The beauty of box braids is in their versatility. When you’re super concerned about hair health, experimenting with new styles can be intimidating—it can feel like damage is right around every corner. With box braids, you can turn up the dial on creativity without the risk of damaging your curls and coils, whether you’re opting for a braided bob, topping off your box braids with a fringe, or dipping your toes into goddess braid territory by incorporating some wavy strands.
But above all, box braids are most conducive for experimenting with color, since you can sport an entirely new hue without even looking at dye. "Box braids are a perfect way to see if the color fits your skin tone or style without the permanent commitment to hair color," explains L.A.-based braider Geneva Fowler. With this in mind, it’s time to give purple box braids a try. "Purple is a popular color when added to box braids because it compliments well with black and doesn’t stand out too harshly," Fowler says. "Purple is an easy way to mix color into your strands without the color being too overpowering. It’s a great option to introduce color into your style."
Below, check out some of our favorite purple box braids styles that vary in hue, length, and style.
Meet the Expert
Geneva Fowler is the lead braid stylist for BEAUTYBEEZ.
If you were on Tumblr circa 2016, you probably remember the grip that Justine Skye's signature purple strands had on our timelines. Though she's since abandoned her amethyst-colored hair for more subdued hues, she's inextricably linked to this deep shade of purple in the same way Rihanna will always be tied to the fire-hydrant red of her LOUD era.
Regina King can do no wrong as far as we're concerned—and this look is no exception. To style your box braids similarly:
- With one hand, grab the top section of your hair, spanning the tip of each of your eyebrows.
- With your other hand, grab three or four braids directly underneath the section that you hand in hand.
- Begin wrapping those three or four braids around the section at the top of your head and tuck the tip of the braids into the quasi-hair tie you’ve created with those braids.
- If your style needs extra securing, start with a hair tie and simply wrap a few braids around to cover it.
A Little Bit of Lilac
To add dimension to their lilac look, Tyler Ford added platinum strands—and the finish was perfectly pastel with a free-spirited twist, thanks to the loose, wavy ends.
Tichina Arnold's purple and blue tips were barely peeking out from her bun, but they still made a major statement as a bold twist on the classic chignon.
- Starting a few inches from the root, begin loosely braiding your box braids using an inward motion as if you were cornrowing them.
- Continue braiding until all of your box braids are gathered in a single braid, then secure the tip.
- Begin twisting the braid around itself, until it forms a bun.
- Secure the bun with a hair tie.
Gems are a surefire way to add shimmer to box braids, and they make these side-swept, deep violet braids look constellation-esque. The best thing about adding gems to a braided look is the ease—simply clasp them onto your braids and you're set.
When it comes to hair, Amandla Stenberg seldom plays it safe. Her blunt, braided bob is half cornrowed—and half red.
Subtle Purple Tips
To add a pop of color to her sleek, classic box braids, Kelly Rowland incorporated hints of pink and purple. The minimalist approach to color is bold but still subtle enough not to overpower the look.
Topknot With Baby Hairs
Whoever told you that box braids don't pair well with formalwear was lying. Here, Regina King tied up her waist-length braids into a twisted topknot, then completed the look with flawlessly swooped baby hairs and subtly smoky eyeshadow to match her purple braids.
Slicking down your edges is a simple step to refreshing older braids. Just apply a tiny bit of your go-to edge tamer, brush them down using a baby hair brush, and tie them with a scarf to create the appearance of a freshly-braided hairline.
Tied With a Bow
When it comes to styling purple box braids, it doesn't get cuter or more creative than this. French actress Nadège Beausson-Diagne made her box braids event-ready by styling her braids in a chic chignon with two long braids, then accessorizing with a hair bow.
If you want to add texture to your box braids without veering into goddess braid territory, layering braids on top of curly, crocheted strands can give the style a unique edge.
The periwinkle hue makes this high pony more high drama. And to add some face-framing dimension, a braided bang on each side does the trick.
A Hint of Purple (and Pink)
Your journey to colorful box braids doesn't have to be full-on—a gradual ombre effect can ease you into a bold hue, like Marsai Martin's box braids seen here.
Lavender Half-Up, Half-Down
A center-parted half-up, half-down style is both functional and aesthetic. Simply pulling the top half of your box braids into a ponytail or bun can instantly give your braids an evening-ready twist while also keeping them from dangling in your face.
Side parts never went out of style. British radio personality Clara Amfo gave her box braids a dramatic swoop by wearing them all over one shoulder, creating a super side-swept effect.