What Do You Need For Box Braids?

If looking for the best protective hairstyle that is long-lasting and low-maintenance, box braids are your go-to hairdo. However, just because they require minimal upkeep does not mean you can forfeit your entire hair care routine. You must take care of your braids to keep them looking fresh and healthy as long as possible.

So then, what do you need for box braids? Besides the high-quality extension, you need products such as a moisturizer, light oil for the scalp, and sulfate-free shampoo. But there is more!

In this guide, we will look at the 7 best products you can use to take care of braids and ensure their longevity.

Do Box Braids Need Extension?

Do Box Braids Need Extension?

The answer is yes and no. If your hair is not long enough, you must use extensions for added length, volume, and protection. In this case, you can use synthetic or human hair extensions.

However, if your hair is exceptionally long, you may not need to use the extension. You just do the box braids using your own natural hair only.

What do you need for box braids?

First, you’ll need some good-quality synthetic hair extensions. You can find these at most beauty supply stores, or online. Make sure to get the right type and color of hair for your desired look.

Next, you’ll need a comb, scissors, and some clear elastic hair ties. You’ll also need some hair clips to keep the sections of hair separate while you work.

need a comb, scissors

Once you have all your materials gathered, you’re ready to start braiding! Section off the hair you want to braid, and comb it thoroughly to remove any knots. Begin braiding the hair close to the scalp, and secure the end with an elastic hair tie.

Repeat this process until all of the hair is braided. Once you’re finished, you can style the braids however you like. Box braids look great worn loose, in a ponytail, or in an updo.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to create perfect box braids at home!

What Products Do You Need For Box Braids?

What Do You Need For Box Braids?

If you want your box braids to last longer and your hair to stay healthy, proper care is essential. So, here are 7 products you can use for the best results.

1. SheaMoisture Residue Remover Shampoo for Synthetic and Natural Hair

SheaMoisture Residue Remover Shampoo for Synthetic and Natural Hair


  • Perfect cleanser for synthetic and natural hair


  • Could cause a bit of dryness on some hair types

While on braids, you must wash your hair at least every two to three weeks. This sulfate-free shampoo is one of the best you can use, and for good reasons.

One of the reasons is it has deep cleansing, purifying, and nourishing properties. As such, it will remove any dirt buildup on your braids without stripping your natural hair’s moisture. Secondly, it is made without harsh chemicals like parabens.


“I love this cruelty-free shampoo because it cleanses my scalp, and it is clarifying. It also has a pleasant smell. I will continue to use it,” writes one reviewer.

2. SoftSheen-Carson Shining and Conditioning Gel

SoftSheen-Carson Shining and Conditioning Gel


  • Does not cause flaking or drying


  • A little too thick

One of the best ways to keep your box braids looking fresh all the time is to slick the edges down. This product boasts micro-emulsion technology to give your braids extra hold while ensuring smooth edges. Besides that, the gel also conditions your hair and tames the flyaways.


“Holds my braids in place and smells great. A little goes a long way, and I love it. I will definitely order again,” writes one reviewer.

“I bought this gel for my daughter’s braids. It has a great hold and slicks hair down pretty good,” writes another.

3. AllDay Locks & Braid Foam Control

AllDay Locks & Braid Foam Control


  • Gives your braids a shiny, neat, and soft look


  • Requires frequent applications

Here comes a hydrating mousse designed for use while styling your box braids to keep them in place and reduce frizz. The product is formulated with ingredients such as; tea tree oil extract, water, and aloe vera leaf juice to keep your hair moisturized. More so, it gives your braids a long-lasting shine without leaving any buildup or flakiness.


“This foam is hands down the best to set braids. It smells great and does not weigh heavy on my braids. It also keeps my braids from fraying at the ends prematurely,” reads one customer’s review.

4. Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba Scalp Oil

Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba Scalp Oil


  • Non-dripping for easy application


  • Too thick to squeeze out of the container

Looking for the best scalp oil to soothe your itchy and dry scalp while on box braids? This Cantu product contains various healthy oils like tea tree, jojoba, and shea butter. Thanks to this unique formulation, the oil helps condition your scalp while moisturizing the dry strands.


“My grandchild has box braids, and often experiences scalp irritation. I apply this oil on her crown, and it no longer itches. I also love that it works better than I expected,” says one tester.

5. YANIBEST Satin Bonnet Silk Bonnet Sleep Cap

YANIBEST Satin Bonnet Silk Bonnet Sleep Cap


  • Double satin layer for maximum protection


  • May stain your pillowcase and clothes

Made with premium full-cover satin, this adjustable and reversible sleep cap is designed to protect your braids from losing moisture. This is because, unlike cotton, satin material does not absorb moisture. The sleeping cap also helps keep your braids frizz and tangle-free by minimizing friction while tossing and turning.


“This bonnet fits six packs of 14” braids and my big head, leaving some room to spare.” Writes one reviewer, adding, “I was concerned by the reviews claiming that the bonnet’s dye blends onto the clothes, but I did not experience this.”

6. Design Essentials Scalp and Skin Care Anti-Itch and Tension Relief

Design Essentials Scalp and Skin Care Anti-Itch and Tension Relief


  • Soothes and relieves the itchy scalp


  • Some people find its smell too strong

This is a clarifying product formulated to help cleanse away dirt, excess oil, and other buildups on your scalp. As a result, this ensures no more scalp irritation. It works for all hair types, braids, extensions, and even wigs. Containing natural oils like peppermint and aloe with no dye, this product also helps hydrate your hair strands.


“This product provides relief to my scalp all day after use. I apply it on my scalp every day with my braids, and it makes my scalp clean and itch-free,” says another reviewer.

7. Beard Grains Lion Locs Hair Locking Dreads Moisturizer

Beard Grains Lion Locs Hair Locking Dreads Moisturizer


  • Adds moisture and sheen to your braids


  • A bit expensive for the amount you get

Last but not least, we’ve got this moisturizing cream, perfect for use on all hair types, including braids. The formula is made with organic ingredients, such as jojoba and argan oil, to keep your hair hydrated and prevent breakage. Additionally, the butter helps tame stray flyaways and reduce frizz, ensuring your braids last longer.


“The scent of this butter is amazing! After using it for three days, I could immediately see and feel the difference in the moisture level of my hair. No sticky residue either,” writes one customer.

What is the Best Synthetic Hair for Box Braids?

X-pression braiding hair is the overall best because it is made with 100% Kanekalon fiber. On top of that, this synthetic hair has more density and length than most brands. What’s more? It comes pre-stretched and soft.

What Type of Weave is Best For Box Braids?

Kanekalon is the best in terms of quality. Compared to other cheaper options with a plastic-like feel, Kanekalon is soft with a texture almost similar to human hair. Besides, it boasts hot water set technology. Therefore, you can use the hair in hot water to set curls.

What is the Average Price for Box Braids?

The price can average anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on factors like braid size, location, and your hairstylist. Also, if your hair is extra long, the cost may increase. Generally, lengthy and medium box braids also cost more than their shorter and medium counterparts.


Having said that, let’s quickly look at some commonly asked questions about the best products for your braids.

Why do my box braids itch so much at night?

Box braids can cause a lot of itching because the hair is in close contact with each other. The tight coils trap sweat and oil, which causes irritation. This irritation may be worse at night due to the darkness and lack of air circulation. You can try wearing a cap or sleep mask to help reduce the amount of friction on your scalp.

What color box braids look good on dark skin?

There is quite a good number. But overall, some of the best color braids are blonde, turquoise blue, deep burgundy, gold + black, and ombre purple. All these colors are sure to complement your dark skin. 

What oil to use for box braids?

The best oil for box braids is one with strengthening and moisturizing properties. You could use light oil like jojoba, olive, tea tree oil, or coconut oil. Such oils will not clog your scalp as they are easily absorbed.

What wax to use for box braids?

Beeswax offers excellent results in terms of locking box braids into place and soothing your scalp. It is also the perfect wax for smoothing down your flyaway hairs and helps keep your hair moisturized.

What to spray on box braids?

You can use a moisturizing spray formulated with ingredients like coconut oil, peppermint oil, and micellar water. Alternatively, you can use a leave-in spray to keep your scalp nourished and clean.

Do you have to use synthetic hair for box braids?

No. You can also use human hair if you don’t mind its high cost compared to synthetic hair. Alternatively, you can make the box braids using your long natural hair.

Is Kanekalon hair good for box braids?

Yes. It is one of the best because it is smooth, easy to grab, soft, and durable. In addition, it is heat-resistant and comes in many colors and lengths to choose from.

Is 6 packs of hair enough for box braids?

It depends on the brand of hair you are using and the size of braids you want. For medium-sized braids using X-pression hair, 6packs will be enough to give you more volume.

can you go swimming with box braids

The answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to know first. Here are some tips for swimming with box braids:

  • Wet your hair before getting in the pool. This will help prevent your hair from absorbing too much chlorine.
  • Wear a swim cap. This will help keep your hair from getting tangled and will also protect your hair from the sun.
  • Don’t leave your box braids in for too long. If you are going to be swimming regularly, you should take them out after 2-3 weeks.
  • Be gentle with your hair. Avoid shampooing your hair too often, and when you do shampoo, use a mild shampoo and conditioner.
What to put on hair when taking out braids?

When taking out braids, it is important to avoid putting anything that will cause a scalp reaction. This includes shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products. Instead, put a light moisturizer on the scalp and let it absorb into the hair. Then, comb through the hair and style as usual.

What do you think of White people braiding their entire head of hair in little tiny rows of braids?

Many people think that white girls braiding their entire head of hair in little tiny rows of braids is a beautiful and unique look. There are pros and cons to this style, but it’s definitely worth trying out if you’re interested in trying something new.

Related Articles

  • Where Did Box Braids Originate
  • Are Box Braids Cultural Appropriation


Although box braids are low-maintenance, you must take proper care of them using the right products. You need products like the SheaMoisture Residue Remover Shampoo and Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba Scalp Oil to keep your scalp clean.

Besides that, you must know what synthetic hair or weave to use for your box braids before installation. Because using the best extension also helps ensure your box braids last longer.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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