Hey Beautiful! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

If you have box braids and you’re ready for a change, you may be thinking about cutting them. However, with cutting comes the concern that your braids are going to unravel. This could make a lot of work for yourself if you have to re-braid the ends of each braid. It could even completely ruin your hairstyle. Learning how to cut braids without unraveling can remove this fear and let you take control of your hairstyle.

Can you cut your hair in a braid?

Box braids are a popular and attractive hairstyle that many women love. Not only do they keep your hair manageable and looking its best for multiple weeks, but they can also help protect your hair. There are tons of different box braid styles to choose from, giving you complete control over your look. When your hair is braided, it is less likely to get tangled up or damaged by different styling products or tools.

Getting box braids can also help you grow your hair out faster. However, this can be both a blessing and a curse because as your hair grows longer, you may find that you want it shorter again. Longer braided hair can be heavy. You also may just not like where the hair is falling on your body and want to shorten it a bit.

This leads to a common question:  can you even cut your hair when it is in a braid? The answer is that you certainly can, as long as you take some precautions, which we’ll get into below.

How do you cut braids that are too long?

How to cut braiding hair shorter is another common question. The trick with cutting hair that is braided is to do so carefully and slowly. If you go too quickly or aren’t careful, you could make your braids uneven, with some being longer than others. Work with your hair in sections and compare the length of each piece of hair to the one next to it before cutting. 

You may want to ask a friend for help with cutting your hair. It can be difficult to make even cuts on your own hair, particularly the sections in the back. When you pull those sections to the front, they’re going to look shorter than they actually are. However, if you have a friend help, they can let your braids lay flat and straight along your back while they cut.

If you’re wondering how to cut micro braids, the process will be similar. Work slowly and carefully to keep the cuts even so you don’t end up with some braids looking a lot longer or shorter than the rest.

How do you cut braids with attachments?

If you have any attachments of adornments in your box braids, you’ll need to be more careful when cutting them. Consider where the attachments are when you are trying to decide where to cut your box braids. Don’t cut too close to each attachment, unless you are planning to cut them off all together.

How do you keep box braids from unraveling after you cut them?

If you are trying to learn how to cut knotless braids that are too long, you must make sure that you properly seal the ends of your braids. If the ends aren’t properly sealed, then the braids are likely to unravel after being cut. This will be a huge inconvenience as you’ll have to re-braid the ends, and you may not be able to get the braids to look as nice as they did before.

Below, we’ll share a few different techniques you can try to seal the ends of your box braids to keep them from unraveling after you cut them. Read through these ideas to decide which sounds like the solution you’re most comfortable with, then give it a try. You can always come back and try something different if your first attempt at sealing your braids doesn’t go as planned.

How do you cut braids that are too long?

Hot Water

Using hot water is one of the most popular options for sealing your braids. However, it is important to keep in mind that hot water won’t work for all types of box braids. It will only help to seal synthetic braids that become softer when they are exposed to heat.

So, how do you seal the ends of box braids with hot water? Begin by sectioning your braids. Break them into four different sections that will be easier to work with. Then, heat the water. You want the water hot enough that it will work to seal the braids, but not so hot that it will burn your skin if it accidentally spills or splashes. A temperature between about 160 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit (70 to 90 degrees Celsius) is probably about right.

AFter the water is heated, dip one of the braid sections into the water. You want the water to cover about the bottom two or three inches of each braid. Keep the braids in the hot water for approximately 15 seconds before removing them into a dry towel. Use the towel to pat the braids dry. Repeat these steps with the other three sections of your hair, taking care not to leave the braids submerged for too long, as they could unravel.


How do you seal the ends of braids? Fire can also help you seal your box braids after you have cut them. This approach works well, but it can be very tedious as you have to individually hold the end of each braid over a lighter. Additionally, as you may guess, it can also be more dangerous. It is possible that you’ll catch all of your hair on fire. Flammable materials are used to make some synthetic braids, which can make it even more likely for fire to spread more quickly.

If you want to try this method, do so very carefully. Just hold each braid over the flame for a few seconds. The heat will cause the end to melt just a bit, then you can pull the braid away from the heat and press down on the ends using your fingers to make sure it is well sealed.

Flat Iron

As an alternative to using an open flame, you could also try using a flat iron. So, how do you cut box braids and seal them with a flat iron? Try to pull out about six strands of hair from the end of the braid. Wrap these hairs around the end of the braid a few times to make a tight seal. Then, use the flat iron to press down on the ends where you looped the strands of hair. Use a pair of sharp scissors to trim any stray hairs.


Glue can also be useful when trying to decide how to trim braids and keep them from unraveling. It can be particularly helpful when dealing with twists, which are even more likely to unravel than a standard braid.

Nail glue is the best option when trying to seal your braids. It won’t stain your hair like superglue and is easy to work with. Before applying the glue to the end of your braids, make sure they are twisted all the way to the base. Add just a small drop of glue between the strands of hair and retwist them over the glue to ensure everything sticks together and stays in place.

How do you cut box braids?


How do I keep my hair from twisting unraveling? Did you know that beeswax can also help you learn how to cut box braids without burning them? If you twist the ends of your braids and apply a small amount of beeswax at the tip, it can help seal the braid and prevent it from loosening. 

Before applying beeswax to your hair, you’ll want to get the tips of your braids wet. Also, keep in mind that too much beeswax isn’t good for your hair, so you’ll want to take care to only apply it to the tips of your braids.

How to Keep Braids from Unraveling After You Cut Them: Closing Words

If you started reading this article afraid to cut your braids without them unraveling, we hope that you now feel confident to tackle the job without fear. When you know how to set your braids using one of the methods we shared above, you won’t need to worry about them unraveling. This will leave you free to cut your braids to any length you desire.

What is your vision for your hair right now? We’d love to hear how you plan to cut and style your box braids.

Check out these related posts on our blog:


How do I stop my braids from coming undone?

If your braids are coming undone, it likely means that the edges aren’t properly sealed or will need to be resealed. Follow the advice shared above to seal the edges by burning them with fire, sealing them with hot water, or using a flat iron.

How do you cut braids without unraveling?

To cut braids without unraveling, you must seal the edges after cutting. There are a few different ways you can seal the edges, including setting them in hot water, burning them, using a flat iron, using glue, or using beeswax.