When it comes to naturally curly or kinky hair, the part of the wash day process that’s dreaded the most is detangling. It can be especially unbearable for those who are considered “tender-headed,” meaning those for whom the pulling is painful and very uncomfortable. For many naturals, the detangling process can take anywhere from a breezy 15 minutes up to nearly an hour.
How can you lessen the time it takes to detangle your natural hair? We have five tips that you can incorporate into your routine to help you save time whether you’re detangling your own strands or those of a client.
1. Use a Cleanser and Conditioner with Plenty of Slip
The shower is where it all begins. Some cleansers and conditioners can be so drying that they can leave the hair completely matted and tangled by the end of your wash. That’s frustrating and counterproductive. Make things simpler for yourself with sulfate-free cleanser and conditioner that offer plenty of slip. Slip refers to the ease with which it glides through the hair. Seek formulas that include nourishing oils and butters such as almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, and more. The possibilities are endless, but reading ingredient labels is paramount.
Recommendation: Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse, $12; Aveda Cherry Almond Bark Conditioner, $17
2. Finger Detangle Wet Hair in the Shower
With more slip literally on your hands, start by detangling hair in the shower with your fingers. It’s all about preference, but many naturals prefer detangling in the shower with their fingers rather than using a brush. Of course, numerous brush options are more than capable of doing a great job, if that’s your preference. Wide-tooth combs are also perfectly fine to use. Detangling wet hair is often much easier than detangling dry hair, and this prepares your hair for easier, quicker styling later on in your routine.
Recommendation: Denman Be-Bop Massage Brush, $7.25
3. Part and Twist Hair in Sections
Once you’re ready to style, part your strands into medium sections, and then twist or braid the hair. This will typically result in approximately six to eight sections. This tip is extremely helpful for many techniques, from detangling to blow-outs. Not only does this make it super simple to tackle the tresses, but it also stretches the hair to reduce shrinkage while you’re working on each section.
4. Smooth Strands with Proper Tools
Many brushes and combs claim to be for detangling, but most aren’t friendly for curly, kinky, and coily hair. The last thing you want to experience while attempting to detangle your hair is a brush or comb that rips, snags, or tangles strands even further. Help distribute your leave-in conditioner of choice with a detangling brush. Remember to always start by detangling from the ends to root to ease tangles and knots.
Recommendation: Felicia Leatherwood Detangling Brush, $14
5. Ease Knots with a Detangling Leave-in
Much like your cleanser and conditioner of choice, find a good detangling leave-in conditioner with a lot of slip. Hair milk and gel cream are great product consistencies to keep an eye out for when selecting a formula. These help make post-shower detangling a breeze, and your brush will glide through your sections in no time.
Recommendation: Camille Rose Fresh Curl Revitalizing Hair Smoother, $14; The Mane Choice 4 Leaf Clover Leave-In Spray, $14
Each of these tips and techniques is simple to add to your process and will help you move on to styling much quicker, so you can flaunt smooth, defined texture for wash-and-go, twist-out, and rod sets. An important thing to keep in mind while detangling any hair type is to be patient. Never rip or pull strands apart that may be a little more stubborn. Practice patience and apply these tips for stress-free styling.
Now that you’ve learned how to successfully detangle naturally curly hair, visit the Ogle School blog for styling tips.