Most curlies know what happens when you run a brush through curly hair - it isn't pretty. And that is why we feel inclined to avoid brushes at all costs. But there are right and wrong ways to use hair tools, so we are going to share our top tips for getting the knots out of your hair.

When should you detangle?

Detangling hair is a crucial step in any hair care regimen, and just as there are many types of curls and coils, there are just as many ways to detangle.

The frequency at which you should detangle your curls varies from texture to texture. Even within texture, it varies on your specific hair type. A good rule of thumb is to detangle your hair on wash days, whether that is once a week or every other day.

So when should you wash? This depends on many things, such as what sort of climate you live in, how active you are or how oily your scalp gets. In general, you should wash your hair at least once a week, you may find that you prefer to wash more or less but this is a good starting off point. That being said, you should also detangle your curls at least once a week.

Wet or dry hair

Again, your detangling method depends on your texture and hair type. According to natural hair stylist Janelle Sands, dry, coarse, or tightly curled and coiled hair "should use wet detangling only when laden with slippery conditioner. For severe tangling, finger detangle with coconut oil before wet detangling with conditioner." And looser curls, thick, and heavier density hair types can "lightly spritz with penetrating oil like argan before dry detangling with a paddle brush or Denman brush before and during a cleansing session. After a cleansing session, coat your strands with a smoothing conditioner before combing or brushing."

How to detangle

Some general tips when it comes to detangling:

  1. Detangle your hair when it’s wet or damp.
  2. Use a dollop of conditioner to aid with the detangling process.
  3. Use the pressure of the shower had to help push knots out and smooth out your curls.
  4. Use a wide tooth comb or your fingers to comb through knots.
  5. Begin combing at the bottom and work your way up.
  6. Detangle damp hair by spraying leave-in conditioner or detangling spray.
  7. If you decide to detangle dry hair, use oil to lubricate your curls and prevent breakage.

Detangling products and tools

Most curlies will agree that your fingers are the best tool you can use when detangling. Fingers, however, take patience and time if you have tighter coils or a lot of hair, so you may find that a wide tooth comb works better for you or a brush.

Most curlies will agree that your fingers are the best tool you can use when detangling.

Leave-in conditioners and cream based conditioners are your best friends when it comes to detangling. Detangling your hair without them can cause breakage and lead to damaged hair. Here are some of the best products and tools for detangling:

Kinky-Curly Knot Today

Type 3s will love this leave-in conditioner. Smooth it over your hair, comb out the knots and let your hair soak up the moisture.

Curly Hair Solutions Slip Detangler

This detangler is perfect for ladies who just colored their hair, but is great for your natural hair as well. It acts as both a leave-in conditioner and a detangler, so you don’t have to worry about rinsing out the conditioner once you’ve detangled.

Denman D3 Brush

This brush kills two birds with one stone. It acts as a great styling brush if you use a blow dryer or diffuser and it detangles curls too. Because the teeth are closer together than a wide tooth comb, be sure to use a generous amount of conditioner in order to lubricate your curls and prevent breakage.

Shower Comb

Convenient, affordable and perfect for curls. Hanging this comb on the shower head will remind you to detangle your curls on shower days.

This is just a small sampling of the tools and products that are available for curlies these days. For more product recommendations,

Remember, if detangling hurts you, it’s probably hurting your curls. Be gentle and your curls will thank you!

What tools or products do you use to detangle your curls?

This article was originally published in August 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

I have 3a/3b curls and I use the Organix Coconut Milk shampoo, conditioner, and serum. The shampoo is sulfate free and does a great job of detangling, but the conditioner feels like it's almost warming up in your hands the more you rub it into your hair. That stuff is AMAZING on detangling. I have a wide tooth comb in the shower and a wide brush, but I use neither now because of my great new conditioner. :) ♥
My wide tooth comb is definitely my best friend for detangling my curls. And if I use a sufficient amount of leave in, it makes the process so much easier!