By Jenell of 

How to Take Down Protective a Style without Damage

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

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

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

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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17 Comments on "How to Take Down Extensions Without Damage or Breakage (Part 2)"

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I wish I had seen this before I took my braids out last sum­mer. I was still new to nat­ur­al hair and took my braids out while my hair was dry. I had lots of break­age. My hair is bet­ter now but there are places that are uneven because of the break­age. I’m think­ing about get­ting twists, at least now I know how to take care of my hair.

Decid­ed to take my 5 week old Mar­ley-style twists out this week. This is the first time that I have had syn­thet­ic hair that approx­i­mat­ed the kinky tex­ture of my own. There­fore I can’t just get scis­sor-hap­py in a tan­gled patch. I actu­al­ly took two twists out just a few min­utes ago to see how dif­fi­cult it would be. There was a lit­tle lock­ing so I was freaked out at first, but only mid strand. The tips and roots were easy to free. I fig­ure it will take me an evening and most of the next day. I don’t think I’ll ever… Read more »
This could not be more on time. I have had kinky twists in for about 5 weeks & plan to take them down in the next 2–3weeks. The last time I had braids I was tran­si­tion­ing & I had to cut sev­er­al inch­es because I just took them out and imme­di­ate­ly wash my hair w/o comb­ing it out or any­thing and it just mat­ted into huge knots. It took me a full day to try to comb out some of the knots & the rest I just had to cut…it was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE, but was com­plete­ly avoid­able if I… Read more »
Some­thing that worked like a charm for me was putting con­di­tion­er at the base of my yarn braids as I took them down. I would cut the braid a half inch from where my hair was, unrav­el the braid by pulling the two yarn strands, and before I remove the yarn I take a gen­er­ous dab of con­di­tion­er (Silk Ele­ments MegaSilk Olive Oil con­di­tion­er at sally’s…amazing!) and gen­tly worked it in at the base of the braid until the yarn slid out. I con­tin­ued to rub the base of the braid with the con­di­tion­er to break up the post pro­tec­tive… Read more »

Very use­ful infor­ma­tion that can def­i­nite­ly ease the process!


Plan on get­ting box braids soon so this will be very help­ful.


When mois­tur­iz­ing your exten­sions do you just do your scalp or the extension’s them­selves?

I can’t speak for what any­one else does, but in my non-pro­fes­sion­al opin­ion, the best mois­tur­iz­er is plain water. If you have hard water, you might want to use cooled-off boiled water. If you want to get a lit­tle fan­cy, mix­ing in a bit of aloe vera, glyc­erin, or a light oil (jojo­ba, grape­seed) in a spray bot­tle works won­ders. I find that when the scalp is irri­tat­ed after exten­sions have been installed it is either a reac­tion to the mate­r­i­al (Some peo­ple are actu­al­ly aller­gic to the cheap­ie syn­thet­ic fibers. I’ve heard search­ing for “hypo-aller­genic” and “itch free” vari­eties… Read more »
I think that the length of time you keep in exten­sions should be direct­ly pro­por­tion­ate to the amount of time and care you put into your nat­ur­al hair inter­wo­ven with your exten­sions’ mate­r­i­al. I have had my waist length yarn braids in since ear­ly Octo­ber 2012. I do not plan on tak­ing them out until ear­ly March or ear­ly April 2013. I real­ly enjoy styling my hair and exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and tech­niques, so keep­ing them in is more a mat­ter of resist­ing the urge to rock my jum­bo puffs or a faux-hawk. I wash my hair a min­i­mum… Read more »

Thanks for this top­ic.


Just took out my yarn twists. I don’t use a water bot­tle instead the night before the “take down,” I sleep with a show­er cap after mois­tur­iz­ing my hair with a mix of aloe vera juice and water. I find this method loosens my hair and elim­i­nates the step of spritz­ing.

I had my yarn twists in for five weeks.

Ugonna Wosu

fusionof­cul­tures had a video on this too.

I have in Sene­galese twists (have had them in exact­ly 4 weeks!) but mine are start­ing to look untidy/fuzzy. So I’m tak­ing them down tonight. My tech­nique is sim­i­lar to the one shown in the video, glad for the sug­ges­tion of damp­en­ing my hair while in the twists first. Will cer­tain­ly be incor­po­rat­ing that into my rou­tine. Was very con­cerned about the amount of shed hair I usu­al­ly get from tak­ing down my exten­sions. Now that I’ve seen this video I real­ize it’s not quite as exces­sive as I thought. I just want to thank BGLH for these help­ful tips! xoxo

Don’t like this chick

Really Though

Whoa!! What is that about?!


Good to know


I gath­er all of my tools too includ­ing a mir­ror because I like to watch tv, so I’m not feel­ing antsy about just get­ting it out. The only thing that I don’t have is the spray bot­tle which I will be hav­ing now. I nor­mal­ly get corn­rows and i keep them in 4weeks, 6 weeks if I can’t seem to plan a good day to take them out.