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box braids
Credit: Mike Harrington/Getty Images

One of the most popular and versatile protective styles there is, box braids are a fan favorite amongst naturalistas and curl friends who love to switch up their day-to-day styles without any additional time or effort. Not to mention, being able to oil, massage and treat your scalp while getting braided gives your hair the TLC it needs to remain healthy and strong. 

With the winter months rolling in and temperatures dropping, it’s time for us to provide some protective styling inspiration for box braids that will leave your natural hair feeling and looking fab. We have just what you need to put together your next styles—plus some tips and tricks for maintaining your braids for days to come. Check out some looks below.

1. Bantu Knots

Bantu Knots are usually used as a protective style or as a method to curl natural hair into a desired style. The knots which originated in Africa, are a quick and fun style that can also easily be achieved while wearing box braids. Start off by parting your braids into sections—if you desire smaller knots, use your fingers to place four to six braids in each section, but if You want larger knots, you can use a bigger quantity. To complete each knot, twist the braids together until they form a longer braid- like section, and secure the knot with a rubber band or scrunchie. 

2. Color Rubber Bands

Sometimes, less is more. This look only requires colorful rubber bands—just se your fingers to tie the bands throughout your hair. You can use multiple colors, or choose your favorite hue and stick to it. You can also use braid jewelry like hair cuffs to jazz up your hair for an extra boost of color.

3. Knotless

A more recently popular box braid style, knotless braids give the illusion of weightless braids that, contrary to the traditional box braid, are braided without knotting the hair at your scalp at the start. If you ever feel like switching things up, leave some braiding hair at the tips of each braid to be curled. Try using a setting foam like LottaBody Setting Lotion to set your ends before curling with small perm rods. Perfect your look with LottaBody Edge Gel to slick your edges.

4. Colorful Braids

This option will give your look the boost it needs to really speak to your personal style. If you’re looking for a bright color that is bound to turn heads, try blue, red or even purple braiding hair. You can even mix and match! Ask your stylist if it’s possible to feed in different colors throughout the braided sections of your hair for a rainbow look.

5. Bob Braids

Box braids styled into a bob will always and forever be a nostalgic favorite amongst braid lovers. For the ultimate ‘90s look, section off the top part of your braids from the beginning of your hairline to the middle (or the mid-section of the top part depending on the size of your braids) and use a white or colorful satin scrunchie to tie your braids into a half up/half down look. Voila! 

6. Jumbo Braids

You truly can never go wrong with jumbo braids. And if you’d rather wear fewer braids with the same amount of fashionability, this look is for you. You can wear this style with a full head of jumbo braids or parted down the middle with four to six braids on each side of the part.

7. Ombré Braids

We get it—making a decision on the best color for your hair can be overwhelming. So, when in doubt, try ombré. Ombré box braids can give you the pop of color you’re looking for in an array of hues that transition into each other. The best part is, no additional work is needed, as you can purchase ombré braiding hair directly from a beauty supply store near you or online. Jazz this style up with some hair jewelry to get an extra bit of spice in your look.