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How To Take Down Braids and Twists Without Experiencing Breakage

Avatar • Jul 26, 2012

By Jenell of KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com 

Many professionals advise removing your protective style with extensions after 4–8 weeks.  Partly because the weight of protective styles can begin to harm your hair line as your new growth gets longer and longer moving the extensions further down the hair strand. The other reason is hygiene. It is advised that you wash your hair while in extensions at least 1–2x a month, but let’s face it, you can’t clean  your hair as well as you can when it is interwoven in extensions.

When I am ready to take my hair out of a protective style, a lot of planning goes into this because I need to dedicate about 3–4 hours to the removal process. Most of the time I have to remove my twists in sections because my time and attention is divided amongst things at home. I wish I could sit and take down my hair without interruption, but this is unrealistic.

The goal is not how fast you can take your protective style down. The goal is getting them out safely without damaging your hair that you worked so hard to protect.

Choosing the Day

I select a day that I know I have nowhere to go. I also select a time of day where I can get the most of my hair done, in the event that I do have to stop frequently. I highly recommend you do the same.

If you know you have to be somewhere at night don’t loosen your hair in the morning with hopes of being done before you go out. You won’t!

If you have somewhere to be in the morning, don’t begin taking your hair down the night before. You won’t be able to take down your extensions, wash your hair,  moisturize your hair and then detangle. Well not unless you plan on pulling an all nighter with no rest at all before your  scheduled obligations the next morning.

Take Down Tools

When taking down my protective style, I grab all my tools to ensure that I don’t need to get up for things that I forgot. I usually have all of the following items:

Scissors- to cut the lower part of the extensions off
Wide tooth comb- to remove all shed hair from sections of your hair
Rat tail comb- to loosen any tight knots and tangles
Water bottle- fill it with warm water, conditioner, and oil. This will help to soften your hair before loosening your protective style
Bag- to throw all extensions and she hair in.
Patience- Don’t rush. Don’t rip. Don’t count the minutes.

In the video below I show you how I take down my protective style

Are you rocking extensions? How long have you had them in and when do you plan to take them down?

Click back to the first page for our four takedown principles.

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Landry
Landry
7 years ago

This is a timely post! I plan on getting kinky twists installed this weekend. I plan on having them in no more than 8 weeks. I also plan to mist my hair and scalp with water, tea tree oil, and greepseed oil daily, and wash weekly.

Sue
Sue
7 years ago
Reply to  Landry

Same plan over here. I typically keep them in for 2 months max.

Curly Queen
7 years ago
Reply to  Landry

I follow a similar routine and my braid take down is so much more painless that it used to be and i barely loose any hair.

Tashaye
7 years ago

When I take down my braids, before I use a comb, a put conditioner through my hair. I gently go through and shingle conditioner in my hair. This keeps it from matting up when I co-wash my hair. This has proven to work for me in such a great way. As I condition, I seperate the hair and detangle with my fingers. I have less breakage and shedding when I do it this way. I hope this helps someone else.

Mrs. Rew
7 years ago

My daughters hair has been up in braids for almost 3 months with the exception of the front I have been taking them down and redoing them. I find that taking a saftey pin works on the buildup that has accumulated no hair loss barely at all.

Rachel
Rachel
7 years ago

Thanks! I just put my hair in braids (which I will keep for 2 months) and I never thought about conditionning before the take down!

Eboni
Eboni
7 years ago

Interesting, I never thought about conditioning my hair before take-down (#2). Gonna try that next time 😀 Before I braid, I shampoo & deep-condition my hair. Additionally I use a cream/styler to create twists, then I braid extentions into each twist, so that helps to keep my hair moisturized for the duration of the protective style. Plus it makes the take-down process much smoother, & I notice less shed hair on the sink/floor since doing my protective styles this way. I definitely use my fingers to take down each braid; never been a fan using a comb in fear of… Read more »

Rose Red
Rose Red
7 years ago

I am wearing genie locs aka yarn braids!

I keep them in about 2 months redoing the front and the edges and the back.

I spray daily with a mix of water and Hello Hydration conditioner.

I no-poo wash every 7–10 days or more if I’ve been in a smoky room.

I use a cotton ball soaked with witch hazel to clean my scalp and prevent the itchies.

I apply olive or coconut oil to my scalp twice a week or so.

Jo Somebody
Jo Somebody
7 years ago
Reply to  Rose Red

That’s nice, but how do you take them out efficiently?

Rose Red
Rose Red
7 years ago
Reply to  Jo Somebody

Oh and first I apply Suave Coconut conditioner to my entire head slathering it on each braid should be sopping and soaked with conditioner then I cut off yarn near where my natural hair starts- erring on the side of caution then takedown is easy just unravel and finger-comb.

Chikeebee
7 years ago

thanks for the article. very timely. i had twists done a couple of weeks ago and i’ve been wondering the best method to take them out with little breakage. my hair is very fine textured and prone to breakage.
i’ll definitely use a conditioner when it’s time to take the twiats out.

Penelope
Penelope
7 years ago

#2 is such a great tip. Thanks!!

Quin
Quin
7 years ago

Any tips for cornrow removal??

Styled Naturally
7 years ago

I normally saturate my hair with a BUNCH of braid spray. I cut the hair that doesn’t contain my natural hair, and then I unravel it with my fingers. Great tips by the way. Next time I get braids I will try that conditioning tip for sure!

Nitta M
Nitta M
7 years ago

I just came across this post and I think this will be helpful. I put in twist braids to help me transition (for the second time) and I do not want to lose any hair. Thanks for this post

Crysterical
Crysterical
7 years ago

Taking down yarn braids is such a painful process if you have a lot of buildup at the base of the braid. The BEST advice I have received was to make a baking soda paste and use a toothbrush to gently brush around the base of the braids and scalp and then rinse your hair with water and a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse. Works like a charm, made braid removal THAT much easier and minimized the amount of breakage during take down. This is also just good to do every few weeks with the yarn braids to keep your… Read more »

Amil d.
Amil d.
7 years ago

Hi, has anyone ever took down dreadlocks before. I had them for 6 years and I’m ready for a change. I love my hair a lot so I don’t want to cut it off. Please my hair is at it’s best. I already plan to keep it all natural once I taken them down. So if anybody has any advice or experience with my situation, please share your comments. Thanks everyone:)

Elle
Elle
7 years ago
Reply to  Amil d.

I took down my 3 1//2 year old locks from novem 21- december 21. it was a 1 month process because i had finals and work. the tools you’ll need: a LOT of conditioner a spray bottle for water combs of varying teeth widths, but the one you’ll use most is a fine rat tail comb. and PATIENCE!!!! saturate each loc with a slippery conditioner and water. take your time and comb from the bottom to the top. keep your ends stretched as you comb through to discourage more tangling than necessary. dont be alarmed by the hair that comes… Read more »

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[…] For more tips on how to take down extensions without damage click here. […]

Mani
Mani
7 years ago

I recently got twists and kept them in for two months. (I was going to go for three, but with the braid spray they were slipping off) I had slight matting only at the edges where my hair is very, very fine. The rest I was able to finger comb and remove most of the dirt I then combed through each area starting at the ends and worked my way to the root. Two previous attempts at braids had ended in disaster as I lost most my length and had to start over. This time I will have it redone… Read more »

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

I have had single braids in my hair for over four months now, washing them with a cleansing conditioner every two weeks. I have started taking them out but I cannot get the knots out of my real hair and I’m fearing that all of my hair will come out. What should I do!!!? HELP!

Ashley
Ashley
7 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Lots of conditioner, work slowly , with a fine tooth comb from bottom to top.

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
7 years ago

I’m about to take my braids out after close to 2 monhts. Will definitely put in some conditioner before I take them down. Great idea.

E. Joseph
E. Joseph
7 years ago

I Often Loose Hair When The Clumps of Dirt and Product Get To Hard To Break. I Use a Mix of Conditioner Baking Soda and Warm Water To Break The Dirt and Slip The Braids Out. It Works Good.

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7 years ago

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Hyspin
Hyspin
7 years ago

I have braid extensions in just over 2 months now since my rate of growth (not my retention) is only quarter inch a month I only half an inch of showing (it really looks like less than quarter because of the curl), is it possible tha I could push this style to 4–5 months instead of the 2–3 months? It will probably take 4 months or so to get long enough to start to matte.

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6 years ago

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6 years ago

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Stephanie
6 years ago

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NewbieNatural
NewbieNatural
6 years ago

I want to know. Is it a bad idea to get a sew in after taking down box braids?

Delia
Delia
5 years ago
Reply to  NewbieNatural

I would think so if it’s within the same month. The hair has already been pulled and tugged on for the individuals so I usually rest about a month before I let someone tug on my head again. Also, with back to back protective styles, sometimes the stylist will do them too tightly and this can result in more breakage than what would come from the manipulation alone.

Delia
Delia
5 years ago

I usually lose a bunch of hair when I just rush through it or try to comb down the twists, whether they are synthetic or my own hair. I probably should be taking them down with my hands after conditioning. I used to just spray with water and now I’m thinking it might be smarter to do the deep ‑con prior to take down, especially before a trim. I used to compensate by waiting a day or two and then doing an intense moisture treatment. These tips seem much smarter!

Professional Hair Detanglers
Professional Hair Detanglers
5 years ago

No matter if you wear your braids or weaves for more than 3 months or consecutively without giving you hair a break-safe and proper removal is key. So many people rush to remove their hairstyles and make mistakes that cause the hair at the roots to matt or tangle with the ends. We have to train hairdressers how to prevent these horrible mishaps. We only use the Take Down Remover/Detangler because it works on all types of hair textures and types.

We hope the video helps

Keshia
Keshia
4 years ago

This was a very helpful site, Im about to take down kinky twist that I have not washed & had in for almost 3 months. I am very nervous, I want to lose as less hair as possible. I am definitely going to use the conditioner suggest in hopes at minimizing the loss & breakage. Thank you again everyone.

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