One of the first things you should learn when caring for your natural hair is how to detangle it, especially as your hair grows longer.

Natural hair is known for being…difficult. But, in all honesty, that’s only because people don’t know how to care for it.

When you’re constantly exposed to people who can glide a brush or comb through their dry hair, you start to feel like the odd one out. You start to believe that there’s something wrong with your hair.

The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with your hair. Your curls, coils, and kinks are beautiful. 

Here are seven tips to help you begin your detangling journey!

1. Be Gentle

First and foremost, you need to be gentle with your hair. It’s tempting to just drag a brush through it, but in the process you’ll rip out perfectly healthy hair.

The purpose of detangling is to get rid of the shed hair that often tangles with new growth. You’re going to have to be patient.

Think of your curls as a beautiful plant. It’s important to cut off those dead leaves, but you don’t want to destroy all your hard work in the process. 

2. Use Your Spray Bottle

Water is your hair’s best friend. It hydrates and adds some slip, making it easier for the coils to slip apart from one another. I do not recommend even attempting to detangle dry hair. I’ve seen people do it before, and it just looks painful.

 

3. Use a Product with Slip

On top of water, use a product with some slip to help those knots loosen. Without slip, the hair strands scratch against one another, leading to more tangles. The difference when you add slip will be very noticeable! 

I have high porosity hair that adores my moisturizing leave-in conditioner. I also detangle my hair a bit when I pre-poo with oils, to fully part my hair away from the style it was in. 

4. Use Your Fingers

I’ve never been able to pull a comb or brush through my hair, no matter how wet or slippery without first finger-detangling.

My hair has a tight curl pattern, meaning my hair strands like to stay close, so I have to be careful with how I separate them. 

Finger detangling allows you to break your kinky-coily hair away from the protective styles you placed them in, and put them into new sections for wash day. It also allows you to feel just how many knots are in your hair and isolate them.

Unlike brushes and combs that pull through your hair, your fingers can gently move your strands apart from one another. 

5. Always Start at the Ends

The tighter your curls the harder it is to detangle. This is simply because your hair likes to be close. Starting at the roots, where your baby hairs are, won’t do you any good.

If your hair is curly/coily/kinky, the strands naturally re-curl around one another, to prevent this from happening you have to start at the ends. 

Starting from the bottom gives the shorter strands a chance to loosen up, making it easier for your fingers, comb, or brush to glide through. 

6. Put Your Hair Into Smaller Sections

There’s nothing sadder than taking the time to detangle your hair, only for it to tangle again within the hour. This is especially true if you have a lot of hair.

The cause of this predicament is that coily hair (type 4 hair specifically) returns to its natural state when wet. If you moisturize all of your hair at once, the neglected areas will shrink. 

I have different textures in my hair, and layers, so I need to put my hair into sections to properly care for it.

Most of my hair is coily, so if I don’t put them into large twists while I detangle, they will shrink until they become tiny afros. If this happens, you’ll have to start all over!

7. Be Careful with Brushes and Combs

Thick hair does not like being told what to do. It’s tempting to get mad and give up on being gentle with your hair, but it’s important to remember the benefits of taking your time. There are a lot of brushes and combs that people swear will cut your detangling time in half, but that doesn’t change the fact that curly hair like to curl. 

Depending on a variety of factors – how wet your hair is, how much product, the type of product, the thickness of your hair, the length of your hair, and the porosity of your hair – certain brushes and combs will give you different results. 

I hope these tips help! Sometimes I have to remind myself not to rush the detangling process too, so no worries. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you did what you thought was right and tried your best.

Make sure to check out my previous post on this month’s 30-Day Writing Challenge!

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