How To Detangle 4C Hair After Removing Rubber Band Box Braids

The reality of what I faced after removing box braids was very stressful. I would spend the majority of wash-day trying to detangle my 4c hair. It was a neverending battle of single strand knots, shrinkage, and breakage. That is enough to reach for the scissors, which I have done a few times. However, I am on the unfaltering journey of growing my hair out instead of shaving it off in the name of convenience. 

Tangled 4c hair after removing box braids

I don’t know how many times I had to give myself a reality check over an issue that I supposedly already conquered. The answer is always mind-over-matter. When you can control your mind, your dreams turn into reality. Yet somehow, what should be a simple process, becomes complicated by thoughtless habitual actions. 

I bet you have been there before. You began removing your box braids one by one, combing it out before moving on to the next. By the time you finished, your entire head became tangled again. Taking out the small braids you thought were so fly left your arms feeling like a continent was sitting on each bicep.

The last thing you want to do is put your hands back in your head, but more detangling is inevitable. Since it was no longer in a protective style, all your hair needed to become more knotted was time. Shrinkage was front and center, as was frustration. What is a girl supposed to do?

I tried finding the right product to act as the perfect slip for detangling my 4c hair but watching the increasing pile of conditioned knotted strands gather on the ground only added to my anxiety. It was time to form a new routine. The first problem I had to solve was how to remove box braids without having to detangle my hair numerous times. 

Removing Box Braids

Firstly, I opted for installing larger box braids and used rubber bands to secure each parted section. It prevented the roots of my hair from entangling with one another. You can skip the rubber bands if your parting and gripping skills are on point.

To safely remove the rubber bands box braids, I carefully pull the rubber band away from my scalp and cut with scissors. I then use my finger to separate the strands from one another. Please have patience while removing possible buildup to avoid breakage.  

If there is a lot of buildup around the base of your hair, use a little olive oil on your root and gently finger detangle. The olive oil will deep condition your hair and prevent excess stripping of your natural oils during shampooing. Dry hair is prone to breakage.

Once you feel the lubricated strands are knot-free, detangle your 4c hair with a wide-tooth comb in sections. Plait your hair after detangling each section. You can watch the quick process below.

Video instructions of how to safely remove rubber band box braids from 4c hair

The routine reduced my wash day by several hours because I ceased the bad habit of leaving my hair out as I removed the protective style. Once detangled in sections, it was easier to manage while shampooing. The next step was to create a new routine for washing my hair. 

Detangling lesson

To learn from my mistake, here are three simple tips for hair manageability:

  1. Avoid leaving your hair loose after removing it from a protective style. 
  2. Keep your hair sectioned at all times before styling.
  3. Only detangle your hair once in sections before washing.

Finish up those products and keep reading there is a light at the end of the wide-tooth comb. If you skipped step one and your hair is matted beyond all reason, try detangling it dry. Controversial, I know.

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