These 15 tips will make detangling natural hair a stress-free activity you can look forward to every week.
When I went from relaxed to natural, I used to dread wash days because it was a nightmare detangling my hair and getting it to act right.
Back then, I just didn’t understand why at the sight of water, my hair strands would wrap themselves around each other.
On some days, it was an hour-long fight to detangle my hair, which invariably led to breakage and split ends.
However, with time came experience and I learned how to go about this without any tears as the years went on.
Nowadays, wash day is fast, easy, and completed in record time, with minimal hair loss. Below are the top 15 ways to have a hassle-free wash day.
15 Best Rules for Detangling Natural Hair
1. Avoid Dry Combing Before Detangling
Never ever try to dry comb natural hair. You will cry and you will get a big headache!
Always start on damp hair and finger detangle as much as possible before using the comb.
Read Combing Natural Hair and the Best Type of Comb for Natural Hair for tips on combing if you want to do this.
2. Wash When You Have Time to Detangle
Put wash day on a day when you actually have the time and patience to get through the detangling process.
If you’re in a hurry, you will rip out hair in frustration because you just want to get it over with.
3. Trim Split Ends
If you have split ends, they cause even more tangles. Split ends cannot be fixed no matter what you do. There are no magical solutions that can fix split ends.
You need to find some time to perform a mating ceremony between your ends and a pair of good trimming scissors.
Related Content: Can You Repair Split Ends on Natural Hair
4. Section Your Hair When Detangling
Always care for your hair and style in sections.
No matter what you’re trying to achieve — pre-pooing, shampooing, etc, if a liquid or gadget is coming in contact with your hair, it should be done in sections.
When my hair was shorter, I did everything in 4 sections. Now that it’s almost APL, I do it in 2 sections.
If your hair is extra tangly, you will have to detangle it into even smaller sections.
5. Pre-Pooing Makes a Difference for Detangling
Related Content: Liquid Aminos for Healthier and Longer Hair Growth
6. Dilute Your Shampoo
Repeat for all sections then return to the first section. Untwist and rinse out until all sections are done. Do not try to detangle at this stage.
Related Content: Benefits of Diluting Hair Products
7. Choose a Creamy Deep Conditioner for Detangling Sessions
After shampooing, apply an awesome creamy deep conditioner.
Afterward, finger detangle each section using the fingers on the ends and smoothing out for about 5 minutes before moving on to the next section.
There is some patience required at this point. If you come across knots, gently work between your fingers to un-knot. Twist and pin up.
8. Detangle From End to Root
Detangle your hair from the ends to the roots, not the other way around. If you do it the other way round, you will cause an alarming amount of breakage.
9. Steam With Heat
Cover with a disposable cap and steam for 30 – 45 minutes. Steaming with heat opens up the cuticles and allows the deep conditioner to work even better.
Steaming also makes the hair more receptive to the rest of the products applied.
I have the former for travel and the latter for when I’m at home. Another alternative is the Q-Redew Handheld Steamer.
10. Detangle More Than Once
Rinse out the deep conditioner then detangle again while in the shower with your fingers or another suitable detangling tool. Your hair should be like butter by now.
11. Don’t Leave Out the Leave-in Conditioner
Apply your leave-in conditioner while your hair is still damp. Work through each section. Make sure all your strands are coated.
- 23 Plus Best Liquid Leave-in Conditioners for Natural and Transitioning Hair
- 23 Creamy Leave-in Conditioners for Naturally Curly Hair
12. Style While Damp
Complete your style while your hair is still damp. Styling dry hair can be a bit challenging especially if you didn’t stretch your hair beforehand.
13. Air Dry Your Strands
Allow your hair to air dry as much as possible.
A hairdryer is fast but depending on the style and your hair type, applying heat to finish the style might lead to a nightmare on the next wash day.
The immediate aftermath may be dry and crunchy hair. I only apply heat when I’m blow-drying before putting in braids or cornrows.
If you must use heat, I highly recommend:-
- Dyson Hair Dryer
- Dyson Airwrap. I will be reviewing the Airwrap shortly.
- RevAir Hair Dryer
- One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
14. Dry Hair Hair with a Microfiber Towel
If you want to dry your hair a bit more before styling, use a good microfiber towel. Aquis Microfiber Hair Turban is a popular brand.
15. Wrap Your Hair Up at Night
After going through all that, make sure you sleep on a silk pillowcase or wear a silk or satin cap.
Final Word on Detangling Natural Hair
This might look like a super long process but I promise you, with practice, you will become more adept at detangling and get it done in less time.
Your hair will also thank you for it in the long run by rewarding you with length retention. Do you have any other tips for hassle-free detangling?
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Share in the comments section :).
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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