The legendary pop queen Janet Jackson stylishly pulled off a trend in her debut film Poetic Justice back in 1993, and the world has not been able to stop raving about it since! We’re talking about sexy small box braids – a hairstyle that has never in three decades gone out of fashion.
Very recently, more stars in pop culture – the likes of Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, Zoe Kravitz and Solange have also worn the style, which goes on to prove that box braids are indeed an evergreen trend. Especially during the Spring and Summer seasons, the style beautifully sends out tropical beachy vibes – perfect for the #hotgirlsummer moment.
Now if you’re thinking of getting box braids for yourself, here’s a handy guide about everything you need to know.
Now that you know what it takes to rock the hairstyle, here is a round-up of 45 sexy ways to style it.
45 small box braids hairstyles
1. Square Small Box Braids
The basic box braids style with a twist – the hair is sectioned off in squares and then the boxes are created with three sections of hair divided off. Here the stylist uses smaller squares or sections of hair to form the boxes, which gives a dense look to the style. The process might take some time but the results would be totally worth it.
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2. Micro Small Box Braids
The smaller the braids, the better! This style uses micro size boxes and braids throughout the length. This would look best with short to medium length hair.
3. Black Knotless Small Box Braids
No color beats black to really bring out the beauty of box braids. Put together a knotless style of braiding, where the hair sections are not knotted around first before braiding and you’ve got yourself the perfect vacay style. Unlike knotted styles, the braiding starts at the root and the hair is added using a feed-in technique.
4. Tall Blue Beads Small Box Braids
Add some more sass to your already sassy self with tall blue beads at the ends of your box braid strands. It adds a pop of color to your hair and plus, you can jiggle it around to let people know you’re coming.
5. Bold Brown Small Box Braids
Blacks are classic when it comes to small box braids, but why not style it in brown. Go for bolder, slightly bigger box braids in brown to make a statement.
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6. Half Head Box Small Box Braids
Here’s a subtler version of tight small box braids where the hair is parted in the middle and the boxes sectioned off are slightly bigger in size.
7. Small Box Braids With Starter Locks
Can you add dreadlocks to your box braids? Yes you can! Here are short dreads sectioned off with box braids, for the ultimate street look.
8. Pretty Long Small Box Braids
For ladies and gentlemen that love to rock long hair, here’s how pretty your hair can look if you opted for small box braids. For extra thickness though, your stylist may use extensions here. As long as it’s real human hair, maintenance will be easy peasy.
9. Brown Knotless Small Box Braids
To spice up the knotless long small braids look, you can go for brown or blonde colors. You can even try a mix of black and brown and colors for lovely highlights.
10. Tight Knotless Small Box Braids
Knotless braids typically have a less tight appearance at the roots as the hair is not knotted. If you wish to keep the tight look but do not want to put knots in your hair, here you have tight knotless small box braids too.
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11. Long Half Head Small Box Braids
Part your hair in the middle and go for slightly bigger boxes if you have beautiful long hair. It helps keep the focus on the length and doesn’t take away from the richness of that good full head of hair.
12. Small Box Big Braids
This is the perfect way to braid your hair when you already have thick, voluminous and dense hair. It would be easier for the stylist to section off bigger strands of hair and form slightly bigger braids through the length.
13. Rectangle Small Box Braids
The best thing about box braids is that you can play around with the box shape and the size of the braids as much as you want and come up with new ways to pull it off. Here’s a box braid hairstyle with rectangular sections of hair.
14. Green Grass Small Box Braids
Green to represent the envy that your friends are going to have with the way you carry off box braids. Especially if you have long hair, the green color will definitely amp up the beauty of your hair.
15. Loose Criss-cross Box Small Box Braids
If you’d like the crown of your hair to stay in place and not fall over your face, then this criss-cross style is what you should go for. It uses bigger boxed sections criss crossed to the back of your head where it falls into small box braids.
16. Bantus Knotted Small Box Braids
Bantu Knots are always super cute and comfortable to wear, with the hair neatly tucked up and away from the face. Couple them with small box braids and you’ve got the world’s first flyaway free hairstyle ever.
17. Backside Small Box Braids
This one’s for the bold and the brave hearts. It leaves the crown of the hair open, and the back of the hair knotted and braided. It would be perfect for people who have thin or less dense hair. The open crown would help not completely flatten out the front.
18. Multi Box Small Box Braids
The ways to play with the boxes of the braids never end. Here’s one where the hair is sectioned off in different sizes of boxes to give it an asymmetric look. This would especially look great for people with thick hair. It prevents the box braids from making the hair look too “neat”.
19. Black Bobbed Small Box Braids
The beauty of a chic mod style bob combined with the sass of small box braids. If you wish to maintain a bit of sophistication along with the edge of street style, bob is the style for you.
20. Pink Half Up Small Box Braids
A half up hairstyle always gives us those “mean girl” vibes. This Summer, why don’t you try a half up style in small box braids. Nothing like a refreshing new take on a classic hairstyle.
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21. Oily Shine Small Box Braids
Shiny lips, shiny lids and shiny everything is the new trend. Why not shiny box braids? This hairstyle uses criss crossed knots in the front to enhance that shiny scalp and small box braids at the back. The longer the braids at the back, the better the look.
22. Coffee Brown Small Box Braids
Imagine the rich color of coffee doing its magic on your hair! Coffee brown colored small box braids are another increasingly popular braid hairstyle that you can copy right now this Summer.
23. Knotted Square Small Box Braids
A simple variation of the small box braids hairstyle, this one uses defined knots and defined even squared sections of square to form braids. If you have an OCD for all things even, this one’s going to satisfy your soul.
24. Simple Small Box Braids
If you like to play safe with an edgy street style, then simple box braids would be the one to go for. There is no particular symmetry or defined shape for the sections of hair. The sheer flaws of human hand work shine through in this one.
25. Glam Small Box Braids
For this hairstyle, rectangular sections of hair are separated and knotted together to form glamorous criss crosses. At the back, they fall into stylish knotted small box braids. A little more effort for your stylist but a whole lot of glam for you.
26. Bantu Knot Small Box Braids
Apart from the shape of the boxes, another element you can play around with is the knot on the braids. Bantu knots are also used at the roots apart from the updos. If you’re up for a little more detail on your box braids, then this one is for you.
27. Box Bangs Small Box Braids
These braids stand a little loose and away from the roots. They’re also not knotted – perfect for those of you who like to further style box braids in different ways. Teenagers are sporting a half up half down style this Summer with box braids.
28. Golden Small Box Braids
Goldilocks has always been a trendsetter, especially among teenagers. Here’s a super stylish rendition of the small box braids in a rich golden color.
29. Tight Zip Small Box Braids
Small box braids look their finest when they are nice and tightly placed. Fashionistas with thick and dense hair can totally pull off tight braids without making it look completely flat. Here’s a version of tightly wound box braids that Gen Zers call the “zipper braid”.
30. Warm Small Box Braids
We got a style for loose box braids and we got a style for tighter braids. How about one in between?
Here are warm small box braids that neatly fall in fairly-tight-but-not-too-tight braids – a good option for those who hate the feeling of tension on their scalp.
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31. Reddish Black Small Box Braids
If you’re game to play with bright colors this season, then this is the style for you. Nice and tight small box braids in a cool combination of black and bright red hair. This style is sure to turn heads.
32. Soft Blonde Small Box Braids
Soft Blonde hair magically flatters every skin tone. That’s probably why we have a soft blonde version of the box braid trend rising in popularity this season. Go for simple box braids and let the color do the rest of the talking.
33. Deep Waves Small Box Braids
Anyone who loves to sport long box braids would love this style. We have neatly middle parted hair splitting into two sides of box braids from the front to the back. With waist length or hip length hair, it would look like beautiful deep waves.
34. Classic Janet Small Box Braids
A tribute to the very trend that the iconic Janet Jackson sported in the early 1990s; this style is a classic and authentic rendition of the same hairstyle. You might want to prep your hair well for this, because the braids are fairly tight.
35. Light Blonde Small Box Braids
If soft blonde is a little too soft for you, here’s a wackier version of the trend in lighter blonde. Go for an ombre style starting from dark brown or black to light blonde in tight small box braids to see a gorgeous transition.
36. Pony Length Small Box Braids
Long small box braids apart from being super stylish by themselves provide room for more styles because of their versatility. Among those styles is the classic high pony. You can also do half up ponytails and flaunt your inner Ariyana Grande in braids.
37. Copper Fade Small Box Braids
While bright red braids have made a statement of their own, we also have a close sister doing the rounds. Copper fade small box braids, where bright copper and black are combined to form ombre looks.
38. Big And Bold Small Box Braids
Up until now, we’ve been seeing the glam ups of the small box braid. Here’s a style for those of you who like things big and bold – bigger size braids with bigger size boxes. Certainly, a style to try this season.
39. Curly Small Box Braids
Adding to the endless possibilities of styling small box braids, here’s one for curly beauties. Ultra curly and thick hair when braided uncovers a whole new look – one that perhaps only a few can pull off well.
40. Multi Tone Small Box Braids
Classic small box braids, being fairly minimal and simplistic in appearance can be experimented with, especially in coloring. Two or three colors in the same family can add a beautiful tonal difference in the braids and makes a style statement.
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41. Highlighted Small Box Braids
Highlights are apparently not just for straight or wavy hair. You can go for classic combinations of highlight colors and simply opt for classic small box braids to pull an amazing braided hairstyle.
42. Burgundy Ombre Small Box Braids
Black and burgundy are no doubt a killer combo when it comes to hair color. Small box braids or even tiny tighter box braids in a black to burgundy ombre transition, gives a fuller more dense look to the braids.
43. Little Bling Small Box Braids
Box braids are indeed the epitome of chic street style. Amp it up with a little bit of bling – perhaps with beads or tiny steel cuffs for a sassier look. You can also place tiny beaded pins in between your braids randomly for a more asymmetric look.
44. Contrasting Root Small Box Braids
Adding a contrasting color to your outfit adds that pop when you step out. In the same way, adding a contrasting color to the roots of your small box braids makes your hairstyle absolutely stunning.
45. Small Box Braids With Top Knot
Top knots are mostly used among people with short to medium length hair. Here’s a unique idea – a voluminous top knot created with highlighted small box braids. That’s a combination of three elements making a kickass style statement.
What are small box braids?
As the name suggests, box braids are essentially three-stranded braids that appear more “boxy” as compared to standard braids. They are created out of small square shaped sections of hair divided into three strands each, which gives it the boxy appearance. It can be done using just your natural hair, however hair stylists also use extensions sometimes to add volume and thickness.
Do I need to prep my hair for box braids?
Since your hair is going to be put under quite a bit of tension for a few weeks or even months in a row, your hair definitely needs to be prepped and conditioned for the procedure. It’s also so that the process becomes a lot easier for the stylist. Ideally, your hair needs ample nourishment prior to your appointment, which means you need to prepare a day ahead. Stylists recommend a scalp and protein treatment, followed by deep conditioning with a heavy moisture-rich conditioner. Some stylists also recommend using heat over conditioner to make sure that the goodness of the products penetrates well into the roots.
Do small box braids require high maintenance?
The short answer would be no, box braids are typically considered a protective and low maintenance hairstyle, which is why it is recommended for vacations. However, there is of course a certain level of care required to keep the braids neat and beautiful.
Stylists advise using moisturizing oils a few times in a week, over nourishing shampoos every other week or so for the scalp. Post shower, you should ideally let your braids air dry, but if it’s absolutely necessary, you can also use a blow dryer, set to a cooler temperature.
That’s 45 new age styles of box braids starting from minimal and understated to super loud statement makers for you to try. Which ones out of these are your favorites and which ones are you going to try?
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