We all know and love box braids. This timeless, low-maintenance hairstyle is one of the best ways to protect your natural hair from fluctuating weather conditions while still being manageable enough for updos, pigtails, and buns. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular types of braids for Black women.
Of course, one of the most important things to understand when it comes to achieving this flawless style is box braids’ cost. It’s the question we all want to know the answer to! And it is critical to budgeting for your hair care as box braids should only be kept in for about eight to ten weeks max. Keep reading to better understand how much you’ll pay for these classic braids. If you want box braids, book a hair appointment online with StyleSeat!
How Much are Box Braids?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as the cost of your braids depends on various factors. But don’t worry, we’re not leaving you there! Below, we’re breaking down some of the factors that have a significant impact on the cost of box braids to help determine how much you should expect to spend and so you can avoid overpaying or underpaying for the service.
Intricacy & Size
Perhaps the most significant factor influencing the price of your braids is their size and intricacy of the braid itself. Box braids can range in sizes from micro to jumbo, and you must understand the differences to determine the price and the look you are trying to achieve.
How long do box braids last? These thin, delicate braids can last the longest of any box braid, pushing the limit to about 10 or maybe 12 weeks. To achieve this style, the parting sections are much smaller than other sizes, which results in a more natural look and maximizes the versatility of how you can manage your hair. However, since these braids are so small, they require the most work.
Typically, micro braids will require nine to 12 hours and multiple stylists working simultaneously to complete the look. Depending on your salon, you may even be asked to split the time over two or three days so they can be available to work on others. So, as you can imagine, micro braids are some of the most expensive to have done and usually cost between $150 to $450 depending on other factors, though this price doesn’t tend to include the cost of the hair you need (which may be about four packs of pre-stretched braiding hair).
Usually about half the width of a pencil, these braids are only slightly larger than micro ones. That means they offer many of the same styling benefits as their tiny counterpart and last about eight to 10 weeks. However, these short box braids will still require about seven to eight hours of work to install, which means you’re looking at about $140 to $300 for the braids, plus the cost of several packs of pre-stretched braiding hair.
While many choose to rock these long braids, medium box braids also look great at a shorter length and in a variety of colors, making them an excellent option for those trying to retain their hair length. Typically about the width of a pencil, these braids still offer a lot of styling versatility as the hair is sectioned off into several parts. However, they do not place as much tension on your scalp. Because the sections of hair are slightly larger, it also takes less time to install medium box braids at about five to seven hours. The medium braids will last about eight to 10 weeks and cost you around $125 to $275, plus the price of approximately 10 packs of pre-stretched braiding hair.
These braids are about the width of a marker and offer an even lower maintenance option for this already no-fuss hairstyle, making them an excellent choice for those wishing to style their hair at home or lacking time to sit in a salon for hours. Since the sections of hair are more prominent, you should expect to have large box braids completed in about three to six hours, which is significantly faster than the smaller braid styles. Once completed, the braids should last about six to eight weeks and will ring in around $100 to $225, plus any pre-stretched braiding hair you require.
Finally, jumbo box braids are the chunkiest and boldest option for this style of braiding. Typically, these braids are about the width of two markers and can be completed in about 45 minutes to three hours of your time. However, since they are larger, you should only expect them to last around six weeks at most, and you may even be able to achieve the look yourself at home. If you choose to have it done for you at a salon, you should expect to pay around $75 to $175, plus about eight packs of pre-stretched braiding hair for a mid-length look.
In addition to the size of your braids, the intricacy of your style can impact box braids prices. Adding any sectioning designs (triangles versus squares), plait styles like regular braids versus fishtails or twists, and sections of colored hair can increase the total cost of your styling as well. Another styling option that could make your braids more expensive? Knotless braids. A variation of the classic box braid, knotless braids don’t place as much tension on your scalp because braiding hair is moderately woven in, but due to their increasing popularity, it may cost you a little extra.
As you can see, while determining the size of your braids and the style you’d want them done in can help you narrow down the price, there are still other factors involved that can impact what you’ll end up paying. One big influence on price is your location. Unfortunately, if you live in a large metropolitan area, such as New York or Los Angeles, you should expect to pay near the higher end of the ranges provided above. If you live in smaller urban areas like Atlanta or a more rural community, you will likely pay something closer to the lower end of the ranges provided.
However, even within your community, regardless of its size, you may find that specific neighborhoods have different price points for similar services. So, it’s essential to do your research and make a few calls to find the best braiding salon for what you want to have done.
Stylist & Expertise
Finally, the stylist you choose to work with and their braiding experience will have a notable impact on the price you’ll pay to work with them. Those stylists who are expert braiders or well-known for the work will almost certainly have a higher price point, and they are likely to have limited availability for appointments as well. A new stylist, or even just newer to braiding, may not charge as much for their services. Working with someone who is new to braiding can be a great way to cut back on the cost. It is also important to keep in mind duration, if you know how to wash box braids for proper care. However, you’ll want to make sure they are working with or supervised by a more experienced stylist to prevent any damaging mistakes.
The Final Say
So, how much does it cost to get box braids? Depending on your stylist, location, and size, as well as the intricacy of your braids, it is safe to say that box braids can cost anywhere from about $75 to $450. Clearly, it is an investment you are making in yourself and the health of your hair. Most stylists recommend that you do not wear braids consistently over a long period as they can thin and damage your hairline, causing traction alopecia due to the tension placed on your scalp. So, if you are considering box braids as your next hairstyle, make sure you research how to style box braids and the stylists in your area and discuss your options with them to determine the best hair type for your needs and desires.
Wondering how to care for your box braids? Check out our complete guide to box braid care to learn everything you need to know.
Not sure if this is the right style for you? Take a look at an increasingly popular style: knotless braids! Our guide to the difference between knotless braids vs box braids is a great place to start. We’ll help you decide which style is right for you.