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Your Ultimate Guide to Bohemian Box Braids

Switch up your look next season with this protective style.

bohemian box braids

When it comes to protective styles, there's one look that stands out amongst the rest—box braids. The best quality about box braids is their versatility; they can be worn in so many different ways and it seems like there's a new, buzzy style showing up on our Instagram feeds every day. One of those go-to box braid looks are bohemian box braids—you've probably seen the style on Zoë Kravitz. Instead of braiding the hair all the way down to the ends, with boho box braids, only the first couple of inches are braided, leaving the ends loose and wavy.

If you're on the hunt for a new style to try out, here's everything you need to know about bohemian box braids.

What type of hair do you need for boho box braids?

The type of hair you choose will determine the look of your box braids. There's Kanekalon braiding hair, which is most commonly used when creating braided styles. The synthetic hair is typically affordable and it has the ability to withstand heat (so you can use hot water to seal the ends of your braids and prevent unraveling).

If you want a more natural look, that's lightweight and looks less bulky, you can use bulk human hair to create your bohemian box braids. However, this option is a lot pricier. Kanekalon hair will cost you around $20 for three packs, while bulk human hair extensions will cost you about $130 for one pack, depending on what length you choose.

How should you prep your hair for install?

Before you begin braiding, thoroughly cleanse your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. It'll get rid of root build-up without stripping your hair of its natural oils. Follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment—you won't be able to do one while your hair is braided, so this step is key to maintaining the health and integrity of your hair.

You don't have to give yourself a silk press or anything before you head to your appointment, but your hair should be stretched or blown out a bit to minimize potential breakage and to ensure that your box braid appointment moves quicker.

How long does it take to install them?

The amount of time you'll be sitting in the salon chair depends on the size of your braids. If you decide to try out super-tiny box braids, like the ones that Zoë Kravitz wears, you're looking at around seven, maybe eight, hours in the salon. But if you'd rather not spend an entire day getting your hair braided, you could always opt for a larger box braid size. Medium bohemian box braids will take anywhere from four-to-five hours and a jumbo size will probably set you back two-to-three hours.

You can install your box braids using the traditional method, meaning the braid starts with a small knot at the root of the scalp, or you can opt for knotless box braids, where the braids are created using the feed-in method. With the feed-in method, braiding hair is added in small pieces, rather than all at once, lessening the tension on your scalp and giving you a more seamless look.

How do you take care of them?

While bohemian box braids are a low-maintenance protective style, there is some upkeep involved. Use a clarifying shampoo with a nozzle applicator to cleanse your hair from your scalp to your ends, moving the nozzle in a vertical direction. Be sure not to rub your braids while washing them—that could lead to frizz and flyaways. If you decide to go with human hair for your bohemian box braids, you'll work a dime-sized amount of conditioner to your ends to keep them smooth.

Spritz your braids with a leave-in conditioner spray about three times a week to keep them hydrated. Scalp care is also important—massage an oil, like jojoba or coconut, into the scalp to prevent dry patches.

At night, you should either wrap your braids into a silk bonnet or you should sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent friction that could lead to unwanted frizz.

How long do boho box braids last?

Most stylists don't recommend keeping your box braids in for more than eight weeks. Any longer and you could end up dealing with breakage on your new growth, which pretty much defeats the purpose of getting box braids in the first place.

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