Oooooooo, I cringe as I reminisce over the many times I would rake, tug, and basically rip out tangles from my DRY natural hair during my first 5 years of being natural.
Back then, there was not nearly as much information about natural hair care as there is today. We have YouTube, blogs, websites, forums, conference, Pinterest, Facebook, ebooks, hardcopy books, and everything else as resources. I am very impressed by how far the natural hair movement has progressed over the decade since I have been natural. Through these venues (and personal experiences) I have learned how to better manage and care for my natural hair.
There are several components that makeup the natural hair care process. Detangling is one of them and it considered a very critical step in properly maintaining healthy natural hair. It is the one process that can make or break any retention effort you may have for your hair. With this in mind, I have laid out several tips to aid in improving your natural hair detangle process:
- Only detangle hair in a damp/wet state.
- This is important especially if your hair is already prone to dryness and/or is damaged; manipulating your hair in these two states increases the chances of breakage and split ends. By detangling the hair damp, the hair is more pliable to work with in order to remove tangles and knots.
- Use conditioner and/or oils to add slip to hair.
- Water is just the first level in making the hair more conducive to detangling but adding conditioner can make the process 10 times easier and faster than using water alone. Adding oil to the conditioner boosts the slip factor, which is frequently welcomed by our hair!
- Finger detangle most, if not all, of hair first.
- Our most gentle tools should be our fingers. With them, we can better maneuver through tangled areas and work out smaller knots compared to using a plastic comb that is rigid and has no sense of the amount of tension being applied to a troublesome area. If possible, finger detangle hair first to reduce the amount of times a comb/brush is used through the hair. Less manipulation=greater retention.
- Start from tip of hair and work way up
- This always send me back to those horrific instances I mentioned in the first sentence. Working from the ends to the roots can save you from a lot of headaches and pain (literally). This is because you are not trying to force out a whole section of tangles by starting all the way up near the roots. Beginning from the bottom allows you to focus on a smaller number of tangles at one time.
- Detangle in smaller sections.
- This especially applies when detangling old loose hairstyles such as twist outs, braid outs, and wash and gos. Doing smaller sections at a time gives you a better control on gently removing each knot and tangle from the hair.
- Twist or braid detangled section.
- What is the point of going through the entire process of detangling your hair just to leave it loose and retangle as your work on other sections of the hair? Loosely twist/braid each detangled section as you go so that once you are done with the entire head, your efforts would be preserved.
Our natural hair is naturally fragile compared to other hair types so solidifying your detangling process will help take you further in reaching your goals through your healthy hair journey. I hope that implementing these tips will assist you in having a gentler yet more efficient detangling experience for you and/or your child.
How is your detangling process? Is there room for improvement? What other tips do you implement in your own detangling routine?