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In the Summer of 2013, I got box braids for the first time since I was a kid. I was heading to South Africa for 6 weeks and I wanted to be able to take a break from my hair. I’ve gotten box braids almost every summer since and mostly love them, but there are a few things that I hate!

I LOVE…

The Convenience

It is sooo great to just wake up and not have to worry much about my hair. I usually style my hair in protective styles to reduce manipulation on my hair, but I still have my weekly wash day that can literally take AAALLL day. I can wake up at 7 AM and be to work at 8 AM, which is lovely and so convenient!

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Giving My Hair a Break

As I just stated, I try to consistently style my hair in protective styles, but there’s nothing like giving your hair a break from manipulation for a few weeks. It’s also cool to be able to easily track your hair growth by checking your new growth while your hair is in braids.

The Style

I love the style of box braids. I get a lot of compliments on my braids and they really compliment my boho chic summer look. I never have to worry about what to do with my hair because I can simply let them swing or throw them in a high bun and go!

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I HATE…

The Cost

Ok, I may be a little spoiled because I know some people spend a ton of money getting their hair done, but the only time anyone ever does my hair other than me is when I get braids. So for me, I really have to tell myself that it’s an investment because I’m cheap frugal and like to spend my money on bills, traveling, shopping, and happy hour instead.

That They Can Take Out Your Edges!!!

I feel like this is every natural girl’s worst fear when getting braids and twists: Will I have edges when I take my braids out? Will these heavy braids rip out my tiny little precious baby hairs? Trust me, I feel your pain. A couple of years ago, I pleaded with the lady braiding my hair to be careful with my edges. 2 weeks later, I was looking at my braid that had fallen out and my hair intertwined in the braid. THE HORROR!! It took me almost 2 years to grow my poor edges back.

However, I think I found a solution. When I got braids last month, I had the braider do less braids, which meant that she was add more of my hair to each braid. This way I didn’t have a tiny patch of hair braided into a heavy braid, which puts unnecessary stress on your sensitive hair. It’s been a month and so far, there is no sign of breakage or the need to have the braids retouched!

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That I’m allergic to Braiding Hair!

Surprise, the girl that is almost allergic to everything is also allergic to braiding hair. Crazy right? The second time I got box braids, I noticed that everything my braids touched was very itchy and irritated, including my scalp. I almost took out the braids, but decided to do some research online.

I learned that some people are allergic to the chemical used to preserve kanekalon hair, which is often used for braids. I also learned that diluted apple cider vinegar can break down the chemical and provide relief. Since I already had the braids in my hair, I took a bottle of apple cider vinegar and water and sprayed them all over the braids, focusing on my scalp, and let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes. I then rinsed out the solution and my skin was A-OKAY after that. I’ll be sure to do a separate post just about this easy, helpful tip!

I have a love-hate relationship with box braids, but it is still mostly loooove. Especially over time and after years of figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, I’m learning more ways to love them 🙂

What are your thoughts about box braids? Have you tried them? What was your experience? Let me know! 

xoxo Ash