The two things that makes caring for curly hair so different is that curly hair is naturally dry because the scalp’s natural oils do not move down the strands easily, and detangling improperly risks excessive breakage. Over the past four years I have tried many different ways of detangling with many different tools and products. I remember when I first started growing my hair out, I realized that if I could only find the best way to detangle my hair it would thrive.
I had no idea then that it would take me a lot of time as well as trial and error to figure out what worked best for my hair. I also had no idea that my detangling method would change over time as my hair gained more length. In search for the best method, I of course followed what I saw others do because it seemed to work so well for them. I was hoping that it would also work for me. In truth I still had to find my own way. I feel that now I have finally found a method I like that works for me with consistent results.
The benefits of finger detangling is that you do not disturb your natural curl pattern and that you can feel any knots in your hair while gently removing them. I’ve found that it is best to finger detangle your hair with a product or ingredient that reduces the amount of friction with your hair strands. For some that may be finger detangling their hair dry with an oil, and for others detangling their hair wet with a conditioner.
One major drawback for finger detangling is that it is very time consuming. One of my observations was that solely finger detangling created more single strand knots on the ends of my hair because my hair was never completely smoothed out. Although finger detangling is the gentlest method for removing knots and tangles from hair, it is still important to be very gentle because you can still snap strands of hair if you rush.
Wide Tooth Seamless Comb
Using a wide tooth seamless comb is probably one of the best tools to use when detangling curly hair. It is important to find a comb that does not have a seam that runs along the middle of each prong so that your hair can be combed without it snagging on anything. Combing curly hair also elongates that hair more than detangling with a brush which creates more curl definition. Detangling hair with a wide tooth seamless comb is one of the most beneficial detangling tools for all hair types.
One of the biggest benefits of using a brush for curly hair is that the prongs have flexibility and move as your hair glides through them. This is very unlike using a seamless comb with inflexible teeth. If you choose to use a brush it is best to seek out ones with widely set teeth and without ball tips. I’ve tried different types of brushes over the years, and have found one that I really love… a 100% bamboo brush.
This eco-friendly bamboo brush is similar in structure to the popular Denman brush, yet has a better ability distributing oils throughout the hair because of its natural bamboo wood prongs. This type of brush also has long bristles which massage and stimulate the scalp with a soft base which gives these same wooden bristles even more flexibility in movement as you brush your hair. What I’ve found with using a wooden brush for curly hair is that it does not disturb your natural curl patten when used on wet hair. It actually smooths and defines the curls even more. I found my bamboo brush by Bass discounted at Marshalls, yet I have also seen these brushes at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.
Finding The Best Detangling Method & Detangling Tips
I recently started deep conditioning my hair every week. If you are interested in 100% natural deep conditioning options then read this article. I’ve noticed that since deep conditioning my hair weekly, it has been so much easier to detangle my curls because my hair is fully hydrated and moisturized therefore having more elasticity. Also when using any type of detangling tool it is important to only detangle curly hair damp or wet in sections. Finger detangling hair seems to be the only method that can be safely used on dry hair. Moisturized and freshly trimmed hair is always easier to detangle.
To find the best detangling method for your curls, try different detangling tools and methods to test and observe. Over time I tried different hair methods and tools while detangling my curls standing in front of the bathroom sink to notice if any tiny hairs broke off in the sink, as well as under running water in the shower to see if the water stream helped effectively. Based on my observed results over time I had a much better idea what was working and what was not.
I’ve also noticed that when I set my curls in twists or braids the detangling process is much easier on wash day because of the organized setting method versus simply letting my hair dry freely and wearing it that way. I still believe that a gentle and effective detangling process is crucial for the health and overall appearance of curly hair. It just takes some trial and error to figure out exactly what works for you.
You can see my latest hair care products here. What is your favorite method of detangling your hair?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)