Do Box Braids Damage Hair? Tips for Healthy Styling

Medically reviewed by Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Box braids are a popular hairstyle that not only offers versatility and longevity but also serves as a protective style for natural hair. However, a common concern about this hairdo is, "Do box braids damage hair?" Let's delve into the facts and myths surrounding this topic.

Do Box Braids Damage Hair?

Contrary to some beliefs, box braids do not inherently damage your hair. However, potential harm can occur if the braids are installed too tightly, left in for too long, or not cared for properly. Thus, the key to enjoying the benefits of box braids without compromising your hair's health lies in proper installation and maintenance.

Factors That Can Cause Damage

There are a few factors that can potentially cause hair damage when sporting box braids:

  • Tight Braids: If box braids are installed too tightly, they can strain the scalp, lead to hair breakage, and even cause damage to your edges.
  • Duration: Leaving your box braids in for more than 8 weeks can start damaging your hair, including causing breakage and shredding.
  • Improper Removal: Aggressive or incorrect removal of the braids can also harm your hair.

Preventive Measures for Healthy Box Braids

Here are some tips to help you enjoy your box braids while preventing potential damage:

  • Proper Installation: Ensure that your braids are not installed too tightly. If you feel discomfort or pain during the braiding process, it's a sign that the braids are too tight.
  • Regular Maintenance: Pay attention to regular hair care. Washing your hair properly, even with box braids, is crucial. Wet your hair completely, mix shampoo with water in a spray bottle, spray it on your scalp, in between the braids, and gently rub it in.
  • Prior Treatment: Before getting box braids, consider doing a scalp and protein treatment on dry, unwashed hair. Let these treatments sit on the hair for 30 minutes, then shampoo and deep condition with an intense moisture-based conditioner.
  • Timely Removal: Don't leave your braids in for too long. It's recommended to remove or redo your braids every 6-8 weeks to prevent damage.


So, do box braids damage hair? Not necessarily. When done and cared for correctly, box braids can serve as a beautiful protective style without causing harm to your hair. Remember to listen to your scalp, maintain regular care, and enjoy the versatility and beauty of your box braids.

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Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S. graduated from the Jinnah Sindh University in Karachi. He'll take the official medical licensing program in the US (USMLE) in September 2023. Bilal has a passion for research and has extensively fact-check and medically review articles under his name to make sure you have the most accurate information.