Tosha writes:

I’m confused. I’ve read several places that our hair is at its weakest when wet and manipulation should be kept to a minimal. Many of these articles recommend I detangle my hair while dry. Other articles mention the fragile nature of hair and argue against dry detangling. These articles recommend I detangle my wet hair with lots of conditioner. I lose hair using both methods. Which is the right one? How are you ladies detangling your hair?

CN Says:

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s going to sound like a cop out (and a bit cliche), but ‘no two heads are alike’. I’ve had success with both methods. I wrote an article on this earlier this year. See below!

**********************************************

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 and lubricate 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, bottom up, removing knots, tangles and shed hairs
  • OPTIONAL- Comb through with a wide tooth comb or paddle brush to be sure all shed hairs have been removed
  • 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 (bottom up) — detangling the rest under the water stream with your fingers or a shower comb (or Ouidad Double Detangler). 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 dry 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, moving from ends to roots, removing the knots and tangles
  • OPTIONAL- 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.


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! No matter which you choose, remember to be gentle, dammit!

What’s your detangling routine? How’s it working for you?
Don’t forget to describe your hair (length and things of that nature)!