How to Preserve Box Braids Between Uses Through Smart Drying and Wrapping

Box braids are a popular protective hairstyle for black women. The braids allow you to give your natural hair a break from daily styling and manipulation. However, box braids can be time consuming and expensive to install. You want your beautiful box braids to last as long as possible in between taking them down and redoing them. Proper drying and wrapping techniques are key for preserving box braids between uses. Follow these tips to extend the life of your box braids.

Wash and Deep Condition Braids Before Installation

Before getting box braids put in, make sure to properly wash and deep condition your natural hair. Thoroughly shampoo your strands to remove any dirt, oil, or product buildup. Use a moisturizing shampoo to avoid stripping your hair. Then apply a hydrating hair mask or deep conditioner. Ensure it penetrates each strand. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes with a plastic cap over your head to trap in heat. Rinsing out the deep conditioner will leave your hair soft and nourished before braiding. Taking this preparatory step allows your natural hair to be clean and hydrated underneath the box braids.

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Air Dry Braids Naturally When Possible

After washing your box braids, avoid using heat from blow dryers or hooded dryers to dry them. The intense direct heat can lead to excessive drying and damage both the extensions and your natural hair. Allow your braids to air dry naturally when you have time. It may take several hours for the braids to completely dry, but natural air drying avoids heat damage. Sit in front of a fan on the cool setting to speed up the drying time if needed. Just be patient and let your braids gradually dry without applying additional heat. Your natural hair will thank you.

Blot Braids Gently with a Microfiber Towel

When your braids are sopping wet from washing, use a microfiber towel to gently blot and soak up excess moisture. Avoid vigorously rubbing the braids with the towel. This can cause frizz and tangling. Instead, lightly press the towel against the braids to absorb the water. Wrap the microfiber towel loosely around your head if needed to catch any drips. But don't apply too much pressure or friction that can pull on the braids and lead to damage. The soft microfiber material also causes less disruption than a regular cotton towel.

Diffuse Braids on Low Heat If Rush Drying

If you are in a time crunch and need to speed up the drying process, use a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer. A diffuser distributes heat more evenly and gently. Make sure to keep the blow dryer on a low heat setting. Position the diffuser several inches away from your braids and move it around to evenly dry the hair. Avoid keeping the blow dryer in one spot for too long. The lower heat setting and diffusing motion prevents concentrated high heat on any part of the braids. This helps minimize damage to the natural hair. Diffuse braids for as long as it takes to get them completely dry.

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Loosely Wrap Braids in a Satin Bonnet or Scarf

To protect your braids overnight, loosely bundle them up and cover with a satin bonnet or scarf. Avoid using cotton pillowcases which can suck moisture out of the hair and cause frizz. Satin or silk materials keep moisture locked in. Wrap the satin gently around your braids without pulling too tight. You want the hair to rest freely and comfortably to avoid breakage. Tie the bonnet or scarf with a loose knot or bow. In the morning take it off carefully without tugging on the braids. Proper wrapping preserves the style and reduces friction overnight.

Install Braided Wigs Over Box Braids for Protection

If you want to protect your box braids for an extended time, consider installing a braided wig over your braids. Braided wigs like those styles cover the braids entirely so you do not have to manipulate or restyle the braids at all. The wig cap anchors securely over your box braids, keeping them tucked away safely. This allows you to get multiple weeks of wear out of your braids without having to redo them. Just make sure to take the braided wig off carefully by unfastening the combs or bands. Avoid pulling on the braids when putting on and taking off the wig.

Tie Scarves, Headwraps, and Turbans Around Braids

When heading outdoors or to bed, wrap your box braids up in scarves, headwraps, and turbans. These accessories add a protective layer over the braids so they are not exposed to harsh weather elements or friction against pillows. Tie the fabrics snugly but not too tight. Make sure it is loose enough so there is no pulling or stress on the braids. Silk and satin materials are best as they are smooth against the braids. Have fun playing with different prints and styles! These accessories protect your braids while also looking trendy.

Sleep on Satin Pillowcases for Less Friction

Take the satin bonnet off before bed and lay your head on a satin pillowcase. The slippery satin surface prevents friction against the braids that could cause frizz, tangles, and breakage overnight. Satin creates less abrasion compared to cotton when you shift positions during sleep. Keep satin pillowcases on your bed at all times when wearing box braids. You can also use a satin hair wrap, scarf, or durag in place of the bonnet for sleeping. Keeping braids against satin minimizes friction damage.

Avoid Too Much Sweating and Moisture Buildup

Excessive sweating and moisture can lead your box braids to develop an undesirable musty odor and look frizzy. After working out or getting caught in the rain, thoroughly dry your braids with a microfiber towel and let them air dry fully. Consider wearing your hair up more often if you are prone to heavy sweating around your scalp and edges. The moisture retention in box braids can make your hair quite damp. Proactively keep braids dry to avoid moisture damage and mildew issues.

Re-Moisturize and Seal Braids as Needed

Even though minimizing moisture is key, your box braids still need hydration. Regularly re-moisturize your braids by spraying a water-based leave-in conditioner or braid spray. Apply to the length of the braids as well as your natural hair at the scalp. Then seal in the moisture with an oil like argan, coconut, or castor oil. Massage the oil gently at your roots. This nourishes the natural hair and replenishes any dryness in the box braids. Target hydrating as needed every several days or weekly.

Style Braids in Updos, Buns, and Ponytails

Change up how you style your box braids between washes. Wearing braids down all the time causes strain on your edges. Pull your hair up into buns, ponytails, and updos to give your edges a break. Try styles like top knots, boho braids, and messy buns. Use soft hair ties without metal when gathering braids together to avoid breakage. Change the parting location as well. Keeping braids secured up in different ways reduces tension on your hairline. This preserves braids and promotes healthy growth.

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Following these tips on drying, protecting, and styling box braids in between installs will help maximize their longevity. Handling your braids gently and keeping them moisturized prevents premature frizzing, tangling, and damage. Use smart strategies like satin wraps, braided wigs, and updo styling. Your beautiful braids will last over 6-8 weeks with proper care between uses. Say goodbye to constant redoing of box braids!

uBraids is a brand under the JALIZA Wig Store that specializes in creating braided wigs. As one of the brands offered on the JALIZA platform, uBraids aims to provide black women with high-quality braided wig options including small box braids. The brand understands consumers' desire for versatile hairstyles and works to develop products that meet evolving styling needs.

All uBraids products are carefully crafted with an emphasis on quality and durability. A wide selection of braided wig styles are available, including various braiding techniques, lengths, and color options. The brand is committed to incorporating user feedback to continuously enhance its designs. uBraids strives to offer wig solutions that empower self-expression and allow consumers to confidently rock their favorite looks.

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