The Optimal Length of Time to Keep Braids In

Keeping braids in

If you’re a newbie braider or just a lazy braider like me, you might find yourself wondering long you need to keep your braids without damaging your hair or looking like a crazy person. A protective hairstyle for one would lose its purpose and in turn, do the opposite if you keep it longer than you should. 

Knotless box braids
Instagram / @bellanaijastyles

Scenarios of braided hairstyles that have been kept in for a month, two, three, and even six! But all with a different outcome. However, there are a few connected factors regarding the longevity of braids and how long are long enough while yet maintaining the health of our hair. 

Most times, we want to get a run for our money, and prioritizing hair health stays far away. Braids, especially one that isn’t adequately cared for, tends to accumulate dirt, oils, and product buildup over time. This matter accumulates and leaves behind a residue at the roots of the braids which makes unraveling not the easiest thing to do and can facilitate a big chop if proper caution isn’t exercised.

What Happens When You Keep Your Braids in Too Long?

One of the more long-lasting hairstyles is the braid, but they don’t endure indefinitely. It may seem like a good idea to keep it longer, but doing so might harm your hair and cause breakage, thinning edges, and even traction alopecia. Your braids have a higher chance of mattifying the longer you leave them in.

They might even begin to lock up if you leave them for too long. It might take hours to untangle matted hair, and it can get so terrible that you might think of chopping it all together. Make sure you only wear your braids for the amount of time advised to avoid this. 

How Long Can You Keep Braids In?

Stitch braids
Instagram / @negatray

There are a ton of beautiful braided hairstyles to choose from. We’ll outline some of the most popular braids’ durations below. Remember that the duration of your braids will vary depending on the style, the texture of your natural hair, and how well you maintain the style.

In general, we advise a 6 to an 8-week time interval and proper hair upkeep. But as was already mentioned, the longevity of braids can vary depending on the style in question and how well it is maintained.

It is important to note that however long you decide to keep your braids should be a function of we’ll your hair is cared for, and what you want.

Regular Box Braids

Box braids are known for their timeless appeal and boxy-shaped sections. How long they last is another thing altogether, due to the knotted look regular box braids have been reported to last for an average of 8 to 12 weeks however factors such as size, thickness, hair texture, quality of the braiding hair extensions, and stylist skill levels come to play and not too forget maintenance routine. 

However smaller to micro regular braids tend to last considerably longer than medium to larger sizes.

Knotless Braids

Knotless braids happen to be a rave at the moment due to their natural aesthetic and painlessness. It, however, has a longer installation process. How long does it last? Knotless braids, in general, last an average of 4 to 8 weeks, with the smaller braids being the former and larger the latter.

Feed-in Braids

Braids that employ the feed-in technique such as ghana braids, stitch braids, Fulani braids, and the like have a shorter lasting period. They typically last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks and that depends on the intricacy of the hairstyle, hair texture, braiding hair extensions, and stylist expertise.


Cornrows are rows of French braids that are anchored to your scalp. Cornrow braids aren’t as versatile and offer limited styling options. Interestingly, cornrows can be achieved with or without braiding hair extensions. 

Cornrows can last for up to 4 weeks with braiding hair extensions and 1 to 2 weeks without. And, although cornrows are usually braided in straight lines that run from the front of your head to the back, you can get them in any size, shape, pattern, or direction. 

 Twist Braids

You might argue that twists aren’t exactly braids, and you’re probably right. But twist braids are braided hairstyles that begin as braids at the root and end as twists. Twisted braids typically require braiding hair extensions and offer versatility with hairstyling. They last longer depending on the texture of braiding hair used and your hair and last an average of six to eight weeks. 

Tips for Longer Lasting Braids

Although braids frequently last for weeks, after the first few days they may begin to show signs of wear. Here are some of our preferred methods for keeping braids looking good for several weeks.

  • Wear a Scarf or Bonnet When You Sleep: One of the most crucial—yet often ignored—aspects of maintaining a braided hairstyle is protecting your braids at night. Traditional cotton pillowcases are scratchy and absorb moisture from your hair while you sleep on them. Frizz may also result from it. For optimal results, wear a silk scarf or bonnet over your hair at night.
  • Moisture Your Hair: Your braids will appear better the healthier and more moisturized your hair is. You might even be able to wear it for one or two more weeks. Moisturizing the braiding hair will also keep it pliable and silky. Lightweight oils can be used to massage your scalp, promoting blood flow to the hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Additionally, apply a leave-in conditioner. This would provide all-day-long hydration.
  • Less frequent hair washing prevents the fuzzy appearance of your braids. You should still make sure that your hair and scalp are clean, though. Strike a balance between washing your braids frequently enough and insufficiently. This usually entails washing braids every two weeks for the majority of people.
  • Avoid Tight Styles: Over-manipulating your braids would not only encourage frizz but also a condition called traction alopecia which is hair loss caused by excessive pressure brought on the scalp and hair, and thinning edges. It is advised you take it down a notch with your styling and when you do ensure you’re not pulling tightly at the braids.
  • Keep a braid spray on hand: Frizz is a typical problem with braids; regardless of how sleek or neat the braids are, frizz is guaranteed to appear, and a braid spray is necessary to contain it to ensure the life of the braid.
  • Keep your Edges on Fleek: If you nail your edges, your braids will have all the enhancements they require. Edge smoothers, such as hair conditioner, gel, or cream, make it simple to get neat, precisely laid edges that enhance the braids’ aesthetic appeal. To avoid white areas and product buildup, you will need to slow down the application procedure.

There you have it, then! While the durability of braids varies based on the particular style, the majority are quite durable. Depending on the braids you select, the type of hair you have, and how well you take care of them, your braids may last longer or shorter. Following the above care tips outlined above would help in extending the lifespan of the braids while maintaining the health of the hair.

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