If you grew up in the '90s and early 2000s, you remember the popular box braids that Janet Jackson and Brandy wore. Even now, stars such as Beyoncé, Tia Mowry, and Gabrielle Union can occasionally be seen rocking this fun hairstyle. Just like cornrows, box braids have an African influence. In centuries past in Africa, the women weaved wool, felt, and even human hair into fiber skull caps. Also, they accessorized their braids with cowrie shells, jewels, and beads. To create box braids, the stylist would part a small portion of your hair then add artificial hair to wrap it around your real hair before braiding. Here is more information about the history of box braids.
Box Braids and Cultural Appropriation
It is interesting how many Black women who wear box braids and other natural styles receive unfair criticism. Yet, it is considered trendy or even a novelty when other women wear these same hairstyles. Black women often disdain this cultural appropriation for this very reason. This issue goes as far back as the 18th century when the Tignon laws existed during slavery. Under this law, Black women were required to wear scarves when out in public. Centuries later, we continue to see how many employers and educational institutions reprimand Black women for wearing braided styles.
Maintaining Your Box Braids
Protect your beautiful box braids by putting a silk or satin scarf around your hair every night. It ensures that your hair doesn't dry out and that your edges continue to look sharp. It's also crucial that you moisturize your scalp periodically with water or a high-quality moisturizing cream. Every few weeks, wash the braids to eliminate product and dirt buildup.
Types of Box Braid Styles
There are several types of box braid hairstyles you can wear during the week. You may decide to wear the braids in a high bun, or you can wear the half-up-half-down look. Another idea would be to wear your box braids as a side bun, or you might wear them similar to a bow on the top of your hair.