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by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com as featured on CurlyNikki

One of the scariest things about having tight curly/coily hair is tangles, tangles, and more tangles. Most of us with natural hair always opt for the hairstyle that will keep our hair manageable when it comes to wash day.

Most of my journey I have experimented on and off with finger combing. It really takes time to understand the method and how it can work for you and not against you. It took some trial and error, but I've figured out how to incorporate it.

  • I use an affordable conditioner that has decent slip. I prefer Suave Naturals. It is usually no more than $1.50 at Walmart. I usually grab a few bottles at a time.
  • Section the hair to make it easier to feel around and find hidden knots and tangles. I don’t like to work with too many sections, so I usually just stick to two, one on each side of my head.
  • Make sure your hair is soaking wet.
  • Use a generous amount of conditioner to cover your entire head. This will make it easier to comb your fingers through your hair gently, starting from the bottom and going up. I literally imagine my fingers as a wide tooth comb. The conditioner will make the hair slippery, making it easier to comb through. I find that my tangles are worse at the roots, so I like to hang my head over and run my fingers through the root area. You really want to make sure you are not leaving that hair tangled, because tangles at the root get worse over time and quickly becomes matted and may have to be cut out.
  • I also like to hang my head directly under the shower head as the water runs down my strands. This helps stretch the curls out making it easier to comb out tangles with your fingers.
  • Don’t be afraid to go over sections more than once. I know a lot of naturals are becoming really afraid of combing, because of the fear that all of their hair will fall out, but it is very important for length retention and health. When you don’t detangle properly it just creates small sections of knots and tangles that eventually become big sections of knots and tangles. In the end you could end up with hair that cannot be saved, and you could find yourself starting all over again. Also, remember that when your hair is detangled properly, styling is so much easier!

Finger combing is just one option to detangle your hair. I prefer it, because I feel more in control. I like that my fingers can feel the knots and tangles. I can work them out with my fingers without having to pull my hair out with a comb. I definitely see less hair in the shower after a finger combing session. It is more time consuming, but it is definitely worth it.

I finger comb my hair 1-2 times during the week when I co wash. I do still use a wide tooth comb, but usually only once a month at the beginning of the month when I shampoo. I usually finger comb before going through with a comb. This just makes me feel comfortable that I am not missing any hidden spots during my finger combing throughout the month.

How do you finger comb?
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I have begun finger detangling my hair, and I use Aussie Moist conditioner or TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture or Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I use 4 sections and then I section each of my four sections into 3 sections, and I detangle one at a time. It takes anywhere between an hour and a half to 2 hours. I prefer finger detangling, because I want to be more gentle with my hair, keep my hair healthy, and continue to retain length.

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