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Curly Nikki

Detangling Natural Hair: Best Practices

By January 27th, 202121 Comments

Detangling Natural Hair: Best Practices
Cassandra writes:

It sounds like such a basic task, but it’s something I struggle with just about every styling session. The comb and my hair just won’t play nice. No matter how many tips I attempt to integrate into my styling regimen I always seem to be losing an astonishing amount of hair—okay I may be exaggerating a teeny bit—but I average about a good sized palm full of hair PER session.

Just now I took out some kinky twists (only left them in for 10 days, I missed the ‘fro) and tried to comb my hair out for class tomorrow. I lost a lot of hair and I even used a creamy leave-in (Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine), water, coconut oil, and a super duper wide tooth comb. I still lost a lot of hair. I’m not shedding, but I’ll admit that I do tend to get frustrated towards the end when I find that my hair isn’t cooperating.

I really, really, really need help on this one. I don’t wanna lose all the length and health I try so hard to retain and maintain.

*** BTW my hair is 4a or I’m sister O (for the LOIS system).

So ladies, what’s the best way to detangle natural hair? How do you detangle?

CN Responds: For my detangling tips, click HERE!


  • T says:

    I really like this post! I have type 4b or 4c hair and I do not comb my hair at all. For my hair even the detangling comb is like using scissors. I use Aubrey Organics conditioner which is really heavy and I gently untangle medium sections with my fingers. Once I finish with each section, I twist or loosely braid the section and then rinse the conditioner with the sections still in. I keep it in those sections and let it air dry. Then once it dries, I take out one section at a time put the moisturizing product on and re-twist or braid it back. Once I take out the braided sections for the second time, it's like my hair has been combed. Also putting on a plastic cap ("Baggy method")for an hour to overnight really helps a lot. After taking off the plastic cap my hair is very easy to get my fingers through. To sum it up, utilizing "stretching" really helps if you don't want to use combs.

  • Delphi says:

    has anyone tried the "tangle teazzer" on the kinky-curly website? I have not seen many reviews or comments on this tool, but apparently the owner of kinky-curly likes it for detangling curly hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I detangle twice a week, in order to prevent it from being a huge ordeal. Usually I put my hair in four sections, add conditioner, finish my shower and then finger detangle while wetting my hands with water to add even more slip. Once in a while, I will use a wide tooth comb after finger detangling to get the remaining shed hair. I also twist my hair every night which I believe prevents my hair from tangling.

    By the way, my hair is MBL,thick, medium-coarse 4a/3c (think Chaka Khan huge), and once I start detangling, the process takes me 5-7 minutes. Also, putting my hair in huge twists at night takes maybe 10 minutes? (I'm either watching tv, or on skype so I don't know).

    I recently had protein overload, which caused crazy amounts of tangles. I did a DC for almost 6 hours, and then gently finger detangled. That time it took longer, but that was expected.

  • Sheena LaShay says:

    I part my hair in sections, put a little water on a section and apply a generous amount of a very THICK conditioner and comb it out pre wash. Section by section. Then I wash my hair in sections after that.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous October 9, 2010 4:16 PM: Congratulations!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I usually preepoo my hair in four sections with some sort or oil or my coconut milk-olive oil-honey mix. This dentangles the strands before i even step in the shower. By the time I rinse the stuff out, i have pratically no tangles. I have found that the washing process is much easier when I prepoo. Hope this helps.

    By the way I'm one year natural today people 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I use a cheap conditioner like suave coconut or tressame…I saturate my hair and place a plastic cap over it for at least 30 minutes…then I use a wide tooth comb and comb tangles out one small section at a time…I twist the sections lightly because I rinse the conditioner out with warm water…works for my 4B hair!…good luck!

  • LOVELYK says:

    I just put conditioner in my hair and use a metal pick to detangle. I lose very little hair this way.

  • Anonymous says:

    Do not forget to hold the hair somewhat taught when you detangle the roots(not too tight). Also, spraying water on the comb works wonders.

  • Jamila Reddy says:

    I used to have the same problems! Detangling can be such a hot mess.

    Check out this post on my Detangling 101:

  • Lynnieluve says:

    I detangling in the shower with my shower comb using Aussie Moist. I apply it and let is set for about 5 minutes then I detangle. I rinse with little to no manipulation of my hair. Then I get out of the shower and apply my deep conditioner (Shea Moisture Deep tx masque) and finish detangling and twist my hair into chunky twist. Next I sit under the dryer about 20 minutes. I rinse with the twist still in. The I style as usual.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Cassandra! The person who posted at 5:26 may be right – you just may shed a lot and are collecting extra hair between detangling sessions. It should be considered.

    I think also, in addition to the great styling tips that Nikki provided in the link, you might like Kimmay on Youtube ( There are a few of her videos on Youtube that will augment what the links provide. Particularly her "Structure of Hair" video series, her "Wash and Detangling Routine" and the now famous Kimmaytube leave in conditioner recipe. (My fav!!) She had a vid on shedding too.

    I don't like detangling my hair wet, but some do extremely well that way. I prefer my hair damp and in sections. I detangle with my hands 1st and use products with a lot of slip too before detangling with a wide tooth comb. Since I started using her leave in recipe, I hardly shed or lose hair from detangling at all. I expect to shed seasonally but don't lose massive amounts of hair anymore. Give it a shot. sw

  • Unknown says:

    @anon 5:26pm-That may be the case, however just in general I sometimes lose what I consider to be alot of hair.

    @anon 4:23pm- I do use Aussie Moist and it does really help with detangling. The condish I used before kinda left my hair feeling dry but wet at the same time and my ends would be horrible afterwards.

    I clicked on the link CN provided and I wish I had tried to look up detangling hair. I had no idea this topic had been discussed in so much detail. I feel like I wasted article space..

    But thanx to you all for answering the question for me. Next time I'll take you guys' and CN's advice and detangle in sections, under running water, after letting the condish marinate in my hair for a while.

    oh yea, This is Cassandra..

  • Anonymous says:

    I think so much of your hair came out because your hair sheds everyday and when it's in braids it does not get a chance to shed. So it's making up for lost times. Maybe?! Just an idea

  • Anonymous says:

    A very thick conditioner is key. I like Hello Hydration or Aussie Moist and I always detangle before I get in the shower to wash. Work in sections or it will become to overwhelming and comb from the ends to the root. When the comb gets stuck add more conditioner. If you have a knot, isolate it, add more conditioner to it and gently seperate the ends below the knot. Also, you have to have patience and work slowly until you perfect your detangling routine.

  • Anonymous says:

    I also very impatient. To prevent myself from pulling my hair out I usually deep condition my hair if it is very dry or unruly. I have even left conditioner on during the day and then detangled that night or sit under a dryer for 30mins before trying to detangle. Deep conditioning has definitely saved my hair.

  • curlya says:

    I watched Meechymonroe's detangle video yesterday and will be doing the same tonight.

  • Anonymous says:

    I use Teri's method. Work the knot down like a bead.

  • Anonymous says:

    Still experimenting with different techniques, but after shampooing I like to try to finger detangle under running water for a couple of minutes per section (4 sections). Then I get out of the shower and add conditioner (hopefully one with a lot of slip), and take on one section at a time with a wide-toothed comb. (I usually have to split each section into 3-4 sections, and I have fine hair). After each section is detangled, I rinse my hair while leaving in the twists, and then I'm ready to add leave in, seal, and style.

  • Laleepop14 says:

    That link has sooo much great info, Nikki!!! I have learned a great way that is working for me now. Before I get started in my process, I detangle and it makes the whole procss much easier. I use conditioner and a little bit of oil and apply to my hair dry and detangle with my fingers first, then a wide tooth combed and if necessary a denman paddle brush.I then braid up the sections…Then I go ahead with my process of washing, conditioning and all that good stuff. then after I deep condition and my hair is ready for my style or I apply leave in, some oil and just let the braids set and take them down for a braid out.. Once you have a routine down it will get much easier..

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    I like to dampen my hair with a mix of conditioner (5%) and water (95%). I then section in eight and work the mix in my hair with my fingers then detangle with a Denman. I do this before cleansing and conditioning/DCing.

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