By: Gabbi Mitchell | Photo @BriHallofficial
You’ve spent an hour or more trying to achieve that new box braid style with the curly ends, but you’re still not in love with your hair. Then your Pinterest feed is flooded with box braids styles for this summer. Yet, the mention of box braids brings flashbacks of neck pain and headaches. You shrivel at the thought of losing your coveted edges because your hair is braided a wee bit too tight. After weighing the pros and cons, box braids may not be in your future. Or will they? Wigs have created new levels of versatility for women who love braids but lack the patience to sit for hours on end in a chair. Hair companies have created box braid wigs, catering toward women who don’t have hours to spare.
Can a braided wig look natural?
The key to wearing any wig is having a natural looking hairline. That’s especially the case when it comes to box braid wigs, which, like the real style itself, shows more of your scalp. So how can a braided wig look natural? If you want to achieve that natural, melted to perfection look, it starts underneath the wig, with the help of the bald cap method–using a wig cap that resembles your skin tone. (Video and instructions below).
- Cornrow your hair into small/medium sized braids–the smaller the cornrows the better as braided wigs can easily look very bulky.
- Apply a wig cap, which should resemble your skin tone.
- From ear to ear, spray Got2b glued freeze spray on your cap.
- Blow dry your wig cap for approximately 10-15 minutes. Ensure that your wig cap feels a bit hard and stuck onto your head. If your cap is wet, continue to blow drying the cap.
- Once the spray has dried, cut the excess pieces of the cap with an eyebrow razor for a cleaner look.
- Apply a powder or foundation to blend the cap with your skin for a flawless transition. This can be applied with a beauty blender or makeup brush.
Voilà! You’ve completed the most important step to your look, now it’s time to install it.
Installing a Braided Wig
The beauty of braided wigs is that you can install them with or without glue. Going the glueless route, like vlogger Bri Hall does in the video below, is always the safest option to save your baby hair. (Here’s more on installing any wig without destroying your edges).
To install your wig:
- Apply your wig and secure combs (if applicable) or ensure that your adjustable strap is secure on your head.
- Cut your lace as close as possible to your hairline and around your ear.
- Apply some mouse to your edges and the sides of your ears.
- Tie down your edges with a silk wrap and wait for 15 minutes. Your wig is set in place and ready to wear.
- With your wig cap on via the bald cap method, apply your wig, resting it on your forehead and pulling the adjustable strap to the nape of your neck.
- Clip the comb (if applicable) underneath your braids, then adjust the front to your liking.
- Once you’re ready, apply some of your styling gel to your hairline and lay the lace flat on the gel.
- Wrap your hairline with a scarf and blow-dry for 10 minutes.
After the lace has properly melted with the glue, begin cutting your lace with an eyebrow razor. In some cases, eyebrow razors are much better at reaching areas that scissors cannot.
- Finally, sleek down and style your baby hair to your desire.
Which braided wigs are worth trying?
While you may not sit in a chair for nearly as long, you may pay nearly the same for a wig as you would for the actual braids. With so many brands to choose from, we have narrowed down the list for you.
Slayed by Jordan Applies Instant Arewa Hair
Instant Arewa Hair has one of the best knotless braided wigs that you can purchase. To all my ladies with a rounder head, this wig will be your friend. Just because you’ve avoided sitting in a chair for hours it doesn’t mean this is a plop-on-and-go kind of wig. It requires work to some extent. The base is fully lace accompanied by two adjustable straps, baby hair and two combs. When you install this wig you want to put some kind of cream foundation on the knots of the wig or bleach it to your liking. When you apply the wig, line the lace in the front with your hairline to ensure the most natural look. As for the back, you can glue your lace to the nape of the neck or go glueless and use the comb in the back. This wig comes with a detailed instruction guide, hair cap and hair jewelry. Instant Arewa sells various braided wigs. The knotless box braid wig seen in the video costs $369.00 (at the time of this writing). While this wig is on the pricer end, it can last up to 24 months or longer if taken care of very well. Each unit is made by a professional braider using premium synthetic Kanekalon hair and the lace base is made with virgin human hair.
Natalya Tries Braid Queens Official
If you want a braided updo or that half-up-half-down look with half the effort, Braid Queens Official is the stop for you. They offer more creative braided wigs with colored options for everyone. This specific wig worn by Natalya Janai is priced at $129. It’s a lace front wig and 30 inches long. Janai applied a powdered makeup tint to the knots of her wig to create a realistic scalp. This wig is a glue-and-go necessary for anyone who hates styling their braids. Janai doesn’t mention any cons to this wig as it provides everything she expected and more.
Bri Hall Tries a Braided Amazon Wig
This is the kind of wig that you try when you’re refusing to pay more than $120 for a wig. For $112.99, this wig by Sensational Cloud 9 has a 4×4 lace front with swiss lace and baby hair. Your hair must be flat before you apply this wig otherwise it can be bumpy on the sides. The downside is the density. There are plenty of braids in the front and sides of the wig, however, the nape is not nearly as full. Additionally, some braids are not braided at the root and the hair can be a little itchy. On a lighter note, the wig is 50” giving you length and color. (Note: the 50″ wig is currently out of stock on Amazon, but here’s the 28″ one).
How do I take care of my wig?
Much like any other unit, braided wigs need to be washed in cool water and mild soap. To ensure its longevity, dip the ends of the hair in boiling water. All the braided wigs mentioned above are made from premium synthetic fibers. If you fully wash your wig in boiling water, the strands will begin to shrivel and it won’t look as clean and pristine as before. Allow your wig to air dry thoroughly before your next wear.
It sounds cliché but it truly is all about how you treat your wig. If you take great care of your wig, it can last up to 24 months according to manufacturers. Maintenance is the key. Be sure you’re also taking care of your hair under your wig; here’s how.
Braided wigs are a legitimate alternative if you want braids but can only spare a couple hours vs eight. Making them look natural does take some work; so this isn’t a throw-it-on-and-go option. But if you’re comfortable applying foundation to a wig cap and sleeking down your edges yourself, investing in a good braided wig might be the right option for you. If not, you can also save time with crochet box braids and twists!