How to Wash Box Braids Without Turning Them Into a Frizzy Mess

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how to wash box braids cat

If protective styles were a singing group, box braids would be Beyoncé. There isn’t a single event or occasion this hairstyle can’t flawlessly cover or steal the show at. From weddings to graduations and even days where you’re just running errands in your sweatpants, you can leave your braids hanging loose and still look like you’ve put in a ton of effort. And because they’re expensive to get, you want to maintain them well. Below, find out how to wash box braids so they stay looking fresh for as long as possible. 

First, how often should you be washing your box braids?

It all depends on your hair’s needs. Some people have drier scalps so they’re more prone to dandruff and others rely on more styling products, which can lead to excessive build-up. Other lifestyle factors such as working out and sweating can leave your braids a little odorous. The bottom line: You’ll know when it’s time to wash your braids.

So, how do I wash my box braids without turning them into a frizzy mess?

What you need:

Step 1: Wet your roots. This makes your shampoo lather faster and wash out more easily. Make sure you divide your hair into even sections beforehand to ensure all braids are tended to.

Step 2: Apply your shampoo. This process may be drastically different from the way you typically shampoo. The goal is to avoid frizz, so you don’t want to just pour shampoo into your palms and then rub it in. Instead, put generous amounts onto your fingertips and massage the shampoo directly into your scalp. It’s best to use a clarifying shampoo here because they don’t require extra rubbing in order to thoroughly cleanse your scalp.

Step 3: Rinse. If you have a mobile shower head, this step will be a walk in the park since you’ll be able to bring the water much closer to your head. If you don’t, no worries. Simply stand in the shower and let the water run down and rinse out as much shampoo as possible without using your fingers to coax it out. If you want to get rid of any lingering odor then you can add a bit more shampoo, starting at the root of the braid and letting it slide down before rinsing clean.

Step 4: Condition your hair. As with any wash day routine, conditioning is paramount. Not only does it keep your scalp nice and hydrated, but it also leaves your braids smelling good. Just as you applied your shampoo, you want to massage the conditioner directly onto the braids, from top to bottom and rinse to finish.

Step 5: Wrap your hair. After you’ve rinsed the conditioner out, wrap your hair in a regular bath towel to soak up as much excess water as possible.

Step 6: Blow dry your hair. Next, run a blow dryer over your braids to make sure they’re completely dry.

Step 7: Add your oils. Replenish your hair by restoring all the oils stripped out during washing. We recommend adding a few drops of nourishing essential oils (i.e., Jamaican black castor, argan and jojoba oils) to your scalp to boost hair growth and conditioning sprays such as African Pride Extra Shine Braid Sheen to add some sheen to those braids.

Happy wash day!

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Resident Hufflepuff, Beyonce historian, self-proclaimed tea sommelier

Steph is a native of Zimbabwe who is both enamored and genuinely baffled by the concept of silent letters. From 2020 to 2022, she served as Associate Editor at PureWow covering...