What are Box Braids
Box braids are a type of protective hairstyle that involves sectioning the hair into small or medium-sized square or rectangular sections and braiding synthetic or human hair extensions into each section. The name "box braids" comes from the neat and boxy shape of each braid. Box braids offer versatility in styling. They can be worn down, pulled back into a ponytail, or styled into various updos. Some people also choose to add beads, cuffs, or other decorative elements to enhance the look of their box braids.
Overall box braids are a popular choice for individuals with natural hair because they provide a protective style that helps to minimize manipulation and reduce damage. They can also be a low-maintenance hairstyle option, allowing for easy hair care and the ability to protect the natural hair while promoting hair growth.
Can You Swim with Box Braids?Yes, you can swim with box braids. Box braids are a versatile and durable hairstyle that allows you to enjoy swimming and water activities while keeping your hair protected. However, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure the longevity and health of your box braids:
1. Pre-swim preparation: Before entering the pool, apply a generous amount of conditioner to your braids. This will create a barrier between your hair and the chlorine, protecting it from drying out. After conditioning, apply oil to your braids. This will further protect your hair from chlorine and minimize frizz caused by the water. Rinse before swimming: Wet your hair with clean water before entering the pool. This will help prevent your hair from absorbing too much chlorinated water.
2. Wear a swim cap or protective style: Consider wearing a swim cap to cover your box braids while swimming. This additional layer of protection can help keep your braids dry and prevent chlorine or saltwater from directly contacting your hair. Alternatively, you can wear your box braids in a protective style like a bun or updo, secured away from the water.
3. Rinse after swimming: After swimming, it's essential to rinse your box braids with clean water as soon as possible. This helps to remove any chlorine or saltwater residues that can dry out your hair. Gentle rinsing can also help in detangling any knots or tangles that may have formed during swimming.
4. Moisturize and care for the scalp: Keep your scalp and box braids moisturized by applying a leave-in conditioner or oil after rinsing. This helps to replenish the moisture lost during swimming and keeps your scalp and hair healthy.
5. Limit pool water exposure: Try to minimize the time your box braids spend in chlorinated or saltwater. Prolonged exposure to these types of water can potentially cause dryness and damage to your hair and scalp. If possible, alternate between swimming and spending time out of the water to help reduce the impact of pool or ocean water on your braids.
How to Wash Box Braids after Swimming
Washing box braids properly is essential for maintaining clean and healthy hair. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to wash box braids:
1. Prep your supplies: Gather all the necessary supplies, including a clarifying or moisturizing shampoo, a diluted shampoo mixture (water and shampoo mixed in a bottle), a deep conditioner, a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush, an applicator bottle or spray bottle, and a towel.
2. Dilute the shampoo: Pour a small amount of shampoo into an applicator bottle or spray bottle and dilute it with water. This will make it easier to distribute the shampoo throughout your braids and minimize residue build-up.
3. Wet your braids: Thoroughly wet your braids with lukewarm water. Be sure to wet both the scalp and the braids themselves.
4. Apply the diluted shampoo: Gently squeeze the diluted shampoo mixture onto your scalp, focusing on the roots. Use your fingertips to massage the shampoo into your scalp, creating a lather. Avoid excessively scrubbing or rubbing to prevent frizz or tangling.
5. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse your braids with lukewarm water until all the shampoo is completely rinsed out. Ensure that the water runs clear and there's no residue left in your braids.
6. Apply deep conditioner: Apply a deep conditioner to your braids, focusing on the mid-lengths to ends. You can spray or squeeze the deep conditioner onto your braids and massage it in gently. This step helps replenish moisture and keeps your hair hydrated.
7. Detangle carefully: Use a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush to carefully detangle your braids, starting from the ends and working your way up. Be gentle to avoid unnecessary breakage or damage to your braids.
8. Let the deep conditioner sit: Cover your braids with a plastic shower cap or wrap them in a towel. Leave the deep conditioner on for the recommended time (usually 15-30 minutes) to allow the hair to absorb the moisture. After that, rinse your braids thoroughly to remove the deep conditioner, again focusing on making sure the water runs clear.
9. Pat dry with a towel: Gently pat your braids with a towel to remove excess water. Avoid rubbing as it can cause frizz or tangling.
10. Air dry: Allow your braids to air dry completely before styling or applying any products. For the middle part, you can use a hair dryer on a low-temperature setting to dry it.
By following these tips, you can confidently enjoy swimming with your box braids without compromising their beauty or health. Remember, proper care and maintenance are key to ensuring your box braids stay fabulous both in and out of the water.