How to Finger Comb Coily Hair


by Mary Wolff

We all worry about breakage to our strands. With so much worry about tugging on strands leading to breakage, many naturalistas choose to finger comb their hair to avoid issues. If you have coily hair, you may be familiar with this method. If not, here are a few tips on how to finger comb coily hair the right way so you don’t end up with tangles, stress, and loss of strands.

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  • Wash your hair first. You should never try to finger comb dry hair. It should always be freshly washed or at the very least damp. If you do dry comb through strands, you need to be extra careful to avoid breakage. 
  • After washing your hair, use an in-shower conditioner to start the process of finger-combing hair. This will give you enough slip to allow for your fingers to more easily work through tangles. 
  • You can also choose to finger comb your coils without taking a shower by applying your favorite leave in conditioner.  Make sure you apply enough to saturate your strands so your fingers don’t get caught. 
  • Section hair before finger combing. This will help you to avoid getting tangled with other strands when dealing with a knot. 
  • You should also try to comb through your coils in front of a mirror. This will give you a better view of what you’re doing and where you may need to focus a little more. It is especially useful for when you’re trying to finger comb to pick out individual areas to build volume or create a certain style. 
  • Locate the knots before trying to finger comb them out. This allows you to work through them without tearing your hair. Once you find them, begin to loosen them up with your fingers, applying extra conditioner to them if needed. 
While the goal is to save your strands as much as possible over brushing, just know that you will lose a few strands, even with finger combing. It doesn’t mean you did a bad job. It might just be the state your hair was in and the extent of the tangle. If you are losing substantial strands every time you finger comb, then you might have an issue. Make sure you are using enough product, and that you’re being gentle. Try spreading your fingers wider apart and then gradually getting them closer together to work through tangles without tearing hair.

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