By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

Long term pro­tec­tive styles which are kept in place for sev­er­al weeks are excel­lent for pro­mot­ing hair growth reten­tion.  After keep­ing a style for that long, the hor­ror sto­ry  is to end up hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time tak­ing down the style and end­ing up with hair on the floor rather than on your head. Here are my tips on how to min­imise break­age from long term pro­tec­tive styles and keep the hair that you worked hard to retain.

1. Know your limits: Do not keep the style for too long

Depend­ing on your hair tex­ture (whether it is kinky or curly or both , whether indi­vid­u­al strands  tend to mesh or not, whether your strands are fine or aver­age or thick, whether your hair shrinks when washed or not), you will have a lim­it as to how long you can keep the pro­tec­tive style. For most tex­tures this is 2–4 weeks for twists or corn­rows, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that the hair is not as tight­ly com­pact­ed with twists  and there­fore if your hair tends to mesh , it is impor­tant not to keep the style for over­ly long espe­cial­ly if you are reg­u­lar­ly wet­ting the hair. For braids this can extend to 8 weeks depend­ing on the hair tex­ture (kinky hair usu­al­ly han­dles braids bet­ter), braid size (small braids usu­al­ly last longer than thick­er ones), instal­la­tion and care for the hair around the perime­ter (redo­ing the perime­ter every 2–3 weeks is usu­al­ly advised).

2. Condition your hair before the take down

Most nat­u­rals tend to wait to take down the pro­tec­tive style before giv­ing hair a prop­er wash and con­di­tion. My tip is to do this on the day before the take­down.  If you nor­mal­ly con­di­tion your hair for 10–20 min­utes, then try to go for 20 min­utes. If you like to deep con­di­tion with heat, then do so. The rea­son for con­di­tion­ing pri­or to tak­ing down is to essen­tial­ly use the hair con­di­tion­er to soft­en hair and add mois­ture to it. The day imme­di­ate­ly after con­di­tion­ing, hair will be flex­i­ble but strong as it will be mois­turised but not wet. It will also have deposits on the sur­face from the con­di­tion­er which soft­en the strands which fur­ther allow them to bend eas­i­ly.  Hair is there­fore in the most ide­al state to resist break­age from the comb stab­bing at the braid/twist and also any stretch­ing and pulling. You can wash and con­di­tion your hair again once the style has been tak­en down espe­cial­ly if you have small­er twists or braids and may there­fore not have accessed your scalp prop­er­ly.

3. Unravel rather than comb

You can use a rat tail comb to undo your pro­tec­tive style but if your twists or braids were prop­er­ly installed it is often much kinder and gen­tler to unrav­el your hair. In a good instal­la­tion the two strands that are wrapped around each to make a twist or the three strands for braid­ing are kept sep­a­rate with­out need­ing to feed some hair from one into the oth­er . This min­imis­es mesh­ing of hair which can be fur­ther aggra­vat­ed by wash­ing and shrink­age of the pro­tec­tive style. If you find your­self need­ing to use a rat tail comb quite often beyond  2 inch­es of your ends (often it is hard to avoid mesh­ing at the very end), you  should con­sid­er prac­tis­ing and per­fect­ing your instal­la­tion tech­nique.

4. The usual suspects

Slip is essen­tial espe­cial­ly at the ends of twists or braids. Use what­ev­er is your favourite pro­duct which will allow your hair to feel slip­pery and let strands glide past each oth­er . This can be oil, leave in con­di­tion­er, dilut­ed rin­se out con­di­tion­er, spray bot­tle with water and oil or a con­coc­tion of your choice.

Click to the next page for a detailed take­down video tuto­ri­al.

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42 Comments on "How To Take Down Braids and Twists Without Experiencing Breakage"

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Dusty

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Daisy

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Jacquelyn

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Emmanuel

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Todd

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Lilla

Hi, always i used to check blog posts here ear­ly in the morn­ing, as i like to gain knowl­edge of more and more.

Stephanie

Is any­one gonna answer her ques­tion instead of prais­ing her work? (Good Info though)

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NewbieNatural

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

Delia

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

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

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

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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