How to Remove Your Old Box Braids Without Breakage

old box braids

Box braids are a versatile and stylish hairstyle, but after a few weeks, it’s time to take them out and give your hair a break. However, removing braids can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially if they have been in for a long time. In this article, we will guide you through the process of removing braids, step by step, to help you do it safely and effectively.

Why You Should Take Out Your Box Braids in Time 

Taking braids out
Instagram / @therochellegraham

Braids, if left on for too long, can serve as a reverse of their purpose, instead of protecting the hair it would be damaging it instead and not to mention losing its visual aesthetics. Taking out braids on time is important for several reasons:

  • Hair Health: Braids can put tension on your hair and scalp, leading to thinning edges, hair breakage, and hair loss. Regularly removing braids will prevent this damage.
  • Scalp Hygiene: Keeping braids in for too long can lead to a buildup of oil, dirt, and bacteria on your scalp, leading to itching and dandruff. Removing box braids on time will keep your scalp clean and healthy.
  • Avoid Matting: If braids are left in for too long, they can start to mat and tangle, making it difficult to remove them without causing damage to your hair. Removing braids on time will prevent matting and tangling.
  • Maintain Style: Braids can start to look messy and unkempt if they are left in for too long. Taking them out on time will maintain the neat, polished look of your braid style

How To Take Braids Out

Taking braids out
Instagram / @kita.bryant

Taking braids can be a time-consuming and strenuous process if not done correctly. You could also end up losing tons of your hair if adequate patience isn’t exercised.

To remove braids, follow these steps:

1. Preparation

Gather tools and supplies. Before you start the process of removing your braids, make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies on hand. You will need:

  • A wide-toothed comb or brush specifically designed for detangling
  • A spray bottle filled with water
  • A deep conditioner or oil to moisturize your hair
  • Scissors or hair shears to snip the braids (optional)
  • A rat-tailed comb

2. Wet your hair

Wetting your hair makes it easier to detangle and can prevent breakage. Fill the spray bottle with water and spritz your hair to moisten it.

3. Cut the braids

If the braids are tightly woven, you can use scissors or hair shears to snip the braids at the base. Snipping the braids can make it easier to remove them and can help prevent damage to your hair. However, be careful when using scissors, and make sure you don’t cut your hair.

4.  Unraveling the Braids

Gently loosen the braids with your fingers, starting from the bottom and working your way up. This helps prevent tangling and breakage.

Use a braid-out comb or your fingers to gently unravel the braids. Take your time and be patient to prevent hair from breaking or getting tangled. Start from the bottom of your hair and work your way up. This will make it easier to remove the braids without tangling your hair.

5. Use a comb or brush

After removing the braids, it is advised to apply coconut oil, a leave-in conditioner, or a detangling spray to sections of your hair. A hot oil treatment can also be done where a blend of a variety of oils or coconut oil, poured in a bowl is warmed and applied generously to the hair massaging into the scalp to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles and promote hair development. Afterward, let it sit for 30 minutes to two hours.

Use a detangling comb or brush to gently detangle the hair working in small sections and leave it in a loose twist to prevent tangling. It is advised to thoroughly detangle hair as best as you can before a wash to prevent tangles and massive hair breakage. If the braids have been in for an extended period, the hair may be tangled or matted. It is also important to avoid pulling or yanking the hair, as this can cause pain and damage to the hair and scalp.

6. Do a Clarifying Treatment 

Braids would have accumulated dirt, product buildup, and oils. Do a clarifying treatment with an acid vinegar rinse or use an anti-residue shampoo, if any of that isn’t available a regular shampoo containing stronger surfactants would work well. 

To clarify with ACV rinse. Mix equal parts of water and ACV in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the hair, making sure to cover all sections evenly. Let the mixture sit on the hair for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the hair thoroughly with clean water to remove all traces of the ACV mixture. Pat the hair dry with a clean towel and air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Wash with regular shampoo. Wet your hair in lukewarm water and pour in a dollop size amount to your palms, rub together, and rub directly on the scalp as it tends to be the victim of dirt accumulation, product buildup, and oil traps. Rub gently to prevent tangling. Give hair a good rinse, and repeat the shampoo if needed. 

7. Moisturizing and Conditioning

After the wash process or routine, a hydrating conditioner should follow next, but in this case, the hair needs all of the moisture it could get. To ensure it is properly hydrated, apply a deep conditioner.

A deep conditioner can provide 3 times the hydration of an ordinary conditioner and works its magic from the inside out. A deep conditioner would negate the negative charges from the clarifying treatment and wash process while preventing split ends, and tangles and enabling easier manageability.

To apply a deep conditioner, pour in a generous amount to your palms, rub together, and apply to your hair ends working your way upwards and to the mid-length. Follow up with some finger detangling or use a wide tooth comb to thoroughly detangle any knots and give hair a good rinse.

After that, add in a leave-in conditioner, this is an incredibly important process as it ensures an all-day kind of hydration. This would be a rather exciting day for your hair especially if it hasn’t been privy to adequate care when tucked in a braid. For a leave-in conditioner, select one suitable for your hair need and porosity. Hair porosity is how well it absorbs and retains moisture.

Use a lightweight or water-based leave-in conditioner or moisturizing product for low-porosity hair as it typically has a harder time absorbing moisture but retains it quite well, a heavier weight leave-in conditioner and the moisturizing product should be applied on a high porosity hair which easily absorbs moisture and let’s out moisture quite easily too.


Removing braids can be a delicate process, but with the right tools and techniques, you can safely remove your braids without damaging your hair. Remember the key is to be patient, and take your time, if your arms are getting weary seek assistance from a friend or visit your stylist for professional help and afterwards provide your hair with the care and nourishment it needs.

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