When I think of box braids, famous beauty icons like Janet Jackson, Brandy, and Beyoncé come to mind. Their cascading box braids instantly make me say, "I need to try those," which I have done twice now. I currently have butt-length box braids as I type this. While I love this style, the one thing I always forget until I have them installed—is how heavy they are, especially when I'm getting ready for bed or washing them.
Though I haven't given knotless box braids a try just yet, certain knotless styles can require significantly less hair. But don't get too excited if you're not ready to spend an extra few hours in your stylist's chair. No matter which box braid method you go with, box braids (like our natural curls) are versatile and can be worn as long or short as you desire. To give you some inspiration to take to your stylist for your next appointment, we searched high and low for short box braids styles that are chic, nostalgic, and full of color. There is even a box braid pixie with bangs in the mix (think Maxine Shaw from Living Single). Keep reading to check out 25 short box braids styles that run from pixie to shoulder-length.
'90s But Make It Classic
When I saw this fringed look, I immediately thought about Maxine Shaw—who was brought to life by Erika Alexander on the '90s show Living Single. We may not be in that era anymore, but this braided cropped look I doubt will ever go out of style.
Add a Touch Of Color
Amandla Stenberg knows how to make any look their own. Follow their lead and add a hint of color around your face to brighten up your beautiful brown skin.
Keep It Simple And Shoulder-Length
I am a sucker for a bob, especially a braided one. You get a classic shape with a protective style staple.
Try A Messy Half-Bun
Opting for shorter box braids may make you feel like your styling options are limited, but rest assured that is not the case. Here Lauryn pulls her hair back and frames her face at the same time.
Layer To Add Dimension
Going for a chunky box braid is likely easier with a shoulder-length style. To add dimension, have your stylist layer your braids as Emani did here.
Bring On The Nostalgia
Joanette's look is giving me all the nostalgic feels. Someone might think rocking two ponytails is child's play, but I beg to differ.
Go For The Gold (Wrap That Is)
If you're trying shoulder-length box braids for the first time, and you want to add some pizzazz, pick up some gold string from a craft or beauty supply store. I like to make sure my string has a little spring because it makes it a little easier to work with and secure.
Have Fun With Your Baby Hair
A side part, slick baby hairs, and gold jewels are all it took to make this look one of my favorites.
Don't Be Afraid To Take On New Parts
If you've ever Googled "box braid styles," Kersti Pitre's photos always pop up. This self-taught braider is continually trying out new looks. Her red hair and triangle parting are both worth experimenting with at your next appointment.
Add Color With A Simple Everyday Accessory
Braided bobs don't have to be one-note. Use colorful rubber bands to add a spin to a tried-and-true.
Add Heat To Your Ends (Carefully)
When I saw Davina's blunt bob, I audibly gasped. This style is so well-done, and burnt ends give this style crisp, clean lines.
Blonde and Bronde Box Braids
Before you commit to a new hair color or cut, box braids can help you test it without the commitment to chopping your locs—or the possible damage that comes with lightening your coils.
Intermix Two Staples
If you're like me and hate having hair in your face, try a cropped Fulani style and add clear bubble beads.
Pop Those Braids Into A Pony
Having shorter braids doesn't mean you have to forgo wearing your hair in a ponytail. To keep the stress off of your edges, try using a Snapee or silk scrunchie to secure your braids.
Play With As Many Colors As You Please
Where do I start with these colorful, chunky braids? From the color, the cut, and the white string accents, I can't get enough of these.
Shine Bright Like The Sun
Orange is one of my all-time favorite colors to wear on my brown skin, but I never thought to wear the hue in my hair until now.
Go Blonde Or Go Home
Going chunky seems to be a trend among those who opt for shorter braids. A middle part with a neck-length style helps frame the face.
Monochromatic Is Always A Good Idea
I get to wear hats when my natural hair is running wild and free. Adding a hat to this stunning beaded look is giving me accessory envy.
Wearing box braids doesn't always mean you have to add extensions. This brown beauty opted to use the box braid technique with her natural hair.
Play With Pastels
Pastels aren't just for spring. This side-swept look proves the powdery color can be worn year-round.
Play Up Your Skin Tone And Features
This fiery-red, bob braided look is an example of how to personalize your hair color and cut to compliment your face shape and skin tone.
Bring On The Salt And Pepper
As a young woman that already has a head full of gray hair, I may have to give this salt and pepper look a try.
Pay Homage To The '90s'
I couldn't write this story without paying homage to one of the first women I remember seeing on television wearing braided styles week after week.
Rock A Dope Hat
With all of the '90s, fashion and beauty looks coming back in the year 2020, trying an oversized hat with the right outfit could be a vibe.
Embellish Those Braids
These two-toned, jeweled box braids scream, "Yaassss, Queen." This is a pretty intricate look to recreate, but with the right stylist or creative eye, you'll be wearing this look in no time.