Box Braids Revisited

Y’all might remember my first attempt at doing and wearing box braids. Did these (picture right) back in May. My intent was to do something similar to what T’Keyah Crystal Kemah does with her hair when she wears box braids. You know, the actress who played the mom in That’s So Raven and was also a Fly Girl on In Living Color. Her braids were always beautiful and professional.

T’Keyah Crystal Kemah, the mom on Disney's "That's So Raven" obviously a very different texture than my hair.

Well, as you can see, mine didn’t quite turn out that way. From what I can tell, there’s a huge texture difference so my braids and my hair in general is NOT going to look like hers. She’s gotta be a 4A-ish texture. Mine on the other hand is a coarse-feeling/looking 4B. That obviously makes a difference in the way her hair behaves/looks and the way mine behaves/looks. So quite frankly, although I rocked them anyway, dispite the fact that I wasn’t 100% happy with them, I vowed I’d keep experimenting to find a way to wear box braids that complimented me and my texture.

Now the lesson that I had to relearn is that you have to be careful when you save someone else’s photo of a hair style that you’d like to eventually imitate. I can look at T’Keyah Crystal Kemah’s hair and plainly see that her texture is different from my own. That means my hair, my finished style mos def was NOT going to look like hers. In the back of my mind, I knew this, yet I was still disappointed. It’s one of the reasons that I focus primarily on looking at women whose hair most closely resembles my own. That way, if I find a style that I want to copy or modify, I have a pretty good idea of what my finished hair will look like and not get caught up in being disappointed because my hair can’t live up to the original inspiration.

Anyhoo, about a month ago, I decided to give box braids another try. As you look at my braids, you can see that they don’t like to lay flat and tend to curl up and not necessarily in a very flattering way. So what to do with these things? I also, had to consider that how my hair was parted would play a big role in how they looked on me as well. As a result, these two things would be my biggest challenge with my next set of braids.

Not sure why this turned out a little better than my first efforts. But I liked it a whole lot more than my first try.

As usual, the last time I took my hair all the way down for a marathon wash and detangle session, I soooo wasn’t in the mood for a new set of intricately styled twists. And truth be told, I’ve been wearing twists for four years as a staple style, and I’ve grown very tired of them. So that set the stage for my newest attempt at box braids. And this is what I initially came up with.

I’m not sure why, but this looks a lot better than the first try. It’s practically the same parting. The only thing I did do differently was to pull them back with a barrette and tie my head up at night. It gave it a sort of tapered look that I like a whole lot better. But still…I wasn’t feeling this 100 percent either.

I'm really feeling this. I could wear my hair like this for the rest of the winter.

So the next thing I did was to find a long skinny, jeweled barrette that I purchased at Walgreens a couple of years ago. I pulled the braids back with the barrette and pin curled the ends. I tied it down for the night and hoped for the best. And what I got the next morning, I really, really liked and ended up wearing my hair like that for the next week.

But was I satisfied….nooooo. This weekend, I decided to make that top row of braids in the back and the braids in the front/top/sides a bit smaller. I ended up with about 21 braids instead of the original 18. Did the same pin curl thing to all of my ends and tied it down. This morning, I kinda held my breath for the unveiling. Would I finally have a box braid look that I loved? Something I could rock for any occasion?

I’m really hoping box braids will put less stress on my edges than twists did and put an end to the breakage I’ve been battling along my hairline for nearly my entire adult life.

IMG_1090.jpg Box Braid Pony5 picture by Nappyme

The answer…(taking of my scarf)…is…YES! I love it! So here it is. I think it’s sooooooo cute! I plan to wear these hopefully for another couple of weeks before I switch up the parting in order to prevent stress breakage along the parts. In the mean time, I’m going to moisturize and tie my hair down at night to fight off the frizzies and help the curled ends to lay flat. I’ll rinse as necessary. And that should be it. I think it’s a gorgeous protective style that I could wear for practically any occasion.

IMG_1094.jpg Box Braid Pony2 picture by Nappyme

IMG_1085-1.jpg picture by Nappyme

At last…I’m a happy, box braid camper! And practice makes perfect. LOL!

IMG_1087.jpg Box Braid Pony7 picture by Nappyme

IMG_1086.jpg Box Braid Pony8 picture by Nappyme

IMG_1093.jpg Box Braid Pony3 picture by Nappyme

16 Responses to “Box Braids Revisited”
  1. nappiejean says:

    I’ll take a risk to say, not only should one not become overly attached to photos of hair that’s radically different in texture from one’s own. I’ve decided that even if our textures are the same, not to expect the style to look the same on me at fifty as it does on a hair model who’s in her 20s or 30s.

    Let’s be honest: T’Keyah Crystal Kemah is young and drop dead gorgeous. It doesn’t matter what hairstyle she’s sporting. Neither goddess braids nor box braids is gonna look the same on me as it does on her, even though our textures are similar (though not the same).

    Which explains why I find myself these days on the hunt for images of older women (in their 40s and beyond) with natural hair. I love the sassy looks of young nappies, but I take heart in photos of natural hair women with faces that say “I’ll take wise over cute anyday”

    • nappyme says:

      I hear ya on that. Problem is I can hardly find anyone my age…our age…sporting and styling longer nappy hair. Most women our age with our texture are either relaxed or weaved up. If they’re natural, they tend to wear their hair shorter or have yet to grow their hair longer.

      With regard to T’Keyah Crystal Kemah, she’s actually not as young as you think. I checked out her age on the Internet Movie Database ( and she was born in 1962. That’s only two years younger than me and only three years younger than you. Miss thing has been around for quite awhile, so I didn’t really think she was all THAT young.

      As a black woman she’s got it like that. As we all know black don’t crack. Then add natural hair to the equation, with no gray taboot…then consider that she is drop dead gorgeous and still has that dancer’s bod going on and yeah, she looks like she’s in her thirties. And like you say, it really doesn’t matter how she wears her hair cause she’s going to look major fabulous.

      With regard to what looks good on me, I tend to stay away from the trendy stuff, like fro hawks, freaky colors etc. I’d wear my hair loose in twistouts and puffs but I find those to be too high maintenance and not at all good for my hair. But other than that, for the most part, I consider most anything else (if my hair cooperates and it flatters me) fair game. I guess I don’t really consider too many styles to be age INAPROPRIATE — if I did, I’d be kinda SOL. About the only thing I won’t wear are cornrows (never liked them on me) and bantu knots. But if I could find someone that could hook me up to my satifaction, I’d probably wear those too!

      With that said, because our hair is sooooo versatile, I think we’re only limited by our imagination.

  2. Anna Renee says:

    Hi NappyMe! The box braids look fab! Once my hair grows long enough, Id consider diagonal parts with them. On the other hand, probably too young a style for me. I’ll be 49 in about 5 days! Farewell 40’s! Sigh. Anyway, your hair is sooooo looooong! How long now? 17 or 18 inches?

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Anna! Thanks. Glad you like them. Well if you think YOU’RE too old for a similar box braid style then I am too. I turned 49 back in October.

      How long? I’m still struggling to reach 16 inches I think. Been trying to get to 18 FOREVER. I’m hoping these box braids will be a great length retaining protective style. We’ll see. I wish I could find someone who could part my hair in a flattering way cause I can’t really do it. If I could find a picture of something I like I might be inclined to try it. Have to stay on the look out for someone with larger box braids with some creative parting…not too fancy though or I wouldn’t be able to duplicate it.

  3. Anna Renee says:

    Hi Nappyme! I found a young woman who’s hair is almost as long as yours and she’s rocking some nice box braids! Nice diagonal parts, too!
    Check her out, if you havent already!

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Anna,
      Good looking out! Too funny, I think we must have dicovered that pic of Ini at about the same time. I googled “parting box braids” yesterday and found the pics.

      She’s one of my favorite online nappy people and I’ve been following her blogs and websites for about four years. She’s one of my major nappy inspirations.

      Ini has always been so creative and willing to experiment with her hair. I like the idea of trying diagonal parts.

      Anyhoo, if you run across anything else, let me know.


  4. Ms-gg says:

    Hey Nappyme! I am lovin the box braids! I know you are loving the freedom of the box braids because they are just so easy to work with and last longer than twists!

    I did a funky parting thing back in early 2007. I know you are looking for big braids, but the parting is still something you could work with on big braids:

  5. nappyme says:

    Ms-gg your short box braids are adorable! Man how I wish I’d had the online resources that are available today back when I first went natural. I distinctly remember taking down my waist-length micros, washing and plaiting my hair up and letting it air dry before getting it rebraided the following day. At the time I had about 4 inches of healthy new growth. And I was looking in the mirror at it wishing there was some way that I could wear my own hair and NOT have to put the extension braids back in. I hadn’t seen my hair sans relaxer for about 20 years and I was really happy to have a head full of healthy hair for the first time in two decades.

    Anyhoo, looking at how cute your hair was in those short box braids, just reminds me of how critical it is for new naturals to have the online resources that shows how beautiful our hair can be — even when it’s short. I’m almost positive that had known about the online natural hair world back then, I’d have not spent the next THREE years under pounds of fake hair.

    Thanks for those pics. I know I’ll never do braids that small, but how your parted your hair does seem to have possibilities for me.


  6. Dany06 says:

    T’Keyah does have a book and describes how she and other do certain hairstyles. I agree with others that your box braids came out nicely this go around. It doesn’t really seem like you need any help this time around. Just check out her book if you want to try some of her other styles. I dont have it yet, but from reviews and excerpts it seems like a book I would invest in.

    • nappyme says:

      Dany thanks, glad you concur that they came out a lot better this time. And also thanks for the heads up about T’Keyah’s book. When I get a chance, I’ll see if they have either Borders or Barnes and Noble can order it in for me. I’d love to have more details bout her styles.

  7. Tazz says:

    Have you seen or tried the Trini Braids?

    • nappyme says:

      Nope… Can’t say that I have. So you just gone make me google this huh?

    • nappyme says:

      Ok… I googled it, and I have to say that Mireille Liong owner of Going Natural (and one of my very first natural inspirations) looked absolutely lovely in her Trini braids. Very regal and queen like. But then again, she’s a beautiful woman anyway, and looks gorgeous no matter how she wears her hair. Here’s the link: for anyone who’s interested.

      They looked like goddess braids to me but they are apparently, somehow different.

      Looks like it would stress my hair line out horribly and be hard to sleep in as well. They also look like they’d my my scalp and skin itch.

      As much as I’d love to try them if I ever got a chance, I fear they’d be a waste of my money. The last time I had extention hair braided into my own was two weeks before Obama was elected. I spent 10 hours and $250 getting my hair done and had intended to wear them for three months. By the end of the first week I was ready to snatch that hair out and was starting to have nightmares about taking them down or cutting them off at the scalp. I ended up taking them down on election eve and finishing up on election night.

      After that experience, I’m pretty sure I’ll never wear fake hair again.

  8. Shaunita says:

    I love your site! I do my own hair too and Im so inspired by your styles and your blog! Thanks!

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