Detangling the Right Way: Do’s & Don’ts

detanglingmyhair
Prior to this super long relaxer stretch that turned into a transition to natural, detangling after 10-12 weeks post drove me up a wall. Thankfully, this time around detangling weekly has not sent me scrambling up any walls. Surprisingly, detangling on wash days has been drama free (and I hope it says like that!). Here are a few things I find to be helpful and a few that should be avoided when detangling.

DO’S

  • Use products that provide slip (e.g. conditioner, leave-in conditioner, or detangling spray) or oil when detangling your hair.
  • Use your fingers first, then move on to a large, wide tooth comb. Your fingers will always be gentler than a comb. Starting with your hands first is a great way to remove shed hair without risking too much breakage. I often run into what looks like an awful tangle only to find (after working the tangle loose with my fingers) that it was caused by one single strand wrapped around all the others.
  • If possible, invest in a seamless comb. I have two Hercules Sägemann combs (HS1975 and HS5580) and one Magic Star Jumbo Rake comb and I love them to pieces. All three combs are seamless, meaning the teeth of the combs have been sanded down to prevent any snagging or breakage when combing. Having a seamless comb may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, the difference is noticeable! When detangling, I use my Magic Star Jumbo Rake first and then follow up with the HS1975 or HS5580 to remove any smaller tangles the larger comb may have missed.
  • Start from ends of your hair and work your way up. You never, ever want to start detangling from your roots. Detangling serves two purposes: (1) to remove tangles and (2) to move shed hairs down the length of your hair. By starting at your ends, you’re clearing the path for shed hairs to slid down your hair without creating a “traffic jam” that will only cause more tangles and raise your frustration level.
  • Work in small sections.
  • Use the flow of water in the shower when rinsing your hair to help detangle your hair.

DON’TS

  • Never detangle dry hair.
  • Avoid using a small toothed comb.
  • Never rush. When stretching your relaxer or transitioning, be prepared to take the time to patiently work through your hair to avoid causing breakage.
  • Never start at your roots.
  • Do not detangle by attempting to slide the comb through from root to tip in one go. Start at the last 2 inches of so of your ends and detangle that first. Then, work your way up the length of your hair 1-2 inches at time.
  • If you go to the salon to have your hair done, do not be afraid to take over the detangling process if you notice your stylist using a small toothed comb or if s/he is not handling your hair with the care it requires. It’s YOUR hair.

HOW I DETANGLE

  • For me, the detangling process really starts in the shower. When rinsing out anything I always use the flow of the water to help detangle my hair.
  • After t-shirt drying, and applying my leave-in conditioner + serum, I detangle using a wide toothed, seamless comb (alternating with my fingers when necessary).
  • I work in small sections, and start at my ends working my way up.

12 Comments


  1. thanks for this post!! I'm texlaxed and my ultimate goal is for my hair to get that thickness back a bit moe than before! I defintly do finger detangling with argon oil or Oil tea tree moisturizer , I'm finding that now my ends seem to "fuse" togetther I deep conditioned my hair like 3 weeks ago possibly its because of the heat, but i keep detangling and wearing protective styles i'm waist length Love your blog!

  2. I love this post! every time i go to the hairdresser (black) before i get a relaxer she dry detangles my hair, uses a normal comb AND rushes! then when i flinch or shed a tear she says oh you're just "tender headed". Its sooo irritating!! and when my hair is all done she says she has to cut it because of all the breakage -__- . I would do my own hair but I'm prone to messing things up and i don't want to have bald patches lol

  3. Hi Jen,
    These are some wonderful tips. I think you covered everything. I have been trying finger detangling, and it has helped a lot. Thanks!

  4. Love your tips. I have been doing this lately and I do try to be as patient as possible especially when there is a lot of new growth

  5. those seamless combs are def on my want list! thanks for this neat post Jen.

  6. I need to go back to washing my hair and detangling in the shower. I have gotten a bit lazy when it comes to this.

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