How To Remove Box Braids Without Damaging Your Hair

By Rogan Smith |
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black woman with long knotless box braids

So, you’ve had your box braids in you hair for weeks and they’re starting to look like it. So, you pull out a pair of scissors and decide to take them out. But, before you do, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t damage your own hair.

Firstly, make sure you take a good look at the braid to determine where your hair ends and cut two inches below that mark. This is an important first step because sometimes people are so eager to remove box braids that they end up cutting their own hair.

Take your time during this process. It took a while to install the braids, so you should be equally as patient removing them. Once you’ve cut the extensions, use your fingers or a rat tail comb to carefully remove the extensions.

Massage Your Scalp

After all of the extensions are removed, take the time to gently massage your scalp. Your hair has been in braids for weeks and your scalp may still be a bit tender. Take the time to go through each section of your head.

Gently Finger Detangle Your Hair

Before you even think about putting a comb in your hair, don’t. Gently detangle your hair with your fingers starting from the bottom and working your way up to the root. Expect to see a good chunk of hair during this process.

Remember, hair sheds every day and when your hair is braided there is nowhere for the hair to go, so it remains locked in the braids. So, when the braids are removed, you will see all the shed hair. Don’t be scared. It’s normal.

Leave Your Hair Alone

A lot of people immediately want to wash their hair after removing their braids, but the scalp, in many instances, has suffered some trauma. So, it’s important to let it rest for a bit. Put your hair in a loose bun until the next day when you can wash it.

Deep Condition

The next day before you wash, make sure you detangle your hair again with your fingers and a wide tooth comb. Then, go in and wash thoroughly and deep condition. Hair needs extra loving after being in braids. So, slather on a good quality conditioner and put on a processing cap. Even if you don’t have a hair dryer, you can put a towel over the cap to seal in your body heat and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.

Install A Truly Protective Style

After conditioning, apply a a good oil (I suggest almond oil, which is much lighter than coconut and castor oil) and a leave-in conditioner. Then, install a truly protective hairstyle that won’t put too much tension on your hair like cornrows or two strand twists are a good option. If you opt for cornrows, just make sure they are not tight.

Follow these tips to keep your hair in good condition following the removal of braids.

XOXO,

This Bahamian Gyal

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