Protective styling is can be tons of fun, but the take down process can be a bit daunting especially if you are dealing with a busy hectic schedule. Fortunately I’ve come to the rescue (throws cape on) with 4 easy steps I took to help take down my box braids on my cherished day off. Before I start I will state that the length of time it takes you to take down your protective style depends on two things:
1. The type of protective style you have installed (we’ll be discussing box braids for this posts’s purpose)
2. The length & size of the protective style (my box braids were about tail bone length so they were quite long)
So because my box braids were extremely long and pretty small (about 80 braids on my head) the entire process including wash day regimen took 7.5 hours. I started at 2:30 and was done at 9:00. Granted I did take a few breaks, and embraced many welcomed distractions (Sex and The City marathon is hard to resist). So I would say it was less painful than the time makes it seem. What was different this time than my other times taking down my box braids is the 4 easy steps I used to make the process painless and efficient.
1. Parts & Sections: The first and most important part of taking down any protective style is to put your hair into sections. I split my box braids into four sections. This will help you maneuver around your head and ease the process. It will also help with detangling once the protective style is out. I also find that it helps me mentally to know I only have two sections or one section left to tackle.
2. Cut excess hair: Depending on the length of your hair this step may make you very happy or make you very sad. Because my box braids were extremely long and my hair is no where near that length I was able to cut at least half of the braid off. Box braids can be extremely annoying to take down because you have to physically unbraid the hair as opposed to faux locs or twists that unravel once they are clipped. However cutting the hair in half sped the process up quite a bit since I had less hair to manually unbraid. This can be a pain if your hair is a similar length to your protective style since you definitely don’t want to cut your own hair while snipping away. Always err on the side of caution when cutting excess hair in any protective style.
3. Pre-poo/condition as you go: This may seem like an annoying step or overkill but the reason I was able to cut down on my wash day regimen is because I was pre-pooing/detangling as I went along this way I wouldn’t have to do it all at the end. Once you’ve removed a protective style in its entirety, you are often tired, annoyed, frustrated…etc and start handling your hair improperly just to finish. As I finished removing my box braids from each section I kept the hair parted into that section, added my favorite oil, detangled and kept it clipped up as I moved on. This not only gave it the pre-poo treatment time while I worked on the other sections, but my hair was all the way detangled by the time by box braids were removed.
4. Get help: If you have really small box braids or you’re just tired and overwhelmed, get an extra set of hands and eyes to help you speed up the process. I had Shakira with me during our Sex and The City marathon and although she didn’t pitch in during the take down, I like to keep someone near when I’m going to be taking down a time consuming protective style.
What steps do you take when taking down your protective style and how much time has it saved or cost you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below
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