Cornrows provide several weeks or even months of a single hairstyle requiring little washing and maintenance. When it’s time to take the cornrows out, however, the braids might take just as long to remove as they took to style in the first place. Cornrow removal is a delicate process. Pulling or yanking can result in hair damage or hair loss. Approach the cornrow removal process gently and slowly, both as a courtesy to the wearer’s comfort and as a precaution against hair damage.

Things You'll Need

Douse hair roots and braids in removal cream. Allow the cream to penetrate for at least 20 minutes before moving on. Be prepared to apply more cream during the removal process. This step is not always necessary if the hairstylist did not use bonding glue when braiding the cornrows.

Cut off bonded tips of cornrows. If the hairstylist did not use bonding glue to secure cornrows but instead used miniature elastic bands, untie the bands to remove them without cutting, if possible.

Start unweaving a cornrow, working from the bottom up. Use a thumb or index finger to loosen tiny sections of the braid at a time. Treasuredlocks.com says to work slowly and gently to remove corn rows. Use the pointed end of a pick comb to stick in between woven hair to loosen braids, if desired. Work with one corn row at a time. Treasuredlocks.com suggests combing through each unbraided section before moving on to the next braid to avoid hair matting, which is difficult to comb out once braid removal is finished. Spray leave-in conditioner on tangled areas to assist in combing. Never tug at a tough tangle. Work on detangling small portions from the bottom up until smooth.

Wash hair using shampoo and hair conditioner. Depending on scalp condition, a lot of dry flakes and dandruff may be present. Gently massage the scalp to remove crusty, flaky skin. Many wearers will experience some shedding or hair loss after braid removal, and much of this will present itself during the washing process. Be prepared to clean out the sink or shower drain after washing.

Apply more removal cream if bonding material still remains after washing. Wash and condition hair again after removing excess bonding.

Allow hair to air dry. Let the scalp relax for at least three days after washing, as it could be tender.