Can You Get Lice with Box Braids? Debunking the Myth

Can You Get Lice with Box Braids
‍Photo credit Pixabay

When it comes to hair care, myths and misconceptions abound. One such myth is that Black hair, especially when styled in box braids, is immune to lice infestations. This prevailing belief has been passed down through generations, leading many to believe that lice and Black hair simply don’t mix. However, the truth is far different. In this article, we will debunk the myth and explore the facts surrounding lice infestations in Black hair, particularly when styled in box braids.This is an amazing article On Can Anyone Wear Box Braids? A Comprehensive Guide Check it out for all of the details.

The Myth vs. Reality: Can Black Hair Get Lice?

The Myth: Blacks Do not Get Lice!

For as long as we can remember, the mantra that “Blacks do knot get lice!” has been ingrained in the Black community. This belief stems from the misconception that the texture of Black hair makes it resistant to lice. Many Black individuals have even experienced instances where they were exempted from lice checks at school, perpetuating the myth further. However, this myth has been debunked, and it’s time to set the record straight.

The Reality: Lice in Black Hair is a Fact!

Contrary to popular belief, Black hair can indeed harbor lice. While it is true that the texture of Black hair makes it more difficult for lice to move from strand to strand, it does not make Black hair immune to infestations. Lice can still find their way into Black hair, particularly when it is not properly cared for or when protective styles like box braids are worn for extended periods. It’s essential to understand the facts surrounding lice infestations in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Understanding Lice and How They Spread

Before delving into the specifics of lice infestations in Black hair, let’s first understand what lice are and how they spread.

What are Lice?

Lice are tiny, wingless insects that infest the scalp and feed on human blood. They are about the size of a sesame seed and have six legs. Lice lay eggs called nits, which are attached to the hair shaft near the scalp. These nits are often difficult to spot, as they blend in with the hair and are firmly attached.

How Do Lice Spread?

Lice spread through direct head-to-head contact. This typically occurs when individuals come into close contact with someone who already has lice. Lice cannot jump or fly, so they rely on direct contact to move from one host to another. This is why lice infestations are commonly found among children who attend daycare, preschool, or elementary school, where close contact is frequent.

Debunking the Box Braids Myth

Now that we have a clear understanding of lice and how they spread, let’s address the specific myth surrounding box braids and lice infestations in Black hair.

The Myth: Box Braids Prevent Lice Infestations

One prevalent belief is that box braids, a popular protective hairstyle for Black hair, act as a barrier against lice infestations. Many people assume that the tightness and intricate pattern of box braids make it difficult for lice to access the scalp. However, this is not entirely true.

The Reality: Lice Can Still Infest Box Braids

While box braids may make it more challenging for lice to move from one strand to another, they do not completely prevent infestations. Lice can still find their way into the hair, particularly if proper hygiene and preventive measures are not followed. The tightness of the braids may deter lice to some extent, but it is not a foolproof method of prevention.

Preventing Lice Infestations in Box Braids

Now that we understand that box braids do not provide complete protection against lice, let’s explore some preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of infestation.

Proper Hair Care and Maintenance

Maintaining good hair hygiene is crucial in preventing lice infestations, regardless of the hairstyle. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Regularly wash and condition your hair: Clean hair is less attractive to lice. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner suitable for your hair type.
  2. Keep your scalp moisturized: Lice are less likely to thrive in well-moisturized hair. Use a leave-in conditioner or natural oils like coconut oil to keep your scalp hydrated.
  3. Avoid sharing personal items: Do not share combs, brushes, hats, or scarves with others, as these items can harbor lice and facilitate their spread.
  4. Be mindful of close contact: While it’s not always possible to avoid close contact, be cautious when engaging in activities that involve direct head-to-head contact, such as taking group selfies or hugging.

Regular Inspections and Early Detection

Regularly inspecting your scalp and hair is vital in catching lice infestations early. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use a fine-toothed comb: Comb through your hair, paying close attention to the scalp and behind the ears, where lice and nits are most commonly found. Look for live lice or nits attached to the hair shaft.
  2. Check for symptoms: If you experience persistent itching or tingling sensations on your scalp, it may be a sign of lice infestation. Take immediate action to prevent further spread.

Natural Remedies and Treatments

If you discover lice in your box braids or any other hairstyle, prompt treatment is essential. Here are some natural remedies and treatments you can try:

  1. Essential oils: Tea tree oil and olive oil are known to have insecticidal properties and can help suffocate and kill lice. Apply a generous amount of oil to your scalp, cover it with a shower cap overnight, and wash your hair thoroughly in the morning.
  2. Wash and sanitize: Wash and sanitize all items that may have come into contact with lice, such as bedding, towels, combs, and brushes. Vacuum your furniture and carpets to remove any potential hiding places for lice.
  3. Inform others: If you or a family member has lice, it’s important to inform those who may have had close contact with you, such as school or daycare staff and friends. This helps prevent the further spread of lice.

Seeking Professional Help

If home remedies and preventive measures are not effective in eliminating lice infestations, it may be necessary to seek professional help. There are lice clinics and specialized treatments available that can provide expert assistance in eradicating lice from your hair.


In conclusion, the myth that Black hair, particularly when styled in box braids, is immune to lice infestations is just that—a myth. Lice can indeed infest Black hair, and it’s essential to understand the facts and take preventive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. By maintaining proper hair care, regularly inspecting for lice, and taking prompt action when infestations occur, you can minimize the risk and impact of lice in your hair. Remember, knowledge is power, and debunking myths helps us make informed decisions about our hair and overall well-being.We wrote this article on Do box braids work on Caucasian hair: The Truth Check it out for all of the details.

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