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Can You Get Box Braids Wet? | Here’s What Happens

Box braids are a fantastic protective hairstyle for natural hair. They can last for weeks and help keep your hair moisturized and free from tangles; but, can you get box braids wet?

Can You Get Box Braids Wet?

You can get box braids wet. However, there are defense measures that you need to take to keep the hairstyle fresh. But first, you should know the basics about the style.

Box braids are considered a productive hairstyle because they encase your hair in a protective layer. As long as you maintain them, they won’t get frizzy, even when you get them wet. Box braids protect your hair from the elements, so you can swim, work out, and even cleanse your hair without stressing about your hairstyle.

If you are someone who gets your hair wet often, box braids lower the amount of combing and brushing you have to do to your hair, which also helps to prevent breakage.

To avoid damaging your box braids, you should keep a few things in mind. This guide will cover what happens when you get your box braids wet and how to maintain them.

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What Happens When You Get Your Box Braids Wet?

When you get your box braids wet, the hair can become frizzy. In some cases, they can start to loosen, especially when you keep them moist for prolonged periods.

If you frequently get your hair wet, it is best to put your hair up in a bun or clip it back. It will help keep your hair in place and protect it while you swim or shower. Here’s what to do when you get your hair wet.

Squeeze Out the Excess Water

Never let your box braids drip dry. Depending on how long your braids are, drying could take over 24 hours. You can squeeze out the excess water with your hands to speed up the process. You can also use a dry cotton towel to soak up the moisture. It will also protect your hair until you wash it.

Wash Your Hair Gently

If you are in a pool or any other body of water that contains chlorine, it is essential to wash your hair as soon as possible. Chlorine can cause your hair to become dry and brittle. To avoid this, gently wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.

You can also use a clarifying shampoo to remove any build-up from products or minerals. Do this with extreme caution to prevent your braids from loosening. Mix your shampoo with water beforehand, so you don’t use so much shampoo directly on your scalp.

Read Next: Does Chlorine Damage Your Hair?

Apply a Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner

After you have cleansed your hair, apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. It will help to keep your hair hydrated and prevent it from becoming frizzy. Add a few drops of hydrating oil to your leave-in conditioner. It will help to keep your scalp healthy and moisturized.

Let Your Hair Air Dry

After removing excess water from your hair:

  • Let it air dry. If you have the time, allow your hair to air dry completely before putting it up in a bun or clip.
  • If pressed for time, use a diffuser on a low heat setting to speed up the process.
  • Try not to make the use of heat a regular thing as it can dry out your hair.

How to Maintain Your Box Braids

Now that you know what happens when you get your box braids wet, it is time to learn how to maintain them. Proper care will help increase the life of your braids and keep them looking fresh.

Sleep With a Silk Scarf or Bonnet

It is best to sleep with a silk scarf or bonnet to prevent your box braids from frizzing overnight. It will aid in keeping your hair smooth and prevent it from tangling. Most of the lint and hair that builds up comes from sleeping on a cotton pillowcase. Silk helps to reduce friction and keeps your hair in place.

Wear Your Hair Up

When you are not wearing your hair down, it is best to keep it up in a bun or clip. It will help not only prevent your hair from picking up debris or getting frizzy, but it will prevent you from constantly touching it. Touching your hair is normal for some people, but it can cause your hair to loosen over time.

Do Not Overwash Your Hair

Box braids can last over two months if properly maintained. However, they don’t need to get washed every other day. Washing them every two to three weeks using the above steps doesn’t strip the hair of its natural oils. In fact, it is best not to wash your braids too often, as it can cause them to become dry and brittle.

Keep Your Scalp Healthy

A healthy scalp is important for two reasons. First, it helps to prevent dandruff which can build up in your braids and cause them to become frizzy. Second, a healthy scalp will help to ensure that your hair follicles are healthy and can continue to grow healthy hair. 

To keep your scalp healthy, eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is vital. You can use a scalp massager to help stimulate blood flow to the area.

Read Next: How to Fix Braids That Became Frizzy

Use the Right Products

You don’t need tons of products to keep your box braids looking their best. Using too many products can cause more harm than good. Stick to using a leave-in conditioner and maybe a light oil to keep your hair hydrated. The best oils for a healthy scalp are coconut oil, jojoba oil, and almond oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman with box braids looking at a building away from the reader for a piece titled can you get box braids wet

Nat Thanapohn/Shutterstock

Below are frequent inquiries about maintaining your box braids when you get them wet.

How do you shower with box braids?

You can use a shower cap to avoid getting your box braids wet every time you shower. It will help to keep your braids dry and prevent them from getting frizzy. You can also pin them up and try to avoid putting your head under the water if possible.

Can box braids turn into dreads?

Box braids will not turn into dreads on their own. However, if you don’t take care of them properly or keep them in too long, they can become matted and tangled. It can lead to a dreadlock-like appearance.

Do bigger or smaller box braids last longer?

The size of the box braid does not affect how long it will last. The key to making them last is proper care and maintenance.

Do box braids help your hair grow?

Some say that box braids help their hair grow, while others don’t notice a difference. The bottom line is that box braids are not a magical solution for hair growth. They only serve as a protective style to prevent exposure to elements and over-styling.

Why do my braids itch so much?

Itching is normal when you first get box braids. It happens due to the hair getting pulled tight and the new hair growth pushing against the scalp. The itching will usually subside after a few days as your scalp adjusts to the new style.

So, Can You Get Box Braids Wet?

Yes, you can get box braids wet, but it is best to avoid doing so if possible. If you get them wet, squeeze out excess water and let them air dry.

You should also avoid using harsh chemicals or heat styling tools, which can damage the hair. Your box braids can last several weeks with the proper care tips above. Happy swimming!