can you get box braids wet in the pool

Can you get box braids wet in the pool? It is probably one of the most common questions people ask the moment they decide to go for braids.

You may be a huge fan of wash-and-go’s, space buns, and twist-outs. But, if that is the case, finding a hairstyle that holds up in the water might be a challenge. 

When wet, some hairdos can become unmanageable due to frizz, unraveling, or a complete loss of form.

The outcome? A sad hair disaster!  

Does that mean you should say no to box braids if you call yourself a real water baby? 

Probably not!

You can get box braids wet in the pool if you have them installed properly in the first place.

Tip: Do not leave your box braids in for too long or you may notice matting, breakage, and buildup. 

Can You Get Box Braids Wet In The Pool?

get braids wet in pool

There is no doubt that Janet Jackson’s 1993 film debut, Poetic Justice, contributed to the style’s widespread acclaim across the country.

But, Box braids have been popular in the public eye for more than three decades.

Many different braids, including the modern box braid, have their roots in Africa, sometime about 3500 B.C.

In recent times, Tia Mowry, Beyoncé, Gabrielle Union, Zoe Kravitz, etc., are just some of the modern celebs spotted sporting the look. 

What Are Box Braids Anyway?

They are not notably distinct from regular braids, but the tension applied to them makes them more defined compared to the classic knotless braids.

Therefore, they are less prone to flyaways.

Unlike cornrows, your braid your hair flat against the scalp, while sectioning off into perfectly shaped boxes all over the head.

Then you braid down its full length, leaving you with freestanding plaits that you may shake around all you like. 

Can You Go Swimming With Box Braids?

swimming with braids

Yes, box braids are popular and protective, but it may be a different story when it comes to exposing them to chlorinated water. 

Long exposure to water can cause some hairstyles to dry out and frizz, and box braids fall into that category.

If your box braids become dry, they are likely to lose their structure and attractiveness.

Thankfully, you do not need to keep swimming out of your list when you are rocking box braids. 

When Can You Get Box Braids Wet In The Pool?

It is natural to be concerned about the effects of swimming with box braids. But, do not despair! 

Fortunately, you can swim with them if they are “properly” fitted.

That is correct!

You only need to ensure that you have installed them properly.

If they are put in properly, they will retain their shape and not get dry and frizzy after a swim.

Why Is The Correct Installation Key For Getting Braids Wet In The Pool?

installing braids

You may get away with improper installation in daily life, but things may go sideways when you decide to swim with improperly placed braids. 

Proper installation ensures your braids do not get dehydrated after a long swimming session.

Properly placed braids can encase your natural hair in a protective way, and keep water at bay.

If your box braids are put in properly, they will stay in place and preserve your natural hair from damage.

That is why getting correctly installed box braids is even better than wearing swimming caps. 

With a bikini, who needs a swimming cap anyway? 

What To Remember When Getting Box Braids Wet In The Pool?

So, you have set your sight on enjoying a pool party with friends?

That is awesome!

Be sure to keep the following points in mind to protect your box braids after your swimming session! 

tight braids

Keep Your Braids Tight

Always ensure that the box braids are properly installed and tensioned before entering the water. 

To make a tighter braid, pulling your hair tauter is crucial. If the box braids were not put in with enough tension, you can notice some frizz after a swim.

But, do not pull your hair out by making it overly tight; it can do more than just hurt, it can really harm your scalp. 

Seal The Braids 

Use boiling water to seal the box braids properly.

Before beginning installation with box braids, get a pot of water to boil. Use it to seal your braids when you are done.

When sealed with hot water, box braids would not unravel if you get them wet; this may also reduce frizz after a swim.

Tip: Consider redoing the nape after six weeks to make your braids last more than 10 weeks with ease. 

Why Do People Worry About Getting Box Braids Wet In The Pool?

worry about wet box braids

Only box braids that have been expertly installed can be worn in the pool without fear of unraveling or frizzing.

However, there are still considerations to keep in mind, even if the installation of your box braids seems flawless. 

Chlorinated Water

Exposing your braids to chlorinated water is probably the biggest concern, which often keeps people from getting their mane wet in the first place 

The pool water’s chemicals can still cause harm to your hair, even if you have taken extra precautions like wearing a protective hairstyle.

Chlorine is so potent that it can quickly destroy your natural hair oils, leaving you with hair that looks dry and damaged.

If you do not take precautionary measures, swimming in chlorinated water will eventually cause your hair to become brittle and break. 

Heavy Braids

You may be reluctant to go swimming when you have heavy braids. A wet box braid is significantly heavier than a dry box braid.

When swimming, water can easily add to the tension your braids are already causing upon your scalp.

box braids

So, keep in mind that the wet box braids add weight, which some people simply cannot manage. 

Mold Growth

Constant exposure to water can lead to mold and mildew growing quickly. 

Because they are so challenging to eradicate, preventative steps against them are crucial.

Therefore, you should always maintain a regular routine of thoroughly drying your hair after each swim.

By doing so, you can prevent your hair from developing a musty odor and mold.

Tip: Be very careful when uninstalling your box braids and detangle them before you decide to cleanse your hair.  

How To Get Box Braids Wet In The Pool Without Causing Damage?

wet braids without damage

Now that you have understood what could go wrong when swimming in the pool, you can find ways to overcome those challenges. 

It means that you have to find a way to protect your braids from chlorine, manage the weight of wet braids, and dry your braids afterward. 

If you can do that, there is no reason why you cannot go to your next pool party.

Here are a few tips to help you when swimming with your box braids: 

Get Your Hair Wet

Yes, that is right – take a shower before you go swimming!

Doing this ensures that the saltwater or chlorinated water does not fully penetrate your locks. 

Utilize a Leave-In Conditioner 

By sealing in moisture, leave-in conditioners serve as a form of protection for your hair.

leave in conditioner

It functions by stimulating sebum production on the scalp to keep hair supple and healthy.

Moreover, it safeguards the keratin, resulting in a silky, hydrated mane.

Rinse Your Braids after Swimming

The chlorinated water can dry out your hair and cause frizz, so it is important to remove it after swimming.

You can also use any oil you like to add moisture to your scalp. Some good oils include jojoba, coconut, olive, and vitamin-E. 

Dry Your Braids Properly

No one wants to end up with moldy, mildewed braids after swimming, but it happens to many women anyway.

Here is how to prevent it: 

Let Them Dry Naturally

When you are done swimming, carefully squeeze out the excess water and allow the braids to air dry.

Wearing headgear or plaiting your hair together is a big no-no. Attempting to do so may result in partial trapping of the moisture. 

dry braids naturally

Try A Hooded Dryer

Using a hooded dryer to dry your box braids can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

After swimming, pile your braids high on your head and dry them off in the dryer.

Braids can be dried in this manner in half an hour, but it may take longer if your braids are particularly thick or lengthy.

Tip: Never style your box braids unless they are totally dry and stay away from high ponytails, space buns, etc., to avoid mold growth. 


If you always ask, “Can you get box braids wet in the pool?” you are not alone.

The truth is that weaving your hair into a box braid is not a reason to avoid swimming. 

Particularly now that you know what to consider before and after your swimming session!

Just get them installed properly and take some precautions to rock box braids at your next pool party.

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