Hola Chicas,

After reading through the Best Practices- Detangling Dry or Wet comments, and reflecting on my own experiences and research around the web, there seems to be three common and effective detangling methods. Below, I’ll list them and provide tips on how to execute each effectively.

Sink/Mirror Detangling

  • Apply an oil (olive, coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, etc.) to soften the hair and add slip. Be liberal. Some like to dampen the hair with water first, some don’t. I don’t.
  • Separate the hair into 4-8 sections for easier handling
  • Choose a section and detangle gently with fingers, removing the larger knots
  • Comb through with a wide tooth or shower comb (some follow up with a paddle or denman brush to remove shed hairs)
  • Twist this section and move on to the next. Repeat until your entire head is lubed up, detangled, and twisted.
  • Once in the shower, you can (1) shampoo and condition in the twists/sections, (2) take them all down and be careful not to re-tangle with excessive handling during the wash and condition process, or (3) take down one section at time, shampoo, condition, re-twist. I personally take them all down and handle gently.

Shower Detangling

  • Thoroughly saturate hair with water in the shower, and divide into two (left and right)
  • Cleanse hair with shampoo– one side at a time
  • Apply slippery conditioner of the day to both sides in a smooshing motion
  • Pass head back under the shower stream for a moment, for better distribution and added slip
  • Clip the hair up and out of the way while you complete shower rituals
  • Take down the right side and finger detangle a bit — detangling the rest under the water stream with Ouidad Double Detangler (or a wide tooth comb) after the big knots are out. Follow up with the left side. If the conditioner is washed away and tangles are left, add more conditioner, and repeat. The power of the water stream and the slip of the conditioner should make detangling a breeze!


Damp Detangling

  • Spritz the hair with water and apply a conditioner or moisturizing butter to soften and add slip
  • Separate the hair into 4-8 sections for easier handling
  • Choose a section and detangle gently with fingers, removing the larger knots
  • Comb through with a wide tooth or shower comb (some use a paddle brush)
  • Twist this section and move on to the next
  • Once in the shower, you can (1) shampoo and condition in the twists/sections, (2) take them all down and be careful not to re-tangle with excessive handling during the wash and condition process, or (3) take down one section at time, shampoo, condition, re-twist. I take them all down and handle gently.

Healthy natural hair is a process, not a goal. Our hair needs change with the seasons, with age, and with life circumstances. I was already juggling hubby, the blog, my therapy clients, a (neglected) social life, and my resolution to cook more*. Enter G Money. I now have even less time to dedicate to pampering my tresses. My hair has sadly taken a back seat (gone are the days of 3x a week conditioning and styling, and bi-weekly hennas) to other responsibilities, but my limited time has helped me assess my past routines and cut the fat. Less is always more. I can’t stress that enough, and it’s high time I practice what I preach. Despite the massive post-partum shedding (which is overwhelming and quite depressing), my hair is thriving with my current low manipulation, and dry detangling routine:

I wash every 3 weeks:

  • Detangle dry (with oil, my fingers, and a wide tooth comb), wash, and condition.
  • Chunky twists on damp hair with a leave-in conditioner (10-12 total)
  • Remove the twists and rock messy (high and low) buns for a week or more, using a scarf to keep my edges smooth at night
  • Dry Twist-n-Curl- remove bun, detangle with a moisturizing curl cream, twist (10), set ends on rollers– for special occasions or when I grow bored of the bun. I pineapple at night to preserve the look.
  • Bun again (when the TnC gets old and frizzy)
  • Dry Twist-n-Curl again

In the 3 week time frame, I probably do a dry Twist-n-Curl three times… usually on weekends. I like this routine because my hair always looks good despite the fact that I’ve spent almost zero time on it. The dry set will last 4-5 days as long as I pineapple every night.

My advice? Try each detangling method (modify to your needs and schedule) and see which works best. How will you know which one is for you? Trust me, it’ll be obvious– excessive amounts of hair in the comb, hair blocking the shower drain, or tiny broken pieces on the sink, are all red flags. I quickly learned that I can’t damp detangle. My hair gets stiff, brittle, and tangles more. Others can’t shower detangle– they loose excessive amounts of hair due to matting and shedding. Still others can’t dry detangle due to breakage and impossible knotting. Some thrive on daily co-washing, others grow to waist length with once a month wash sessions. Natural hair care is trial and error. In the words of Wanda Sykes, ‘it can be a damn science lab’, and you won’t know what works until you experiment a bit. I usually try routines for a month, assess, and proceed from there. Hopefully the list above will give you a starting point for your detangling routine!

*P.S. How are you guys doing on your new year’s resolutions? Maybe mine should have been to work out less, be more impatient, and stress more. I’ve got those on lock.