is my hair too short for box braids

Once you have set your sight on box braids, the first question popping up in your head is, “Is my hair too short for box braids?”

Some trendy hairdos fade away quickly, but others remain fashionable for decades.

Box braids are one of those trends we do not anticipate going away anytime soon. They are adorable, modern, and convenient.

Many people want it, and now seeing them on celebs everywhere, inspires them more to give it a try.

And if you fall in the same league, do not go ahead unless your hair is of the right length. If it is too short, forget about getting good results out of braiding.

So, how many inches of hair do you need to braid?

It must be longer than 2-3 inches, but you can try more braid types if your hair length is in the 5–8-inch range.

Tip: You should always start with clean, well-conditioned hair since box braids are meant to last considerably long. 

Is My Hair Too Short for Box Braids or Not?

hair too short for box braids

How long does my hair need to be for braids? Thankfully, not as long as you might think!

Box braids are instantly recognizable because of their boxy, squared-off sections.

Quite often, you need hair extensions to complete the desired look, so the length and volume of your hair matter.  

Who can Use Box Braids?

Aside from having hair, there are no hard and fast guidelines for who can get a box braid.

Experts believe 1 1/2 inches of hair length for a secure attachment of the extension is needed.

It means you can still rock box braids even after a major chop. Whether your hair is wavy, curly, straight, or coily, you can confidently rock box braids.

woman with box braids

But, you have to consider the size suitable for your box braids. For instance:

  • Small braids are also known as micro braids and are tiny plaits.
  • Medium braids are popular and about the same width as a pen or pencil.
  • Large braids are thick and chunky, and about the size of a jumbo Sharpie. 

What Should be the Length of Your Hair for Braiding?

Let us start with the minimum length for a successful braid. The answer is conditional upon the style of braids you intend to sport. 

What is the Minimum Length for Braiding Your Hair?

If your hair is shorter than two inches, you will not be able to braid it.

This is the absolute minimum needed for wrapping around your fingers and braiding.

However, a professional braider should be consulted if your hair length is around two inches.

You can still rock microbraids, tight cornrows, and two-strand twists when your hair is short. 

length for box braiding

What is the Optimum Length for Braiding Your Hair?

To successfully braid, hair should be at least three to four inches in length.

The longer your hair is, the less effort it will take to braid it.

 For one thing, you will need to have a firm grip on the individual hairs in order to braid them.

Weaving short hair might be tricky since you will not have as much surface area to grab onto. 

What is the Ideal Length for Braiding Your Hair?

Braiding works best with hair that is five inches or longer.

When your hair is longer than four inches, you can try out a wider variety of braids, from the fishtail to French braids and more.

Another benefit of weaving is that the braids will become more manageable to handle.  

Tip: Consider traditional braids for shorter hair that involves creating a knot at your scalp for a cleaner look. 

Should You Consider Hair Type Before Box Braiding Short Hair?

hair type

Short hair and braids can be challenging if you have a specific hair type.

Braids work flawlessly on certain types of hair. But, with the appropriate technique and tools, anybody with any kind of hair may rock braids. 

Curly Hair

Braiding works efficiently on curly hair. Braids get a little more texture and volume from the natural curls.

When the hair is rougher, it is easier for braids to attach tightly than wavy or straight hair.

It works even better when you want messy braids for your curly hair. 


If you want to successfully braid your naturally curly hair, untangle it first using a wide-tooth comb. And avoid detaching them if you want your curls to stay smooth and frizz-free. 

Coily Hair

Braiding works great with hair that is naturally coily.

The hair’s natural fullness and thickness help it stay securely fastened in long-lasting braids. Braiding your coily hair is a great way to avoid hair shrinkage. 

coily hair type


Be sure to use haircare products before braiding coily hair because the hair usually has thinner cuticle layers. 

Wavy Hair

Having waves as a foundation makes it easier to create braids, though it is not as ideal as curly or coily hair.

Your wavy hair helps maintain the fullness of the individual segments and creates a sturdy braid that can be secured for several days.

To achieve the desired effect, just add an extra step or two before plaiting. 


When compared to curly or coily hair, wavy hair often lacks volume.

Applying dry shampoo all over the hair and then a light mist of hairspray to the roots is a good place to start. Be sure to remove tangles before using dry shampoo. 

Straight Hair

Tricky, yes, but it is still possible to braid straight hair.

straight hair braid

To achieve good results, though, you will need to “build up” your hair texture first.

Braids created on straight hair without any hair products may end up looking flatter and less full than they would with wavy or curly hair.

Having said that…

Working with a professional may work wonderfully for a modern, sleek braid. 


You will need a few tools and some haircare products if you want to try a messy or large braid. Be prepared to use a powder or spray that adds volume to braid straight hair properly.

Tip: Consider putting your money on human-hair extensions if you really need to use extensions for box braids. 

Will Box Braids Cause Any Damage to Your Short Hair?

damage to short hair

Box braids and other extension-based protective styles have a reputation for causing damage to the hair and scalp. So, should you avoid them? Probably not!

The truth is that these styles may be damaging only if done improperly.

When braids are put incorrectly, with too much weight or strain, you may then end up with damaged hair. 

To avoid going through any hassle, keep the following points in mind. 

Communicate with Your Stylist

Only a professional can ensure box braids do not end up hurting your natural hair, so be prepared to interview your stylist first.

Inquire about the stylist’s experience, request references, and find out whether they have specialized training in putting braids properly.

When possible, work with someone with experience to get the best results. So, do not be shy away from asking questions and researching to ensure quality service. 

communicate with hair stylist

Stick with the Right Technique

If you are worried a lot about breakage, go with the knotless method. But, only work with a pro!

Traction alopecia, which occurs when your braids are put too tightly with too many huge knots, can be avoided if this is done correctly.

Although the knotless installation method is a lengthy procedure, it is well worth it to maintain a healthy scalp and hair. 

Pay Attention to Proper Aftercare

In order to keep the hair from becoming dry and weak and more prone to breakage because of braiding, be sure to use hydrating products often.

 If you want your braids to seem shiny and healthy, try putting an oil-based hydrating product on them a few times a week.

Our advice is to use only water- and oil-based products. It is because your hair can absorb them quickly without leaving your braids feeling gunky or sticky.

hair aftercare
Tip: Be sure to use something to soften the matting of the hair before taking off your box braids to avoid damaging your hair. 


You might be interested in trying waist-grazing braids after watching them pop all over your Insta feed, but do not rush. Answer a few questions before you go any further.

Is my hair too short for box braids? Does my hair cut matter? What about the texture of my hair?

These questions determine how easy or tricky it is to install box braids. But, to avoid any hassle, be sure to research and put your money on a professional stylist.

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