How to Do Braid Extensions on Short Natural Hair

Photo Source: Eye for Ebony

Box braids, Senegalese and Marley twists are all staple summer protective styles for many naturals. These styles are great because they protect your hair while you enjoy the pools and beaches. However, if your hair is on the shorter side you might feel that theses styles may not be an option for you. That may be true for the traditional way of adding braiding extensions but with the rubber band method you can easily install your braids/twists.

First thing you do before you even start is to soak the braiding hair in a bin of water with a cup of white vinegar for an hour. After this you might see a white film on the surface of the solution. This is the coating of alkaline lye that is sprayed on the hair for heat resistance and to prevent mold from growing. Rinse and set the hair out to air dry. Doing this helps prevent the itchiness that can sometimes occur with extension hair.

For added protection apply your usual leave-in and sealant products to the extension hair so that it doesn’t leech all your hairs moisture.

After you wash, condition and deep condition your hair you are ready to style.


Rat tail comb


Leave in conditioner

Sealing oil

Black or clear plastic rubber bands (these won’t pull your hair)

Braiding hair


  1. Part your hair into sections. They could be medium or small depending on how large you want your braids/twists.
  2. Apply leave-in, and sealing oil to the hair
  3. Apply gel to the root of the hair
  4. Wrap rubber band around the section of hair several times close to the root, just make sure it’s not too tight
  5. Take your extension hair and using your hair as the third strand, begin to braid
  6. Depending on what style you want you can keep braiding or after 3 -4 turns split your hair and start twisting

Check out these great tutorials to help you achieve the perfect twist or boxbraid.

This is another way of doing the rubberband  method that might be easier if this is your first time styling your hair this way. This method works with smaller twists/braids and on short natural hair (I used this method to twist my mom’s short natural hair)

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