How to Cut Braided Hairstyles

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Braided hairstyles such as box braids can last six to eight weeks, but if you get bored with your hairstyle or if the ends get damaged, you might want to change your braids sooner. Frequently going back to salons to trim or restyle braids can be expensive and time-consuming. Trimming your braids yourself is a low-cost option if you want to change up your braided hairstyle or remove damaged hair without taking out the braids or spending hours in a salon. The process is not easy, but the money you'll save can make it well worth your time and energy.

Things You'll Need

  • Small rubber bands
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Hair-cutting scissors

Part the braids in the way you usually wear them. This will ensure that the length you cut the braids to is even when you wear your hair in its normal style. If you want a layered effect, a center part will be necessary.

Spray the section of the braids you plan to cut with water. This makes the hair easier to cut and ensures the cut will be more even.

Wrap a small rubber band around each braid just above the point you want to cut it to. If you plan to wear the ends loose, you can wrap the bands around a few braids at once to save time, but make sure each bundle of braids is no more than half an inch thick. For an even look, make sure each band hits at the same height of each braid so that they will all look the same length when you wear your regular style. For a layered look, hold the braids out at increments up to a 90 degree angle from the head and place the bands so they are an equal distance from your scalp at any angle.

Cut each braid with sharp hair-cutting scissors. Make sure you cut the individual braids so they lie at an even length with your chosen part. If you plan to leave the rubber bands in place to secure the braids, cut below the rubber band. If you plan to leave the ends loose, cut above the band.

Sharp scissors are less damaging to hair than dull ones.
Sharp scissors are less damaging to hair than dull ones. (Image: Two pair of scissors in a box image by Gabees from Fotolia.com)

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to check that the bands are where you want them before you cut. If you are unsure what length you want, go with a longer length. You can always cut again if the style is too long.
  • Cutting braids can cause the ends to fray a little if left loose, so consider leaving the bands in for a couple of days to make sure the braids are secure.

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