Boys' hair can be braided at lengths as small as 2 inches, though at least 3 to 4 inches is preferable. Depending on the type of braid desired, hair may need to be longer or treated differently in order to hold.
Coarser, kinkier hair can hold a braid at lengths of 2 inches while straight, smooth hair may slip out of such short braids or form a braid that cannot fit a band. Cornrows are significantly easier to braid stably as they incorporate more hair into their overall structure as they move back along the scalp.
Styles of Braiding:
- Fill-Gap Braiding
- Four-strand Braiding
- Finger Weaving
The minimum length of hair needed to make a given style of boys' braid hold its shape varies from the scant amount needed for cornrowing to the 4 to 5 inches demanded for plaiting. Boys' braids made with insufficiently long hair may hold their shape for a short length of time, but eventually they will slip apart and lose cohesion. They are also harder to band or tie.
With hair longer than 4 inches, most styles of braiding can be put into practical effect by experienced hands. In the case of unusually straight or slippery hair, a perm can give it more texture and help to maintain braids for longer.