How to Choose the Right Box Braid Size for You

Box Braid Size

As a proud black girl who adores her crown of glorious tresses, I have found my ultimate love in box braids. These mesmerizing strands of beauty have not only become a fashion statement but a celebration of my culture and a powerful expression of my identity. From the moment I discovered the magic of box braids, I knew I had found my go-to hairstyle, a true embodiment of confidence, style, and versatility.

Box braids

Box braids come in a myriad of sizes and lengths and I’ve found myself astounded by the options I have whenever I visit the salon. I mean you could really get stuck on choosing a style if you did not pick one beforehand.

So, join me as we dive into the world of box braid sizes, lengths, patterns, and partings. Discover the versatility and endless styling possibilities that come with these enchanting braids.

Common Braid Sizes

Box braid sizes
Image credit: Thechanteexperience

I used to think there were only 3 sizes until box braids exposed me to a world of sizes I didn’t even know were a thing. Get ready to learn about all the box braid sizes you can get.

Micro Box Braids

Micro Box Braids

Micro box braids, the smallest size of box braids, are adored for their delicate and intricate appearance. These braids are typically less than a quarter-inch in thickness and can be styled in various lengths, offering flexibility and customization. However, due to their small size, installing micro box braids requires a longer time compared to larger sizes.

In terms of durability, micro box braids have a longer lifespan, often lasting anywhere from six to eight weeks with proper maintenance. Comparatively, larger box braids may last slightly shorter due to the weight and tension on the hair.

The primary difference between regular box braids and micro braids lies in their size and thickness. While micro box braids are extremely thin and delicate, regular box braids have a larger diameter. This distinction affects the overall look, styling versatility, and the time required for installation.

Installing micro box braids demands patience and precision, which translates to a longer time commitment. On average, it can take anywhere from eight to twelve hours, depending on the length and thickness desired. It’s essential to allocate enough time and ensure a comfortable environment during the braiding process.

Despite their aesthetic appeal, micro braids come with a few disadvantages. The main concern is the increased risk of hair breakage or damage, as the small size of the braids can exert tension on the hair shaft. There’s also the risk of Traction Alopecia.

Traction Alopecia is a form of hair loss caused by excessive tension and pulling on the hair follicles, which can occur with tightly braided hairstyles like micro braids.

The tightness of micro braids, especially around the hairline, can put a strain on the hair follicles and lead to breakage and thinning of the hair. So DO NOT try this hairstyle if your edges or hair are susceptible to breakage. There are other more suitable hairstyles to hide thin edges.

Another downside is that the installation process can be time-consuming and requires a skilled braider for optimal results.

Proper hair care is crucial for maintaining the integrity of micro braids. While you can shower with micro braids, it’s important to be gentle and use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid excessive drying or frizz. Drying the braids thoroughly is essential to prevent odor or mildew.

Small Box Braids

Small Box Braids

Not quite ready to commit to micro braids? Small braids are the next best thing.

Small box braids, slightly larger than micro braids, have gained popularity among individuals seeking a stylish and manageable hairstyle. Typically ranging from a quarter-inch to half-inch in thickness, small box braids strike a balance between a polished appearance and practicality, making them suitable for a wide range of hair lengths and textures.

When it comes to the time required for installation, small box braids generally take a shorter duration compared to micro braids. On average, it can take around six to eight hours to complete a full head of small box braids, depending on the complexity of the desired style and the speed of the braider.

To achieve small box braids, proper parting of the hair is essential. Start by sectioning the hair into neat and equal parts using a rat-tail comb. For small box braids, the partings should be smaller than those used for larger-sized braids. Take your time to ensure precise and consistent partings, as this will contribute to the overall neatness and uniformity of the braids.

It’s worth mentioning that although small box braids offer a refined look, there is an even smaller size known as extra small box braids. Extra small box braids are not the same as micro braids, as they are still larger in size. They provide a more intricate and detailed appearance, perfect for those who desire a highly intricate and statement-making hairstyle.

Medium Box Braids

Medium Box Braids

These are probably the most popular box braid size. Medium box braids offer a versatile and adaptable option that complements various hair types and lengths. Typically ranging from half an inch to three-quarters of an inch in thickness, medium box braids strike a balance between a natural appearance and manageable maintenance, making them a popular choice for many individuals.

Determining what is considered medium box braids depends on personal preference and the desired thickness of the braids. As a general guide, medium box braids are thicker than small box braids and thinner than large or jumbo box braids. The width of the individual braids contributes to their medium-sized classification.

When it comes to the time required for installation, medium box braids typically take shorter than smaller sizes. On average, it can take approximately five to seven hours to complete a full head of medium box braids. The exact duration depends on factors such as the complexity of the desired style, the thickness of the hair, and the skill level of the braider.

The number of braids required for medium box braids varies depending on factors such as the thickness of the individual’s hair and the desired fullness of the hairstyle. Generally, a range of 40 to 80 braids is common for medium box braids. However, this can vary based on personal preference and the desired end result.

Determining the ideal size for box braids depends on personal preference, hair type, and the desired style. If you’re looking for a balance between a natural appearance and manageable maintenance, medium box braids may be a suitable choice.

Large Box Braids

Large Box Braids

If you’re in search of big braid sizes, large box braids are the perfect choice. These large braids are thicker and more prominent compared to medium sizes, ranging from three-quarters of an inch to an inch in thickness. Large box braids offer a bold and statement-making look that turns heads wherever you go. They are favored by individuals who desire a voluminous and eye-catching hairstyle.

The number of braids in large box braids varies depending on factors such as the thickness of the individual’s hair and the desired fullness of the hairstyle. On average, you can expect around 20 to 40 braids for a full head of large box braids. However, this can be adjusted to achieve the desired density and volume.

In terms of longevity, larger box braids tend to last longer compared to smaller sizes. The thickness of the braids provides added durability, and with proper care and maintenance, large box braids can last anywhere from six to ten weeks.

Contrary to what one might assume, jumbo box braids actually require more time to install compared to smaller sizes. Due to their larger size, the braiding process for jumbo box braids can be more time-consuming. The exact duration depends on factors such as hair thickness, the desired length, and the expertise of the braider.

The installation time for large box braids can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. On average, it can take approximately three to five hours to complete a full head of large box braids.

While large box braids do offer a bold and striking look, it’s worth noting that they can be heavier compared to smaller sizes. The added volume and thickness of the braids contribute to the overall weight. It’s essential to consider your hair’s tolerance and ensure that the weight of the braids does not cause discomfort or excessive tension on the scalp.

The number of hair bundles needed for large box braids depends on factors such as the desired length, thickness, and the volume of the style. On average, three to five packs of braiding hair are commonly used for a full head of large box braids. However, the exact number may vary based on personal preferences and the desired outcome.

Jumbo Box Braids

Jumbo Box Braids

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve likely come across the captivating trend of jumbo box braids. These braids represent the largest size of box braids and are known for their thick and chunky appearance. With a thickness of an inch or more, jumbo box braids deliver a bold and striking hairstyle that commands attention wherever you go. It’s no wonder they have gained popularity for their ability to create a dramatic and standout look.

When it comes to their longevity, jumbo box braids can last for an extended period of time. With proper care and maintenance, these braids can stay intact for six to eight weeks or even longer. Regular maintenance, such as moisturizing the scalp and braids, avoiding excessive tension or pulling, and protecting the braids during sleep, can help prolong their lifespan.

The installation time for jumbo box braids can vary depending on various factors, including the skill level of the braider and the desired length and thickness of the braids. On average, it can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete a full head of jumbo box braids. The process may be time-consuming due to the larger size and the intricacy involved in achieving the desired style.

One common concern regarding jumbo box braids is whether they cause damage to the hair. While any hairstyle, when done improperly or without proper care, can potentially damage the hair, jumbo box braids themselves do not inherently cause damage. It is essential to ensure that the braids are installed correctly, without excessive tension or pulling on the hair follicles. Additionally, proper hair care practices, such as regular moisturizing, avoiding heavy manipulation, and gentle detangling, can help minimize the risk of damage.

Box Braid Lengths

There are different Box braid lengths available. The length of box braids can dramatically impact the look and appeal of the hairstyle. Here are some common box braid lengths:

Short Box Braid Length


 Short box braids

I call these ‘no hassle braids’. Short box braids are typically shoulder-length or above. These braids are often chosen for their low maintenance and practicality, making them suitable for individuals who prefer shorter hairstyles or want to protect their natural hair while maintaining a manageable length.

Medium Box Braid Length

Medium box braids

Medium box braids typically fall anywhere between shoulder-length and mid-back length. They offer a balance between a shorter and longer style, providing enough length for creative styling while remaining relatively easy to maintain.

Long / Waist Length Box Braid

Long box braids

This is the go-to hair if you like to style your hair creatively. Long box braids extend beyond the mid-back and can reach waist-length or even longer.

These braids offer a glamorous and eye-catching look, allowing for various styling options such as updos, ponytails, and intricate braided hairstyles.

Extra Long Box Braid Length

Extra Long Box Braid Length

These are for people who like everything extra! Extra-long box braids are the longest length option, often extending well beyond the waist.

These braids make a strong visual impact and are favored by those who want to make a bold statement with their hairstyle. Extra long box braids can be styled in various ways and offer versatility in terms of creating unique and elaborate looks.

Box Braids Sizes and Length Combos

Now let’s delve into the different sizes and length combos you can get.

Medium Short Box Braids

Medium Short Box Braids

Medium short box braids combine the medium thickness with a shorter length, usually falling around shoulder length. This combination offers a practical and stylish option for those who desire a manageable hairstyle that is not too long or too heavy.

Small Long Box Braids

Small Long Box Braids

Small long box braids feature the smaller size of braids combined with a longer length, extending beyond the mid-back or even reaching waist-length and beyond. This combination creates a sleek and elegant look while providing ample length for styling versatility.

Small Medium Box Braid (Smedium Box Braids)

Smedium Box Braids

Smedium box braids refer to a balance of small and medium-sized braids. These braids are often around a quarter-inch to half-inch in thickness and fall somewhere between shoulder-length and mid-back length. Smedium box braids offer a balanced and versatile option that is suitable for various hair textures and personal preferences.

Long Jumbo Box Braids

Long Jumbo Box Braids

Long jumbo box braids combine the boldness and thickness of jumbo braids with an extended length that goes beyond the mid-back or waist. This combination creates a statement-making hairstyle that is voluminous and attention-grabbing, allowing for bold and creative styling options.

Box Braid Patterns and Parting

Your stylist might ask what type of parttern or parting you want to get for your box braids. I’ve seen some crazy creative patterns and partings but these are the most common:

Cornrow Box Braids

Cornrow Box Braids

The Cornrow box braid combo is a variation of traditional cornrow box braids. Cornrow box braids involve creating cornrows at the base of the scalp and then transitioning into box braids. This technique combines the sleekness of cornrows with the individuality and versatility of box braids, resulting in a unique and visually appealing hairstyle.

Giant Jumbo Box Braids

Giant Jumbo Box Braids

If you want to dash in and out of the salon, this might be for you. Giant jumbo box braids are an exaggerated version of jumbo braids, featuring extremely thick and chunky braids. These braids create a bold look. However, be careful because they might be weighty!

Crochet Box Braids

Crochet box braids

Crochet box braids involve using the crochet braiding technique to install the box braids. This method provides a quicker and more efficient way to achieve box braids, as the hair is looped through the cornrows using a crochet needle. Crochet box braids offer a time-saving alternative while still achieving a stylish and natural-looking result.

Triangle Box Braids

Triangle Box Braids

Triangle box braids refer to a specific parting technique where the hair is divided into triangular sections, creating a geometric pattern. This pattern adds visual interest and uniqueness to the hairstyle, providing a fresh and modern twist to traditional box braids.

Neat Box Braids

Neat Box Braids

Neat box braids emphasize precise partings and neat sections. This can be achieved with small, medium, or long box braids, depending on the desired length and thickness. Neat box braids offer a polished and well-organized look, showcasing the intricate details and craftsmanship of the braiding technique.

Box braids are a stunning hairstyle choice that allows for creativity, versatility, and self-expression. Whether you opt for micro, small, medium, large, or jumbo braids, each size offers its own distinct beauty. With an array of lengths, patterns, and partings to choose from, box braids provide endless possibilities for embracing your individuality and showcasing your cultural heritage. So, let your box braids be a testament to your style, confidence, and love for your roots.

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