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How to comb and detangle natural hair

by Leah Wanjiku

Feb 2022

How to detangle your hair
How to detangle your hair

Ever brushed your hair and felt like the comb took out half of it?

It’s such a disappointing experience, more so after months of hair growth and health.

Once you learn how to detangle your curls, you’ll have control over breakage and damage, whether you do it after shampooing or when your hair is dry.

That’s what we want to talk about as we look at a few products that’ll make detangling less hectic.

First:

Should you detangle hair when it’s wet or dry?

Dry hair doesn’t have weakened protein bonds like wet hair, so it’s stronger. You can detangle it with your fingers or a comb.

But…

It’s a process that needs patience and skill, or you’ll have breakage, not forgetting the pain on the scalp when strands snap.

For these reasons, it’s much more effective and gentle to detangle wet hair. Start in the shower or after coating your hair with a conditioner to get a good slip and lubricate your hair strands.

So:

How can you detangle natural hair?

Let’s learn an easy detangling process.

Step 1

Spritz water, conditioner or detangler to give our hair moisture so you can comb through. If you’ve just shampooed your hair, detangle it when wet.

Step 2

Section your tresses gently using your fingers. If you did this before washing your hair, you’re ready for Step 3. If not, divide your hair with a wide-tooth comb to create manageable sections. The number of hair sections depends on hair length and density. The kinkier/curlier your hair, it’s recommended you create more sections to ease the detangling process. Use silk hairbands or headscarves to hold sectioned hair. Rubber bands make the messy mass even more painful and can cause unnecessary matting and ripping of your hair.

Step 3

Pick one section, and detangle it with your fingers first. If the hair is dry, lubricate your fingers with a suitable slip-rich hair oil or conditioner and run them through the hair. Attend to single knots in the section individually, loosening them gently.

Step 4

Run a wide-tooth comb through the section, with the other hand holding the hair at the bottom, so you don’t pull it too much. Brush hair ends, combing it severally to clear the knots as you move towards the roots. The hair conditioner will give you enough slip, but if it dries up, add some more. When the comb runs through to the ends, clip that section or twist out and move to the next part.

Here are a few things to remember as you detangle curly hair.

Detangle now & shampoo later

If your curls tangle a lot, detangle them before shampooing. Detangle your hair often to prevent huge knots. It can really help to use a pre-shampoo to make it easier to detangle and lubricate your curls before shampooing.

Section your hair

Long, curly hair can be messy. Therefore, divide it into manageable sections before you wash it. That’ll prevent it from turning into a tangled mess, and it’ll be easier to detangle sections than one whole mass.

Cut the knots off

Sometimes, the knots have to go. You try finger detangling, use a comb, moisten them, but the hair sticks together. In type-4 hair these fairy knots can happen even more frequently. In such times, cut them off with sharp hair scissors to minimise damage cutting as close to the knot and retaining as much length as possible too. Nonetheless, let it be the last resort.

What products are best for detangling?

In addition to a wide-tooth comb, you need:

A detangling brush

There are so many types of brushes out there. Today, we’re talking about getting one that withstands the rigours of combing wet, curly tresses. For example:

Bestool Detangling Brush

You’ll love the eight flexible free comb arms of this affordable brush. It reduces damage considerably, and you can brush vertically or horizontally.

Denman D3 Classic Styler 7 Row

If you want to splurge, here’s a lightweight brush that’ll define your wet curls or smoothen your hair, ready for heat styling.

A Leave-In Detangler

Do you have a favourite brand already? If you’re serious about detangling hair you’ve got to have a detangling spray that’s up to task. Specifically, lots of slip, moisturising and loosens knots to make detangling less damaging and quicker too.

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Now you know the detangling process and the tools to use.

But:

What are some ways to prevent knots in the first place?

Tie a scarf when going to sleep

A silk or satin bonnet or scarf prevents moisture loss and friction between your hair and the pillow. When you couple it with a satin pillowcase, you can turn in bed as many times as you want and wake up without knotted hair.

Apply a conditioner before shampooing

This trick helps people with hair that tangles fast when shampooing. Apply conditioner, run a wide-tooth comb through until all the strands have slip, then shampoo it. As you lather your hair, move your fingertips through it from the scalp to the ends.

Use the right comb

A fine-tooth comb will give you a headache because of the mess it’ll leave behind. Get a comb you can use on wet hair without breaking bristles.

Overall, curly or coily hair is manageable and beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you don’t believe me, check out Laila-Jean’s feed. She looks stunning whether she lets her curly tresses fall over her shoulders or wears a protective style.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Laila-Jean 👑🇬🇭 (@neffyfrofro)

If you need more assurance 4B-4C is adorable, see how Daphnie styles her natural curls. One of my favourites is her 12 ideas for styling a drawstring ponytail.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by D A P H N I E (@creolenaturelle)

As we conclude:

Final thoughts

You either take care of tangles today or endure breakage and the stress of combing knots.

If your hair knots fast, you should detangle it before and after shampooing. Don’t detangle dry hair. No! You might damage it further. Instead, spritz detangler or conditioner on your curls to increase slip. It doesn’t have to be a painful, stressful process. Go on; do it!