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

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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