutorials on YouTube. 

These box braid tutorials helped me along the process:

Even though I had zero braiding experience, I’m related to several talented hairstylists and braiders, so the capacity to braid is somewhere in my genes. Empowered by that and Youtube, I went to the beauty supply store and bought a few packs of 1B Rast Afri hair to practice with.

Fun fact: I purchased my braiding hair from Trina’s Beauty Supply, a black owned business located in the mid-city area of Los Angeles. I make the effort to shop there for hair and beauty first, whenever possible. Rast Afri hair is also available Amazon. 

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I soaked the hair in apple cider vinegar and water and let it air dry overnight before putting the braids in. After the first row I found that my instinct was right – I can braid! 

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I’m no professional and they didn’t come out perfect, but I felt good about the results. I didn’t experience any scalp pain, the braids weren’t too tight, and didn’t experience any shedding when I took them out. I wore them for about three weeks. 

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After taking a first attempt, I feel confident braiding my own hair again. Sure, it’s faster to let someone else braid my hair but if I can do it myself, why not? With practice I’ll be able to create cleaner parts and tighter roots. I can’t wait to try this again later this summer with Senegalese twists.

Have you ever worn box braids? Have you/would you try installing them yourself? Share in the comments!
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