I love getting my hair braided because it’s easy to maintain, keeps my natural hair healthy and it’s my favourite fashion accessory. However, there are two things that I despise about getting braids — the installation process and the uninstallation process.
I’ve never been good with sitting still for long periods of time and this makes getting braids often cringeworthy for me — but, worth it. After 6-7 hours of sitting still, I am able to have long, ankle-length braids (because…doing the most) that last at least a month.
For an entire month, I am able to wake up every morning, and not have to worry about my hair. My mornings with braids usually consist of oiling my scalp, laying my edges and boom — out the door to seize the day!
Having braids can be so great that I forget all about the hours I spent to get them. That is, until it’s time for me to take them down.
The days leading up to me taking my braids down are usually spent procrastinating and mentally preparing myself for hours of — boring work. While taking braids down can feel like a job, there are ways to make the process less painful (emotional and mental pain).
During my last experience with taking my braids down, I came up with a routine and it made my experience tolerable — it even made the time go by quicker than usual.
Here are the things you will need:
Designated space to spend the next 4-6 hours
Towel to sit on
Comb with long, skinny handle
Trash bag to throw used braiding hair in
Playlist — currently loving Ama Khala Palette on Spotify
Patience and arm strength (they go hand-in-hand)
BONUS: a boyfriend or friend (to help, of course)
How to unbraid:
The actual act of unbraiding your hair is pretty easy. I make sure to cut a bit of the ends off so it is easier to unravel.
My natural hair is long, so I try not to cut too much off the ends to avoid cutting my natural hair.
Divide hair into 4 sections (two on each side)
Start with one section (I like to start with the back) and unbraid one at a time, using your fingers and comb.
Make sure to comb your natural hair out as each braid is removed, to avoid knots and tangles.
Once you get the hang of unbraiding, it’s only a matter of time before you establish a steady momentum.
What about when my playlist is over? — I have a plan!
You can start watching your favourite movie/series on Netflix or try a new one
Current faves: Roma, You, Sex Education, Russian Doll, and Dirty John
Are your eyes tired now?
Phone your bestie or loved one for a catch-up session
Listen to a podcast, or two
Hours have passed and…you’re starving!
Order UberEats and have food brought straight to your door
Tip: ordering a smoothie is easiest for me because it doesn’t take time away from me taking out my braids, it’s filling, healthy and satisfying
You can also get a bit of self-care in while taking down your braids!
When I know that i’m about 75% finished, I stop what i’m doing and apply a face mask. This way, I am practicing self-care, paying attention to my skin and tackling the big task of taking these braids down.
Once my braids are all out, I oil my scalp and make sure that my hair is completely detangled. I then shampoo my hair, rinse and shampoo again until all of the dead hairs are out. Lastly, I add a deep conditioner in my hair and put a plastic shower cap on for at least 45 minutes.
You can also try one of my homemade hairs masks, here.
After my hair is completely washed, I am left with healthier hair because the braids allowed my hair to grow without being constantly touched, combed or messed with.
If you despise taking your braids down, like me, try these tips and I promise your process will be more bearable and enjoyable.
What tips and tricks do you use when taking your braids down?