If you wanna keep hair on your head, you gotta figure out how to detangle your hair in a way that minimizes breakage and in some cases, quite literally pain. If you’re nappy, you know that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. However, the key word here is minimize — not prevent. Because of the way nappy hair is structured with weak spot that correspond to all the twists and turns along the hair shaft, some breakage is inevitable. But if you become a master at detangling, you can pretty much limit the hair in your comb or brush to normal shedding and just a little bit of breakage. Here is a list of tips that can help you become a master at detangling your hair.

  • Use your fingers to gently pull the hair apart
  • Use a wide-tooth comb and detangle from the tips to the roots. If you run into a snag stop combing immediately and use your fingers or the tip of a rattail comb to untangle the knots
  • DO NOT snap a knot out with your fingers; that can unnecessary damage to your cuticles and cortex. If you can’t detangle a knot, use a pair of good quality hair shears to cut the knot out.
  • If you’re getting ready to shampoo, detangle hair and band it in sections to prevent shrinkage and retangling.
  • Don’t detangle dry hair
  • If you shampoo loose hair (because it’s too short to band) then saturate your hair with conditioner before combing through with a wide-tooth comb.
  • DO NOT rip your twists apart. Take them apart gently starting from the bottom. If you do them from the top, you risk knotting up your ends.

As you can see, there’s lot’s to consider when you go about the task of detangling your hair. And I’ll come back and add more tips as I think of them or run across information from other sources that are worth sharing with you. But doing it properly takes time, patience, and somtimes a bit of creativity, but in the end, you’ll be rewarded by seeing fewer broken hairs in your comb and over time longer strands of hair on your head.

5 Responses to “Detangling”
  1. gail says:

    detangling is easy when you use a knitting needle , it is so easy. by the way love this web site, it’s greattttt!

  2. nappyme says:

    Hi Gail!
    A knitting needle? Wow I’d have never thought of that one. But if it works it works, and if you have it hand go for it!


  3. luvmylocs says:

    hey gail,

    good idea! i’ve got some serious detangling to do. i used a knitting needle when i took out one of my locs and it never occured to me to try that with my loose (but tangled) ends.

    thanks girl!!

    i agree this site is very nice!! well done sista!

  4. Ms_Fro11 says:

    I wore Locks for 15 years and delocked 10 months ago….I am loving my soft kinky hair. My concen is breakage, tangling and very little growth. I was told that I should press my hair every now and then to lessen some of the pulling and tangling which causes breakage. Help 😦 I do not want to add heat to my hair. It is soft kinky and about 2-3 inch in the back and 3-5 on the top and sides. I do moisturize and twist loosly at night. Suggestions will be appreciated.

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Ms Fro,
      Glad you’re loving the hair. Eh… I wouldn’t use heat on my hair for that reason. Since you didn’t say, based on your length, I’ll guess that you’re wearing your hair in a twa (teeny weeny afro) at this point. If that’s the case, I’d say that from a detangling perspective you need to make sure you’re NOT just ripping through your hair with any grooming tool…period. For styling purposes, just use a pick to gently lift your hair, not pulling all the way through to the ends. If you’re seeing little coils on the floor on a regular basis when you comb, you’re simply always giving yourself a hair cut. As a result, you’re thwarting your efforts to retain length and realize longer lengths. Remember, hair always grows so that’s NOT the problem. You’re problem is protecting your ends so that you can get longer hair.

      When detangling, never do so dry. Perform this task AFTER you wash and by thoroughly coating with conditioner. Run a wide tooth comb through your hair.

      You might invest in the Tangle Teaser if you really want to get all the shed hair out without tearing up your hair. Yes that thing might look evil but it’s not. It has short, flexible teeth that are closely spaced and will smoothe your cuticles to give you a really nice finished look. They sell at Sally’s for about $9.99 or $9.50 if you have their beauty club card.

      Also get yourself a good moisturizer. This will be trial and error. I hesitate recommend a specific product because I have no clue what your texture is. If it’s like mine, it’s coarse in texture (meaning large diameter strands) and thick in density (number of strands per inch growing out of scalp) and very porous (meaning gets wet quickly but doesn’t hold moisture well).

      The strands themselves have irregular coils, loops, bends and can be multiple thickness from root to tip. It looks strong but is very fragile. It has no curl definition.

      My hair responds well to products that keep it soft/and or moisturized. I swear by proline lite creme moisturizer or similar products. You’ll have to decide what the characteristics of your hair are, what you want to accomplish (retain moisture, soft, strong hold styles) then pick your product accordingling.

      I hope some of this helps.

      Take care and good luck,

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