FTC: This Post Is Not Sponsored. All weird thoughts and opinions are my own. 

millennial in debt

Have you ever struggled to figure out how much hair to buy when protective styling ?

Yeah! Just like I thought! When the natural hair game picked up, so did the DIY hair care lifestyle. And while it’s certainly saved us on traveling, and money (maybe even time if you’re good at it) you also have the frustration of not having enough hair to complete the look you’re going for. I don’t know about you but many many many times, I’ve tried to do a crochet hair style, whether it be braids, twists, faux locs or hair, and wound up with the middle of my hair left undone.  With shame, hiding under I hat I’d scrounge to the beauty supply store at 8:00pm, to get more hair just in time for them to close the door in my face!


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I’ve experienced this same thing far too many times and it ends here TODAY!  That’s where this comprehensive detailed guide comes in! In each category, you’ll see a variation of styles you can accomplish and how much hair you’ll need to buy.

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How Much Hair To Buy When Protective Styling (A Complete Guide)

Before We Begin: Please be aware that though these numbers are usually pretty accurate, they will vary depending on the brand of hair you’re using (some brands have more or less hair in a pack- I’ll be referencing Outre Kanekalon hair), the style you are doing, the length/width/ and fullness you’re going for.

And now on to the good stuff…


There are so many different braiding protective styles options, it’s hard to decide where to begin. So I’ll start with the basics, an original fave and work my way through.


 How Much Hair To Buy When Protective Styling

Box Braids have always been one of my favorite timeless protective styles. They also are the hardest to DIY yourself (for me anyway) and if you run out of hair, you’re really going to be annoyed with yourself and your beauty supply store. In general here are a couple of things/numbers you want to keep in mind when purchasing packs of hair to complete a box braid style.

 How Much Hair To Buy When Protective Styling

  • Short- medium length/width box braids will usually use 7-8 packs (remember all packs differ in size/amount of hair)
  • Medium length and medium width box braids are going to take a bit more on average 9-11 packs of Kanekalon hair.
  • Longer boxer braids that are medium with are going to take up about 12-13 packs of hair (these are my personal varieties)
  • Jumbo sized long box braids are going to take about 12-13 packs as well (these are quite heavy and can add a great amount of tension to your natural hair and your neck- be aware of this)


The sister-cousin to box braids, corn rows have made a comeback in a major way. I thank Beyonce for this, but there are so many other people that have been a pinnacle force in bringing cornrows to the forefront of our social media feeds. Here’s what you’ll need for each type of cornrow variation.

  • Regular straight back corn rows (2) will take on average 1-2 packs depending on length and thickness desired. If you want 10 or less cornrows (straight back) you can plan on using 2-3 packs of Kanekalon hair.
  • Fulani Braids usually take about 9 packs if you want the hair to be just below your shoulder blades
  • Lemonade braids which are one of my fave types of braids (thank you Beyonce) take about 5-6 packs of hair (about 6-7 if you want them to be a bit longer)
  • Braided updos usually take about 2-3 packs depending on the style you are going for (medium sized braids usually won’t need more than this amount).


This was one of my first protective styles before I even know what protective styling was. Weaves have come a long way and there are so many different types of wigs/ and weaves out there. But for standard measuring purposes when purchasing your weaves (whether it be packs or bundles) here’s what you want to know.

  • Bundles and packs are slightly different so be careful with what you are buying vs. what you are getting. When buying bundles 2-3 bundles are recommended (3 bundles for longer lengths 18″ and longer)
  • If you are buying packs 2 packs are usually enough. If you buy from a beauty supply store the sells half packs you can get 2.5 packs for a fuller look or just go with 3 packs to be on the safe side.
  • If you want really long hair and you’re buying bundles it is recommended to get 3-4 to get a full dense complete look. Bundles usually come in 3.5- 4 ounce variations. There are a few companies that have started selling 5 ounces of hair in a bundle which means you could get away with 2-3. (See if the company sells half bundles as well)


The crochet braid trend took the natural hair world by storm and quickly switched up the way be protective style for the better. Crochet braids have made me a DIY master in the protective styling world (though my corn row bases could use some help) The best part is a lot fo the crochet braid styles come pre-made, or don’t require any cornrows at all. If you search on YouTube you’ll find many knotless, cornrow less methods you can choose from.  the amount of crochet hair you need will vary on the style of hair you choose (whether it is twists, locs, braids or loose hair). In general I get away with 5-7 packs for most styles.

  • Locs, Twists, Braids require on average 4-5 packs (depending on how much hair is in the pack)
  • Curly or straight loose hair requires 5-6 packs (could be more if you want a fuller look)

Hopefully this list has helped take the guessing game out of protective styling for you. May you go on and prosper in your DIY protective styling practices!

Until the next one!

Millennial In Debt