Box braids are the ultimate classic braid style and the most popular form of braided hairstyles. Box braids offer protective styling, versatility, growth and convenience benefits. They can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion, from casual to formal settings. This is why so many people love them.
Though box braids are time-consuming initially, the results are well worth it. With patience and the right materials, box braids are straightforward to make.
Part hair using horizontal and vertical lines to create the signature box look. Tools like precision combs, braiding gel, and clips can help you achieve clean parts. While box braids traditionally use braiding hair extensions, they can also be done with natural hair, Marley hair, kinky hair, or yarn. Extensions come in a rainbow of colors to match your style. Depending on the hair type, you can seal ends by dipping in hot water, using rubber bands, or burning them.
Beyond their versatility, box braids offer cost-effective, low-maintenance styling that lasts 1-8 weeks. Proper prep and care protects your natural hair.
Box braids give you total creative freedom to customize a look unique to you. Whether you’re a big fan of braids or trying braids for the first time, this guide explores everything you need to know before getting box braids. Let’s explore 50 different ways you can style box braids!
1. Medium Box Braids
Medium box braids are the ideal size for people who want something between large and small braids. Using medium-sized sections of braiding hair, section the natural hair into box shapes and braid each one. Medium box braids offer versatility in styling and color options. They can be styled in many ways and work with any braiding hair color. Their middle-ground size perfectly balances the look of big, bold braids and the understated elegance of small, micro styles.
2. Jumbo Box Braids
Jumbo box braids are a bold, eye-catching style perfect for those who love making a statement. To create them, the hair is sectioned into large, box-shaped parts then each one is braided using equally large pieces of braiding hair. Maintaining the thickness from root to tip often requires feeding in more hair as the braid progresses. Using braiding gel helps maintain a firm grip on the sizable sections of hair when installing jumbo braids. The finished look is dramatically voluminous.
3. Small Box Braids
Small box braids are scaled-down versions of the classic box braid style. To create them, small sections of hair are boxed off and then braided using small pieces of braiding hair. Installing small braids takes more time, as there are more sections to work with than larger braid styles. It can take 4-8 hours or more to complete smaller box braids, depending on the number of braiders involved. The tiny size means small box braids last longer and are easier to maintain than larger braids. Their delicate, understated look is perfect for those who prefer more subtle styles. Small box braids allow for versatility and intricate designs given the number of tiny braids that can be created.
4. Bohemian Box Braids
Bohemian box braids combine traditional box braids with curly hair extensions for a free-spirited, carefree look. To create them, the hair is sectioned and braided into individual box braids. Then, curly pieces are incorporated in one of two ways. The first method feeds the curls into the braid while it is being installed. This works best with real human hair. The second uses a crochet pin to attach synthetic or fiber curly extensions to finished braids. Crocheting saves time compared to braiding the curls in. Either way, the final look blends neat, orderly box braids with unstructured, messy curls. If you like the bohemian vibe, check out these other bohemian braided hairstyles.
5. Curly Box Braids
Curly box braids begin with traditional box braids that are curled after installation. The braiding technique sections the hair into boxes then braids each one from root to tip. Once the braids are complete, they can be curled starting at any point along the length. For example, curls may begin high up for tight ringlets or lower down for looser waves. The curls can be customized from tight spirals to loose, bouncy coils. This versatility allows for unique looks, like blending tight curls on the ends with straight roots. Curly box braids combine the structured appeal of geometric box braids with beautiful, bouncy curls.
6. Box Braids With Curly Ends
For a fun twist on classic straight box braids, curl the ends to add shape and movement. First install the desired box braids length, securing with a knot at the tips. Next, wrap the loose ends around flexi rods or curling rollers, dip in water and dry. Unraveling the hair reveals beautiful curly ends. Pre-made curly hair pieces can also be attached if preferred over manually curling each braid. The fusion of straight box braid roots and bouncy ringlets creates visual interest. Box braids with curly ends offer the best of both worlds – structure up top and carefree curls below.
7. Box Braids With Beads
Beads can elevate any hairstyle, including box braids. After installing and dipping the braids in hot water, beads are fastened at the ends. Beads come in diverse shapes, sizes and colors. To decorate box braids, simply match the bead size to the braid thickness and secure with tiny elastic bands. You can get creative, mixing and matching varied bead styles and colors on a single look. The possibilities are endless for customizing box braids with beads.
8. Short Box Braids
For those who find long braids difficult to maintain, short box braids offer convenience. To create them, small box sections are made and braided, stopping at shoulder length or above. Getting unstretched braiding hair allows customization of the perfect short length while minimizing waste. The only downside to short box braids is limited styling versatility. However, they last long and look undeniably cute. The petite size and carefree length is perfect for busy lives. Short box braids are a fuss-free protective style that still makes a statement.
9. Colored Box Braids
Box braids allow for creative expression through hair color. They can be installed using braiding hair extensions in any color, from dark shades to warm tones to bright pops of color. Braiding hair extensions come in a wide range of colors, there is definitely a look for everyone. To get the most seamless results, choose a stylist skilled at tucking natural hair under colored extensions. This helps blend the roots for an ombré or solid color from root to tip. Draw inspiration for your new colored box braids with these blue, red, white, gray, green, or ombre-colored braids styles.
10. Medium Knotless Box Braids
Medium knotless box braids begin by sectioning the hair into medium-sized boxes. The braiding technique feeds in extensions to gradually increase the braid size to a medium thickness, without knotting or securing at the base. This creates less tension on the scalp than traditional knot braids. The finished look is medium-sized braids with a seamless transition between natural hair and added extensions. The knotless braiding technique allows for a comfortable, customizable medium braid style.
11. Crochet Box Braids
Crochet box braids involve installing pre-made crochet hair extensions on the natural hair. To achieve the box braid effect, the natural hair is sectioned and braided into boxes first. Then crochet box braids can be installed one by one. Many brands are available that sell crochet box braid extensions that also come in different box braid styles. You can also DIY by braiding bulk hair into individual box braids with loops for crocheting. Either way, crochet box braids deliver the same versatile styling as classic box braids in less installation time.
12. Jumbo Knotless Box Braids
Jumbo knotless box braids offer an easy, fuss-free braided style. The process starts by sectioning the hair into large boxes. Then each section is braided without securing knots at the base. Using braiding gel to slick down the roots helps keep the ample hair smoothly in place during braiding. The finished look are big knotless braids that can be styled in countless ways. Accessories can also be worked in to dress up the braids. Jumbo knotless box braids deliver maximum volume with minimum effort.
13. Box Braids and Cornrows
Blending cornrows and box braids creates a practical and eye-catching braided style. It starts by sectioning a horizontal part at the top, near the hairline. This top section is braided into neat cornrows close to the scalp. Designs or patterns can optionally be worked into the cornrows. The remaining hair is then divided into box sections and braided into box braids. The combo keeps hair pulled back from the face while allowing self-expression through the cornrow designs. Box braids with cornrows allow you to rock an artistic braided look that shows off your best features.
14. Blonde Box Braids
Blonde box braids make a bold and edgy look. They can be created using blonde braiding hair in shades from deep to warm to bright. Platinum and 613 extensions are popular options for blonde extensions. Mixing different blonde tones allows for customization to find the perfect sunny look. The light blonde color pops against darker complexions for an edgy yet glamorous style.
15. Small Knotless Box Braids
Small knotless braids provide a painless and more versatile alternative to traditional box braids without the bulky knots. To achieve the small knotless box braid look, small box sections are created and individual braids are installed using the knotless braiding method. The braiding hair is added in small increments to maintain tiny braid sizes. Completing small knotless box braids is time-consuming but the longevity makes the time investment worthwhile.
16. Natural Hair Box Braids
Natural hair box braids are a great protective hairstyle to give your hair a break, promote growth, and maintain an attractive look. Box braids on natural hair are done by braiding your hair into individual box braids without any added extensions. Natural hair box braids can last a decent time, especially when made in small sizes, and can be washed while worn. Mini braids also work for all hair lengths and can be styled in several ways.
17. Knotless Box Braids With Curls
Knotless box braids with curled ends offer a chic, pain-free braided style. The knotless method begins by braiding the natural hair and gradually adding in extensions until the desired braid size is reached. The braids are sectioned in box parts and the ends are curled using hot water. The knotless technique allows for more flexible, pain-free braids. Knotless box braids with curls can be created in any length, size or color for a customized look.
18. Brown Box Braids
Brown is a color that goes well with most skin tones. Brown box braids are made by braiding brown extensions into box parts. You can pick from many beautiful shades of brown braiding hair, such as 33, 30, 12, and 8. These brown colors can also be blended together to achieve a custom brown shade for your box braids.
19. Micro Box Braids
Micro braids demand patience given the tiny size and the delicate parting required. Micro box braids are created by braiding exceptionally small sections of hair into tiny box parts. Any color of braiding hair can be used for micro box braids, and they allow for endless styling possibilities despite the miniature size. Careful parting is key when installing these super-fine braids.
20. Mixed Color Box Braids
Rather than sticking to a single color, mixing multiple colors creates unique, custom box braids. Combining two or more shades of braiding hair forms a personalized multi-tonal look. Complementary colors in the same family can be combined – like in the picture, or different colors can be mixed for dramatic results. Some brands and hairstylists offer pre-made custom color mixes, but you can also DIY mix any colors of your choosing. The possibilities are endless with this fun approach to box braids!
21. Box Braids in a Bun
Box braids styled in a bun provide an elegant, effortless look. First, install box braids as usual in your preferred size and length. Next, gather all the braids together and secure with a hair tie in the desired position. Then, roll the ends into a bun shape and secure with another tie. For a different look, coils or curls can be left out, framing the bun. Keep in mind pulling freshly done braids up may initially be uncomfortable. Pressing with a warm towel can provide relief. Overall, a braided bun creates a classy updo for your box braids.
22. Box Braids on Dreads
Despite the perception that dreadlocks limit styling versatility, many creative options exist, including braiding box braids over locs. To achieve this look, separate the locs and make precise box parts. Then, use braiding hair, potentially in larger sections depending on your loc size, to neatly conceal and braid over the locs. Taking care with parting helps ensure the locs are properly covered by the box braids. So please don’t be afraid to braid it up with your dreads.
23. Box Braids With Human Hair
Human hair box braids are a luxurious variation made with human hair extensions. They are typically braided to the ends and left unbraided at the tips. Some brands offer pre-sectioned human hair extensions for braiding, but regular human hair bundles can also be used. Simply cut the weft before braiding. Curly or wavy human hair textures work best to achieve the look. While pricier than synthetic braiding hair, the unparalleled softness and versatility of real human hair makes these box braids a stylish option.
24. Butterfly Box Braids
For a full, voluminous look, butterfly box braids are a great option. They are formed by braiding hair into a butterfly shape within the box parts. To achieve the butterfly effect, small loops are pulled out on each side of the braid, resembling a butterfly’s wings. When sectioning for butterfly box braids, overlapping box parts works best. This prevents the volume of the braids from concealing the beauty of the parts beneath. The resulting butterfly braids display depth and fullness.
25. Twist Box Braids
For a change from regular box braids, try twist box braids. After sectioning into box parts, take two strands and twist them together to form a rope-like texture. You can begin with a few braided rows to secure the roots before transitioning into twists, or use the invisible root method to start twisting directly from the root. Twist box braids tend to be quicker and easier to install than regular box braids. They provide the same versatile styling options while adding a fresh twisted look.
26. French Curl Box Braids
French curl box braids feature extensions with a silky texture and loose, bouncy curls. The French curl hair comes pre-curled, saving time otherwise spent manually curling braid ends. To maintain French curl box braids, regularly oil the scalp and apply curl cream or mousse to hold the curls in place. The smooth, bouncy curves of French curl extensions create effortlessly stunning box braids.
27. Box Braids Wig
For a quick braided style without the lengthy installation, box braids wigs are the perfect solution. These wigs feature pre-braided box braids sewn onto a wig cap. Options include full lace frontals for versatile styling or closure wigs for middle or side parts. Box braids wigs come in various colors, sizes, and lengths. To give your hair a flat, natural look, cornrow your hair neatly beneath. The convenience of box braids wigs allows you to pop them on anytime without a long appointment. With minimal effort, you can enjoy the beautiful look of box braids.
28. Side Part Box Braids
A middle part is not flattering for every head shape. In such cases, a side part can provide a more complementary look with box braids. Side part box braids are created by sectioning a part at the side of the head, with box braids falling evenly on both sides. This typically results in one side appearing fuller. A side part tends to look best with shorter length box braids, as longer braids can become uncomfortable. So if a middle part doesn’t suit you, try a side-swept alternative for your next install of box braids.
29. Box Braids With Bangs
Adding bangs is a unique way to change up traditional box braids. Box braids with bangs are made by installing regular box braids throughout, with shorter sections in the front to cover the forehead. The bangs can be made in layers or left the same length across. For added style, beads can be added or the braided bangs can be replaced with curly hair pieces. Bangs provide a fresh look that livens up your basic box braids.
30. Half up Half Down Box Braids
Half up half down box braids beautifully blend braids with cornrows. First, divide the hair into two sections. Make box braids in the lower portion, and cornrow the top section into an updo. You can also use box braids on top instead of cornrows, packing them halfway into a bun or upstyle. Allowing the back braids to fall freely while the top is secured creates a stunning mix-and-match look. For an alternative to strictly straight-down braids, half up half down styles on box braids are an excellent choice.
31. Designer Box Braids
Designer box braids take basic box braids up a notch by adding creative designs. The designs can include lines, shapes, patterns, and other details. When adding designs to box braids, it’s important to keep them moderate in size and spaced out enough to maintain the boxed look. Well-placed geometric shapes, hearts, or even freestyle patterns can transform simple box braids into a stylish designer look.
32. Blonde Mix Box Braids
Blonde mix box braids feature blonde braiding hair blended with other colors. This style gained popularity after Beyoncé rocked custom blonde mix braids. The blonde is typically the foundation or dominant shade mixed with either darker tones or similar light colors. Popular blonde mix options include 613 blonde with 27 and 4, or 613 blonde with 30, 27, and 4. The multi-tonal blonde coloring creates dimension while still keeping a bright, light look. When done right, blonde mix braids make a vibrant fashion statement.
33. Layered Box Braids
Layered box braids are created by overlapping two or more lengths of box braids. Shorter box braids are layered under longer ones to create a tiered effect. To achieve this, the braiding hair needs to be pre-cut to the desired lengths before braiding. Layered box braids look best with either bumped or curly ends, which help blend and smooth the transitions between layers.
34. Four Jumbo Box Braids
Four jumbo box braids create a simple, bold hairstyle that can be done quickly. To get this look, divide hair evenly into four equal sections – this automatically forms the boxed parts. Braid each section into a jumbo-sized braid. If needed, hold hair with small elastics before braiding for better grip. The end result is four very large box braids that make a big statement with minimal effort. For an easy protective style with maximum impact, this four jumbo box braids style will deliver.
35. Wedding Box Braids
Box braids really can work for any occasion, even weddings! Wedding box braids typically consist of classic box braids styled into elegant updos or braided shapes perfect for the big day. Popular wedding styles include braided buns, crown braids, fishtail braids, and more. The braids can be accessorized with bridal hair pieces like sparkling pins, floral accents, tiaras or veils. In the right hands, box braids make a beautiful hairstyle for brides and wedding parties.
36. Box Braids With Heart
Add some love to your box braids by creating a heart design. To get this look, precisely part hair into the shape of a heart, then braid or cornrow the heart area to define the shape. The rest of the hair is braided into classic box braids. The location of the heart is flexible, but it stands out best on one side of the crown area. Outlining the heart with cornrows or a different braid texture also helps it pop. This fun style puts a sweet twist on box braids by braiding the hair into an embedded heart design.
37. Yarn Box Braids
Yarn box braids offer a lightweight, budget-friendly alternative to traditional box braids. Yarn braids are created by braiding yarn or wool hair into box braids rather than synthetic braiding hair. To finish the ends, tie knots or carefully seal by burning. Yarn comes in many different colors to choose from. Since yarn costs less than braiding hair, these box braids are very cost-effective. The yarn makes the plaits lighter and more comfortable for all-day wear. For an affordable protective style, yarn box braids deliver.
38. Skunk Stripe Box Braids
Skunk stripe box braids are created by braiding a bold stripe of contrasting color into the hairstyle. This “skunk stripe” effect can be placed anywhere in the hair and created with any color that differs from the main braid color. For a more dramatic look, the section of hair for the stripe can be pre-dyed before braiding. The stripes give an eye-catching contrast against the neutral box braids. While classic skunk stripes are black and white, any color pairing works well.
39. Coi Leray Box Braids
Coi Leray box braids are named after the artist who made this style her signature look. The Coi Leray style features large-sized, short knotless braids with curly ends that fall around chest length. The short, bouncy curls complete a cute and playful vibe. This protective style works well for those wanting to match Coi Leray’s energetic appearance.
40. Marley Box Braids
Marley box braids are made using Marley hair extensions, which have a kinky-like texture. This gives the braids a more natural look. The textured Marley hair can be styled in many ways, and beads can also be added. Marley box braids tend to last a long time, and the older they get, the more beautiful they look as the hair frizzes slightly. The Marley texture mimics natural afro-textured hair for box braids that blend seamlessly while still protecting your own strands.
41. Glitter Box Braids
Glitter box braids are a recent trend created by adding glitter strips to braiding hair to make box braids. The glitter comes in various colors, adding shine and sparkle to the braids. When blending the glitter strips, they should be minimally added so they don’t overpower the main braid color. The glitter adds subtle flashes of light rather than being overbearing. This style allows you to subtly stand out with glitter box braids.
42. Full Box Braids
Full box braids use many braids to create a voluminous look covering the whole head. To achieve full box braids, create smaller box parts and use more hair per braid. The many small, dense braids result in a hairstyle where the boxed parts may not be as visible due to the fullness. The goal is complete coverage with a very large number of small box braids packed tightly together. When done correctly, full box braids deliver maximum volume and fullness for a neat effect.
43. Half and Half Box Braids
Half and half box braids allow you to combine two different braid colors. This is created by splitting the hair vertically down the middle and braiding each side in a contrasting shade. When matching shades, pair colors like black and brown, brown and blonde, black and red, or any two tones that complement. To create half and half box braids cleanly, neatly divide the hair in half then braid one color on each side. The bi-color effect makes a fun statement and allows you to mix up your protective style.
44. Crinkled Box Braids
To create crinkled braids, take a few pieces of box braids and braid them together. Then dip the braids into hot water and unravel to reveal crinkles. Braiding more pieces together makes looser crinkles, while braiding fewer pieces makes tighter crinkles. The crinkles give the box braids a unique look. You can still style the crinkled braids however you like.
45. Passion Box Braids
Passion box braids blend regular braiding hair with passion twist extensions in each braid. The passion twist hair provides a curly, silky look. To create them, braid the two types of hair together into individual braids. You can finish the style by curling the ends of the braids. The combination creates a unique fusion of box braids and passion twists.
46. Box Braids With Cornrows on the Side
This stylish braid style combines box braids with cornrows on either side of the head. The cornrows can be simple straight lines or have designs. To switch it up, use one color of braiding hair for the cornrows and a different color for the box braids. Combining box braids with side cornrows creates an eye-catching look.
47. Box Braids With Crinkly Ends
Crinkly ends offer an alternative to curly ends on box braids. To get this look, first create regular box braids, either to the end or stopping at a certain point. Then, section off the ends and braid them before dipping into hot water and unraveling to create crinkles. This gives the braids a wavy, bohemian style. The crinkly texture gives a fresh take on traditional curled ends for box braids.
48. Bubble Box Braids
Bubble braids are a great option if you don’t know how to braid. Start by sectioning the hair into box parts and secure the roots with a rubber band. Pull a piece of braiding hair through the loop created at the root. Use small elastic bands at short intervals along the braiding hair to create bubbles. Fluff out the sides between elastics. Colored bands can add pops of color. Make box parts wider and bubble braids smaller for visual impact.
49. Box Braids With Human Hair Ends
Box braids with human hair only on the ends offer a cost-effective way to get a human hair look. First, create regular box braids. When you reach the desired length, grip the braid tightly and feed in human hair extensions to finish the ends. This method saves money since human hair is only needed for the ends. Keep the box braids on the top part small so they blend seamlessly into the human hair. Securing the point where the two hairs meet prevents slippage. This style is a budget-friendly way to enjoy human hair extensions.
50. Box Braids With Rubber Bands at the End
Rubber band ends are commonly seen on bob braids but also work for longer lengths. Create box braids of any size, then secure the ends with elastic bands. This prevents unraveling. You can still dip the ends in hot water to seal them but don’t use too hot water, as that could weaken the bands. The elastic bands neatly finish off the braids while keeping them intact. This end style works well for box braids of varying lengths.