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Curly Nikki

Itty Bitty Curlie Committee

By January 27th, 202121 Comments

Africa writes;

Question from a member of the Itty Bitty Curlie Committee:

I did my big chop a few months ago, and I have been trying to figure out how to keep my tiny coils from tangling. When I say tiny, I mean TINY…my coils have like 10-15 hairs per coil, shrink up to about 80% of its length, is about about 6-8 inches long, and is very dense. I braid my hair in sections to wash, air dry in braids, moisturize my ends, and generally try to keep my hair from shrinking all the way, but my ends seem to tangle no matter what I do! I really want to retain length, so I am wondering how other curlies are able to keep their hair from tangling? Help this newbie out please! Thanks in advance .


  • Anonymous says:

    Check out Naptural85 and Kimmaytube they both have good techniques for caring for your (well our) type of hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello boyfriend of a natural at 10:40 pm. "Our" natural hair, (as it grows out of our heads), ("Ours" also includes YOURS if you too are african american)is NOT a trend. It is simply the way our hair is. And finally many women are able to accept that it is fine this way and does not need to be altered, if that is what they choose to do. And what is wrong with that? Actually the "trend" has been to alter our natural texture with chemicals and such for decades to make it what it is not, sometimes to our detriment. It intrigues me that some african american men say they don't care for women wearing their hair in its natural state, as it grows out of their scalps and yet they wear theirs in its natural state!!?? I guess they don't care for their's either!!??

  • LBell says:

    Lots of really good information here. The most important thing to remember IMO is that unless you keep your hair short you can't get rid of every single tangle.

    In the past I've kept my hair in stretched styles but I learned the hard way that keeping it stretched (via nightly braiding/twisting) can be damaging as well.

    I'm definitely a member of the IBCC yet I've been wearing WNGs for the past year (since my latest BC). I've been following a variation of the methods used by YouTuber cynthiarf and to my shock it seems to be working for me…even though (on top) I'm past the length where traditionally WNGs haven't worked.

    The ONLY TIME I "deep-detangle" (to borrow the term used above) is every other week: I use the Tangle Teezer on hair that's been saturated with a mix of castor oil and water. The rest of the time it's fingers ONLY except when I lift my roots with a pick.

    I also co-sign silicone conditioners and leave-ins. They usually require a real shampoo, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Anonymous says:

    I understand ur delimna my hair is super coily as well, along with prone to dryness and breakage. What I do now is:
    1. NEVER ever do I let a comb touch my hair, instead I finger comb, smooth and put my hair in medium sized twist while in the shower using some kind of condish like giovanni but the shower pressure usually works best to detangle.

    2. Never do I manipulate hair that has not been thoroughly penetrated with water/liquid

    3. Rarely do I do wash and go's or styles that leave my hair in a shrunken state. For me that = knots and tangles.

    4. I use products that add weight (shea butter)and moisture to my hair (vegetable gycerin). The best styling product Ive found so far for my hair type is Shea moitures line in Target.

    5. Stretched long lastling hairstyle are the best since my hair does tend to break off easiy. Which is why I wear braids alot (currently on a One year in braids Ill probably experiment more with twists in the future but I dont look att too great with them and when I use them too set the styles dont last as long as I woud want them too and require too frequent manipulation.

    However, if u do wear twists try to make them last, if u can wash them hair while in twists then retwists, but dont let ur hair shrink back up unless its completely neccessary in order to avoid breakage.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do agree with the use of silicones…I stayed far, far away from them for a very long time because they build up, and itch, and blah, blah, blah. They saved me from the tangle jungle that is the back of my head! PERIOD. As always, just do what what works best for you. Try the Suave Coconut cond. and a small bottle of a good silicone conditioner. Get rid of which over one doesn't work. Simple. No reason to split hairs over it (hahahaha pun intended).

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi im the boyfriend of a natural woman and im trying to understand this whole natural journey thing, because she keeps getting frustrated with me when i call the hairstyle a trend so could some one anyone please explain it to me because i dont understand it all…

  • Co Co pelli says:

    I have the same problem. I have accepted that I can never keep my hair from tangling at all, but I can minimize it. I agree with many of the things that were previously mentioned, except for the use of a silicone conditioner. Be cautious about using them because silicone is an irritant to the scalp. I have had to stop using silicone containing conditioners completely because of scalp irritation.

    What I do to minimize tangling:
    1. Always manipulate my hair with some moisture such as water, water mixed with conditioner, water mixed with oils, coconut oil or a leave in conditioner. I do this when I detangling, styling and fluffing my hair to wear out in a small afro.

    2. I do a pre-poo treatment that consists of dampening my hair with a spritz and then coated it in coconut oil.

    3. I shampoo my hair once a week followed with a deep conditioning. I detangle using a wide tooth comb while rinsing the deep conditioner out under running water.

    4. I have started to do more protective styling. This includes braidouts or twistouts that are rolled, tucked and pinned up. I can't wear individual twists or braids because my hair is both fine and thin. If that is an option for you, then you might want to try wearing your hair in individual twists or braids.

    These are things that have helped me and I hope this is helpful to you as well.

  • Ose E says:

    Hey! For a while this was seriously bugging me, my hair sounds extremely similar to yours. What I found that helped me were a couple of things:

    1. using more acidic products to help seal the cuticles at the ends of my hair and keep them from being so rough. So i would mix Aloe vera Juice into my leave in's and hair sprays. Also once a month or so do an apple cider vingar rinse.
    2.Using heavier products on my ends like shea butter really helps, i'm not sure of the logic behind it but it helps! I use shea butter whipped with coconut and jojoba oil with some lemon greass essence for the smell.
    3.Keeping my ends stretched. After washing I braid hair into about 10-12 sections and use permrods (my 7 inch hair is to short to use flexi rods only on the ends, they fall off!)to secure my ends, this keeps then stretched and gives them a nice curl.
    4. lately i have been doing oil rinses as well. after shampooing your hair. apply your favorite oil and leave i for 5-10min then rinse out and condision as usual, leves your hair feeling great, and the extra moisture the oil leaves prvents tangles and single strand knots.

    Hopes this helps!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Do you leave conditioner in your hair? Either a regular conditioner or a leave-in? I think that helps immensely with tangles. The Tightly Curly method may be a good thing to research as I think the author struggled with damage from tangles for years. Although she may be mixed, she didn't always have long hair and I've read of others with tightly coiled hair who have benefited from her techniques.


  • Naijaprincess says:

    Hi Africa! I had a similar dilemma when my hair was that length. I have a head full of coils/curls, so coily that people assume i've styled it that way. A life saver for me has been shea butter! I swear by it to keep my hair moisturized. You can melt it down using the double boiler technique and saturate your strands with it or just apply a softened amount to your ends. My hair also loves water and that helps a lot. I also do everything in sections/twists: detangle, wash, condition and seal in moisture with shea butter.

  • bkKinksnCurls says:

    My tangle issues improved when I started using a satin scarf when I sleep and shower, using a Denman type brush to detangle, and washing more often…i.e instead of washing every 2 weeks, try washing once a week. That way you don't have 2 weeks of shed hairs to detangle. Good luck!

  • Lorian says:

    I had the same frustrating problem for a long time and nearly gave up. This is what I did and my hair has greatly improved.

    1.) I stopped running from silicones. They have their place and that place is for detangling.

    2) Don't be afraid to lose some hair. You need to get a shower comb or some sort of wide tooth comb, but not necessarily large tooth comb. For our curls we need a comb that can actually get out the tangles, but not a rattail or anything crazy. Don't rip through your hair! The shedding will lessen over time.

    3) Only deep detangle once a week to begin. Eventually, when your hair is more trained you can lessen it even more to twice or even once a month.

    4) I co-wash often with a silicony conditioner. I do use a sulfate shampoo once a month to prevent build up. Just deep condition or pre-poo the night before. I finger comb my hair almost daily with lots of conditioner after it has sat for most of my shower. I rinse each half of my head under running water. In the beginning stages, after rinsing out the cond. I would pull my hair back into a bun with the water running on it. Then tie a t-shirt on it when out of the shower to get the drippies.

    It sounds like a long process but it's not. Just co-wash with a silicone cond (herbal essences is my choice) and finger comb, deep detangle (with a wide tooth, small tooth comb) 1-3 times a month. I find that flat twists do more for keeping hair untangled than loose two strand twists. Flat twist and pop on a head band and you're good to go for days!

    I hope this helps, stick with it!

    P.S. If you wear your hair loose and want to put your flat twist back in…either co-wash and start all over, or spray down each parted piece, and a moisturizer and comb with your wide tooth comb! Consistency is key!

  • LMarie says:

    I have a head full of 17 textures it seems like and all the textures tangle around one another until I discovered dry twist outs. I know it might be a cardinal sin to some curlies out there, but I comb my hair through (in small sections at a time) and twist my hair dry while sealing the ends with some Shea moisture. I find it really helps with shrinkage and tangles. My hair remains soft poofy and much more manageable when I do this. So once a week when I wash I do a wet twist out and the rest of the week I dry twist and come through. I think since I've started this I have had much less tangles and less time in the shower trying to detangle a weeks worth of knots. Btw…I only do this maybe twice during the week so every other night or so after my wash night. Hope this helps.

  • CoilyRob says:

    @Smallfro. Your technique sounds great. I am definetly going to try it.

  • Smallfro says:

    Sorry forgot to mention, the elongated hair tangles a lot less. Try to only do my hair weekly.

  • Smallfro says:

    I twist my hair, then take a ton of bobby pins and stretch all of the twists while wet. I then tie my hair down with a scarf. Keeping the bobby pins in until the hair is dry helps a lot. My hair is also 6 inches. Before bobby pin method – my twist hung to 1-2 inches. With the pinning they hang to 3-4 inches.

  • mangomadness says:

    There is no way to keep your hair including the ends) 100% tangle-free–All you can do is minimize tangles. Your regimen sounds good and seems similar to mine. In general, I find that keeping my hair in chunky stretched styles and sealing my ends helps reduce tangles.

    Other things that help are smoothing ( before setting (braiding, twisting, etc) your hair and setting my ends on rollers w/ end papers ( after sealing them with a butter.

    I hope this helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    Have you tried henna? Maybe it may loosen your coils abit and that'll help with the tangles…

  • nigeria says:

    I would say use the Tangle Teezer, because it really did seem to keep tangles out of my hair and clump my 4b/c coils together.. but I reluctantly recommend it, since it does have potential to cause split ends.. (after I read curly nikki's article on the TT. I saw 2 or 3 split hairs myself.)

    But I find that a aloe vera/glycerin mix keeps my hair moisturized, thus helping the hair feel soft and smooth enough when dry to not tangle.

    Oddlly enough I also find that keeping my hands OUT of my hair after i've completed my hair style helps a LOT.

  • Dominique "Nikki" Smith says:

    I have a similar texture and what has helped me tremendously has been mini twists and braids. It keeps my hair from tangling & breaking and gives me more styling options. I keep them in for about a month and co wash them once a week and shampoo wash when needed. It also makes for the most adorable twist/braid outs when I take them down.

  • Bird says:

    Hmm interesting question. What helped me was to realize my hair (in the 4's) is extremely social. There is no way I can eliminate every single tangle. What helps is keeping my hair moisturized (without over-doing it) and when I wear out styles either mini-pineapple or twist/braid them back up in bigger parts before bed. Also take a look at your ends, dry and thirsty ends in need of a dusting won't help anything. Been there, chopped that. HTH!! 🙂

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