Last November I posted about my marshmallow root detangler that I’ve been using and loving. Welp, last week I added slippery elm and the “upgraded” version made me break out in song and dance.

• Marshmallow root
• Slippery elm
• Water
• Oil of your choice (opt for lighter oils)
• Essential oil (optional)
• Spray bottle

1 — I boiled the marshmallow root for 30 minutes to release the mucilage (which is what provides “slip”) contained in the root.
2 — With a plain ol’ plastic strainer, I separated the root from the liquid/mucilage, pressing down on the roots with the back of a spoon to extract as much as possible.
3 & 4 — Added and mixed in slippery elm to the still hot marshmallow root brew. Slippery elm packs LOTS of slip. To release the mucilage, simply add hot water and allow the mixture to sit. I was lucky enough to find powdered slippery elm on Amazon for $6. My big bag of cut and sifted marshmallow root is nearly done so I will be replacing it with powdered marshmallow root from this vendor for $8.50.
7 — I added 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to mask the scent of the marshmallow root and slippery elm. It’s not unpleasant (very herbal), I just prefer not to have it in my hair.
8 — After stirring in the eucalyptus oil, I transferred the detangler to a spray bottle and then I added coconut oil… to the bottle only, not the rest of the detangler because I was planning on freezing the rest until my next wash.

Note: “cut and sifted” means that the herb has been chopped up and the very small particles are sifted out.

I used this new and improved last wash and I was in soft, detangled hair heaven. To apply, I shook my spray bottle to mix the oil (because it will otherwise sit on top of the liquid) and sprayed the detangler directly onto my hair. Using just my fingers, I worked the mix through my strands. After saturating my hair and working it into my strands, I was able to finger comb through my hair from root to tip with ease… something that does not happen with with 10 months worth of new growth! Below is my hair saturated with the detangler.

Three cheers for this homemade detangler! I no longer dread my pre-wash day detangling/co-washing/pre-poos, yay! Visions of adding powdered slippery elm and marshmallow root to conditioners to up their slip levels keep dancing before my eyes. I’m excited so see how it goes and will keep you posted (of course!). As for whether this can be used as a leave-in, I’ve never tried it but check out Fiona of LoveYourTresses’ post on her marshmallow root and slippery elm leave-in spray!

Check out my first version of this detangler here: DIY: Marshmallow Root Detangling Spray, It’s A Winner

Have you tried marshmallow root (+ slippery elm) as a detangler?


  1. Hi I was wondering if I could use extract instead of the tea or powder and how much should I use. TIA

  2. Hi abigail,
    Did you boil for 15 – 20 minutes first then strain and let sit to cool just after boiling and straning?

  3. Please help me. I ordered the powdered marshmallow root and slippery elm. I boiled the root and placed the slippery elm in hot water for a few mins and mixed the two. I'm very disappointed because I did get any slip AT All. Sigh. What am I doing wrong?I live in the Caribbean and shipping cost is not a joke

  4. I wanted to say that i ordered that powdered marshmallow root from the link above and it is very grainy. Even after straining 3 different times with cheese cloth and then with 2 layers of stocking its still filled with particles.

    1. Author

      I would — but I would make sure I avoid spraying my scalp and I would allow my hair to dry before applying relaxer to my hair.

  5. Thanks for the tips, I have ordered the powders and can't wait to try them several different ways.

  6. Oh I've also mixed slippery elm into my joico conditioner for slip and yes that does work! But I no longer do it because the deep conditioner I now use has a ton of slip already

  7. Oh I've also mixed slippery elm into my joico conditioner for slip and yes that does work! But I no longer do it because the deep conditioner I now use has a ton of slip already

  8. I wish u would give kinky curly knot today a try. I know u hated the shampoo (I've never tried it) but the KCKT has been a staple of mine in my 12 month transition. The ingredients are marshmallow root, slippery elm and mango extract and I think lemongrass. $11 bottle lasted me 4 mos because it's a very light cream type of texture and detangles instantly I love it. I would've broke down and went back to the relaxer had I not tried this lol

    1. Author

      I've had KCKT in my stash for months now! I really need to hurry up and use it!

  9. I have very thick/heavy hair and it is a nightmare to work with when wet. I use Shielo's Leave In Protectant which is the best detangler and leave in conditioner I have ever used. It makes it easy to comb through my hair when wet and leaves my hair silky after drying. Other leave in conditioners I have used have required a generous amount to work and then leave my hair flaky. The Shielo Leave In is light, so it doesn't weigh down your hair and you don't have to worry about having to use so much that it dries on your hair and flakes off. It is also a great heat protectant to use before straightening your hair.

  10. I bought marshmallow root and tried this method.. It didn't really work so I tweaked it and use the marshmallow root by its self as a rinse. I apply conditioner for about 5 to 10 minutes! I would of never thought to purchase marshmallow root until I saw your post! Thanks!!

    1. Author

      I'm all for tweaking! I agree, it works nicely as a rinse.

  11. I just tried the detangler. It works! I will be purchasing more ingredients to make a larger batch in the future. Thanks for sharing the process.

    1. Author

      Yay! I'm so glad to hear it's worked for you!

  12. So with these powdered versions, you don't really have to brew them right ? Just add hot water and that's it. Do you have to use a strainer?

    1. Author

      That's correct, you'd use hot water. A strainer isn't necessary.

  13. I have been wanting the Marshmallow root for a while now, thanks for including a link to it

  14. Bookmarking for future reference! This is actually a very great idea. It looks like it would also work well as a leave-in spray. I will definitely try this and see if it helps in untangling roots for me as well. Thanks for sharing! – Jason

  15. I'm a HUGE fan of the Naturelle Grow DC with both of these ingredients. Do you think this would make a good moisture mist?

    1. And I totally missed the end where you posted the link about a leave-in spray. Sorry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.