Here's How to Take Down Your Weave Without Accidentally Chopping Off Your Own Hair

This is Winging It, where we're helping you master your favorite salon treatments and looks without having to leave the house.

WINGING IT: How to Take Down Your Own Weave
Photo: Jimena Roquero/Stocksy

Getting a fresh install a few weeks before COVID-19 probably seemed like a good idea in the moment. But now that it's time for a refresh, the thought of taking down your weave without the help of your trusted stylist is surely a little more intimidating. Even if you're in a state where salons have reopened, you still may not want to risk visiting one, and so you're on your own.

That's why we spoke with none other than celebrity hairstylist Nai'vasha (you've seen her hair magic on Tracee Ellis Ross and Nathalie Emmanuel), to give you step-by-step tips on how to safely take out your sew-in without accidentally chopping off a chunk of your own hair. Because the last thing any of us needs right now is a hair tragedy.

All of her best tricks, ahead.

What Tools or Products Will I Need to Take Out My Weave?

Make sure to have basic scissors (you should avoid cutting sheers, but anything that can cut through thread is fine), a paddle brush, alligator clips, great lighting, and a mirror.

You'll also want to have your favorite cleanser, detangling conditioner, and deep conditioner ready in the shower for once you've finished.

How Do I Safely Remove My Weave?

Depending on the amount of leave out you have, or how many tracks were installed, starting at the nape of your neck increases the chances that you'll accidentally cut of your own hair, which is why you should avoid doing this at all costs.

"When removing your weave on your own, you should always start at the top [of your head] and edges," Nai'vasha recommends.

Once you're ready to get started, twist your leave out into bantu knots, to avoid mixing it up with your extensions, then secure it at the top of your head with the clips. If you have a closure, use the clips to instead separate your hair from the closure, then slide one end of the scissors underneath the knots and gently pull, then snip.

When it comes to the tracks, you want to follow a similar method. First, examine the top of the extension (aka the weft) to identify where the thread is. Once you've found it, slowly slide your scissors underneath, being careful to not catch any hair, then gently tug and snip away until the track is loose.

Repeat these steps, layer by layer, until your extensions are completely out. For the back of your head, or any hard-to-see areas, use a mirror or two to help you out.

VIDEO: Taraji P. Henson's Hair Is Now Longer Than Ever Before

What Do I Do About These Braids?

"Now that the extensions are out, begin unbraiding the hair in the direction of the pattern," says Nai'Vasha. You should also be mindful that as you're taking out your braids, more thread may come out, which often times can resemble your actual hair — so don't panic.

And while, yes, your weave braids may look like some of Allen Iverson's most complicated plaits, they won't be any harder to unravel than regular straightbacks.

Should I Take Any Special Steps When It Comes to Washing My Hair?

Yes, because chances are your hair will have a few more knots than usual.

"Gently detangle the hair in sections, brushing from ends to roots thoroughly," says Nai'vasha. "Then saturate the hair with Emerge It's Knot Happening Sulfate-Free Shampoo for a deep conditioning cleansing."

Once you've rinsed out your shampoo, apply your favorite deep conditioner, put your hair in a shower cap and let the product sit in your hair for around an hour or so.

Can I Save My Extensions and Re-Use Them Later?


If you used high quality human hair (and sometimes synthetic), then the answer is typically yes. Just make sure to wash, condition, and detangle the hair, then lay it flat to dry.

However, if you're noticing that your extensions are looking straggly, or they're severely matted and damaged, it's definitely time to part ways.

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