What Kind of Hair to Use for Box Braids?

Actress Joy Bryant wore small box braids in California.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You probably remember when you and your girls started rocking box braids in the '90s. You all rocked them in a variety of different styles over a course of two to three months. Well, box braids never went out of style and you can still sport them in a grownup way. They can be long or short, small or medium size, curled or straight using synthetic or human hair.

How to Get Box Braids

Box braids, which can range from small to large in size, are created by first parting your real hair in a square like box shape. Use synthetic or human hair while grabbing your real hair along the way.

Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair is fake hair that braided to the length you would like and burned at the end. There is also a type of synthetic hair called Kanekalon hair. It's named after the same-named fiber it contains that causes it to curl as soon as it's placed in hot water. This hair is not burned at the end; instead, it's kept loosened to apply plastic rollers for the hot water.

Bob Braids Styles with Synthetic Hair

For short box braided bob styles or very long, jumbo braids, synthetic hair is best. Synthetic is more sturdy than human hair so you can rock long, big braids with this type of hair. Pull your hair up in high ponytail. If you want a curly cue braided look, use Kanekalon hair and wear your braids down in a curly bob style.

Human Hair

Human hair is usually used for a braided style called micro braids. Micro braids are really small box braids that are left loosened at the end. You can use straight human hair that is straight at the ends and doesn't curl. You can also use "wet and wavy" human hair that is already curly at the ends that are left loosened.

Box Braids Styles with Human Hair

Micro braids look great up in a high, puffy ponytail with "wet and wavy" human hair. You can also wrap a cute bun with straight human hair. Down in curls or up in a fancy updo, you can do pretty much any hairstyle with human hair. You can treat it as if it's your real hair.

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