Transitioning Talk: Tackling Tangles

transitioning-talk-tangles

Melanie asks: Hi Jen, you’re almost at your 1 year mark since you last relaxed your hair and I DON’T UNDERSTAND how you make it look so darn easy! I’m only 9 weeks post and I feel like I can’t handle the little new growth I have now. Please tell me what has helped the most because I swear it’s like all that new growth you have does not faze you. It is because your new growth doesn’t tangle naturally? Share the secret girly!!!!!!

Hi Melanie! Oh no, left unstretched and without moisture my new growth loves to mat together and tangle. My biggest focus over the last 11 months has been to to (a) keep my hair moisturized and (b) keep my natural texture (and texlaxed hair) stretched enough to prevent matting and tangles. A moisture-focused regimen and stretched hair have kept me sane because I. hate. dealing. with. tangles! And I’m sure if I constantly had to deal with long detangling days I would have either caved in and relaxed my hair or grabbed my shears and chopped my relaxed hair off.

Here’s what has helped keep me from cussing out my hair on wash days:

[1] PRE-POOING SETS THE STAGE

On wash days I will either pre-poo (pre-poo means pre-shampoo treatment) by either:

After applying oil, conditioner, or detangler to my hair I use my fingers to gently detangle my hair and remove shed hairs. Adding water to already tangled hair is a bad idea so working out tangles and removing shed hair at this stage sets the detangling stage for the rest of my wash day.

[2] I WELCOME CLEANSING CONDITIONERS THAT PROVIDE SLIP AND DETANGLING SHAMPOOS

. . . for obvious reasons lol. I’ve been shampooing less and less (which is funny because I used to hate co-washing in the past) but I’ve been lucky enough to find cleansing conditioners & shampoos that provide slip and detangle my hair. My current go-to’s are:

[3] WATER FLOW HELPS DETANGLE TOO

This one might seem very simple but trust me, it works. When rinsing out my hair for anything, I angle my head and use the flow of water to help detangle my hair as well.

[4] HOW I SHAMPOO MATTERS

When co-washing or shampoo in my hair, I work in 4-6 sections and work product down the length of my hair (not side to side/rubbing). When working on my scalp, hold the length of my hair with one hand while massaging my scalp with the other hand. Holding the length of my hair prevents my hair from shifting around too much which minimizes tangling. For shampoos only, I use a color applicator bottle, dilute the shampoo with water, and use the applicator tip to apply the shampoo directly to my scalp and then work the lather down my hair.

Here’s my full video on how to shampoo your hair to reduce tangling.

[5] LEAVE-INS THAT PROVIDE SLIP? YES PLEASE!

Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In and Komaza Care Matani Leave-In Conditioner have become my two fave leave-ins for softening and providing slip. My favorite serum, which should come as no surprise, is Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum. Either combo (Kurlee Belle + PMSSS or Komaza Matani + PMSSS) help make detangling my now 5+ inches worth of new growth an easier experience.

[6] KEEP MY NEW GROWTH STRETCHED!

If you’ve been tuning on Wednesdays for my wash day post you already have a sense of how important keeping my new growth stretched is. I would not have made it this far without a horror story or two to share if it weren’t for consistently keeping my new growth stretched. Left to it’s own devices my natural texture(s) loves to mat and tangle so keeping it stretched is very important. By keeping my new growth stretched I’ve also experienced fewer single strand knots (I hate those!).

[7] MOISTURE IS MY BEST FRIEND

Dry new growth is more susceptible to tangling and breakage. Even though I no longer co-wash/deep condition mid-week (I gave that up months ago because I don’t have it me to work to stretch my new growth twice a week), deep conditioning on wash days and moisturizing nightly during the week (my natural hair loves HairVeda Red Tea Satin Moisturizer) has been enough to keep my hair adequately moisturized.

The moral of the story is that my transition has been pain free when it comes to tangling because I tackle tangles at every step and keep my hair as moisturized as possible.*

*Even though my regimen is moisture-focusd, I still incorporate protein treatments from time to time to strengthen my hair against breakage and prevent moisture overload.

18 Comments

  1. Great post Jen, I need to put these tips into practice. My main problem at the moment is dealing with tangling between my natural new growth, texlaxed and bone straight hair x

    1. Author

      Thanks Lesley. Handling 3 textures can be a major pain!

  2. Detangling pre-shampoo and keeping my hair stretched are the ONLY reasons that I've made it this far into my stretch (almost 1 year post *throws confetti*) I just started using Shea Moisture Co-washing Conditioner Cleanser and I realllllly like it. You should try it!

    KLP | SavingOurStrands

  3. This sounds like my regimen. Lol I don't midweek cowash as much anymore just out of pure laziness. I have another 10 weeks until I make one year post. Yay!

  4. So glad you did this post, I'm currently 3 months post-relaxer and sometimes it's so hard to detangle… I'll try your your DIY marshmallow and the other tips

  5. Lovely tips Jen!
    I'm currently 31 weeks and also transitioning long term and I have to say it's been good so far. I combine Relaxed Thairapy's combing at multiple steps throughout wash day along with your method of tension blow drying and this NG is totally behaving!

  6. I had a harder time with detangling at the beginning of my transition than I do now, and I am convinced it was because I didn't know anything about pre-pooing or how to properly moisturize my hair! This is a great list of tips, thanks!

  7. I love love love my Cream of Nature Sunflower & Coconut Detangling Shampoo.It makes my new growth so easy to comb through.

    1. Author

      I've heard good things about this shampoo. It's great that it makes handling your new growth a breeze! That's always a win in my book

  8. I'm 5 months post and realise I needed to change up some of my products. I got my techniques down but my current products are not moisturizing enough for my NG.

  9. Hi Jen! I'm so glad you did that post. I'm transitioning since November 2012 and I've also decided to change a little bit my regimen in order to focuse more on moisture. Recently, I was wondering if it wasn't a bad thing but now I see that you're doing the same thing so I think it's ok. For now I can keep up with 2 wash hair days per week.. But there are weeks when I absolutely don't feel like doing it.

    The products that help keep my hair tangle free are : Keracare hydrating and detangling shampoo, Aubrey honeysuckle rose condition, Keracare humecto conditioner, Giovanni wieghtless direct leave.

  10. I'm five months post and what might be doing me in are my hair products. My conditioners and leave-ins. I just have so many products, the thought of adding more lol. Oh and the fact that I like to skip wash days. But great post!

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