How Can I Shorten My Detangling Time Significantly?

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  • 1 Post By Greatcurls
  • 1 Post By Sikora
  • 3 Post By empressri
  • 2 Post By KinkyChica

Hello everyone,

It takes me too long to detangle my hair (~2.5hr), and I haven't found a way to shorten it. In addition to that, I don't feel like my hair is even getting moderately detangled, which for me is detangled enough to style on without my hair needing excessive detangling again. The roots are always matted, it seems. Doing cornrows is impossible because making parts and picking up sections of hair for the braid is too difficult when my hair seems matted. I'm getting desperate!

I have been natural for three years, and I'm at armpit length. I will say that my hair is 4c/4b. Although I have never found a match in any hair typing chart, just confusion. Normal porosity, average density. It has a tendency to tangle, even after a section has just been detangled.

I usually keep my hair in braids or twists for four weeks. After I take them down, I lightly finger detangle. After that, I divide my hair into sections, smother conditioner into one section at a time and detangle with a wide tooth comb. Sometimes, I use my fingers then a wide tooth comb. I keep my detangled hair in large twists, and then I go on to wash and condition.

I don't know if this is something I just have to accept, or if there is something I could try. I tried a denman D41, but I had to use tiny sections or else my hair wouldn't even go through the brush, which took too long. I used to detangle with just oils and water, then I tried oil and conditioner, and then conditioner and a little water. Just conditioner is the fastest for me.

Sorry for the long post!
Do you have any advice?
How long does it take for you to detangle?
Hello everyone,

It takes me too long to detangle my hair (~2.5hr), and I haven't found a way to shorten it. In addition to that, I don't feel like my hair is even getting moderately detangled, which for me is detangled enough to style on without my hair needing excessive detangling again. The roots are always matted, it seems. Doing cornrows is impossible because making parts and picking up sections of hair for the braid is too difficult when my hair seems matted. I'm getting desperate!

I have been natural for three years, and I'm at armpit length. I will say that my hair is 4c/4b. Although I have never found a match in any hair typing chart, just confusion. Normal porosity, average density. It has a tendency to tangle, even after a section has just been detangled.

I usually keep my hair in braids or twists for four weeks. After I take them down, I lightly finger detangle. After that, I divide my hair into sections, smother conditioner into one section at a time and detangle with a wide tooth comb. Sometimes, I use my fingers then a wide tooth comb. I keep my detangled hair in large twists, and then I go on to wash and condition.

I don't know if this is something I just have to accept, or if there is something I could try. I tried a denman D41, but I had to use tiny sections or else my hair wouldn't even go through the brush, which took too long. I used to detangle with just oils and water, then I tried oil and conditioner, and then conditioner and a little water. Just conditioner is the fastest for me.

Sorry for the long post!
Do you have any advice?
How long does it take for you to detangle?
Originally Posted by KinkyChica

Does your hair ever mat or knot up in the braids or twists. If your hair is extremely knotted or tangled after you take them down, you may need to give your hair a break from those particular styles. Also, while in the braids, do you wash/cowash or moisturize your hair because the combination of products could lead to buildup and tangled hair as well. If none of these are the root, it could be that the conditioner you are using does not have enough slip to truly detangle your hair. I have found that oil rinsing my hair in the shower (especially with coconut oil) really decreases my detangling time.
Shampoo: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine
Cowash: Curls Unleashed No Restrictions Conditioner
Deep Conditioner: Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque
Leave-In: Curls Unleashed No Boundaries
Oils: olive, argan, and Jamaican Black castor oils

Last edited by SweetRellie; 06-22-2014 at 07:37 PM.


Does your hair ever mat or knot up in the braids or twists. If your hair is extremely knotted or tangled after you take them down, you may need to give your hair a break from those particular styles. Also, while in the braids, do you wash/cowash or moisturize your hair because the combination of products could lead to buildup and tangled hair as well. If none of these are the root, it could be that the conditioner you are using does not have enough slip to truly detangle your hair. I have found that oil rinsing my hair in the shower (especially with coconut oil) really decreases my detangling time.
Originally Posted by SweetRellie
Thank you for replying!

No, my hair doesn't usually get too matted from braids and twists. Granted, there is a lot of shed hair that needs to be removed, so I guess nothing more than what is expected. But after I take my braids/twists down, it doesn't seem bad enough to take so long.
I should add: I don't use any extensions, just my own hair. I don't know if that will make a difference.

I haven't been using any product to style my hair, lately. There is only some leave-in conditioner on there. I put a little olive or coconut oil on the ends when I am done. Sometimes I wash in between styles, sometimes I don't. It depends on my scalp. It hasn't made much of a difference for detangling, though.
I moisturise with water, and will seal with olive or coconut oil if my hair feels really dry. I have to admit that I am not very consistent with moisturising, though.

Right now I use Tresemme Moisture Rich or Flawless Curls conditioner. I have also used Herbal Essences Hello Hydration.
My hair tangles easily as well. Your process is similar to mine; just needs a bit of tweeking. The following has helped me to minimize the tangles:

While in twists or braids, continue to wet the hair three or four times a week. Moisturizers (and oil) can actually get "caked" up in the hair which can cause tangles. The water loosens up the product, and it gets distributed through the hair or excess can rinsed away.

The night or day before you take out your twists, saturate them with a conditioner that has good slip. Saturate them again before you take them down. Then take them down using your fingers as much as possible as you've been doing, placing conditioner on them as needed. Once detangled, saturate again with conditioner that has good slip. This will help keep them detangled when you cowash or shampoo.

Sounds like a lot, but it cuts my detangling process in half. BTW, before, it would take me 4 hours. Having a product that has slip is the key. Even the shed hair comes out with little or no difficulty. By the end of the process, I was able to finger comb my hair with no problems, and not as much shed hair as in the past. HTH.
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Mod CG-Naturally Highly Porous and Dry
SUMMER REGIMEN-This list is not exhaustive...
Pre-treat:Shima oil
Shampoo:
Schwarzkopf Gliss Kur Ultimate Oil Elixir
Cowash:HE The Sleeker The Butter
PT: Gold Medal's Herbal Tame
DT/LI/Detangler/
: various
Stylers: Lush Zeste Hair Gel

*experimenting and loving it!


You might consider retwisting and detangling more often. My hair tangles more if I leave in braids and twists. Also I recently tried using a paddle brush and I noticed I don't get as much retangling. Shampoo at least some of them can make my hair tangle prone. I recently started put my clarifying shampoo in an applicator bottle mixed with water. Then I pour it over my hair while still in twist. it helped a lot. I can still get into scalp and work it in. .
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Thanks Greatcurls and adthomas!

While in twists or braids, continue to wet the hair three or four times a week. Moisturizers (and oil) can actually get "caked" up in the hair which can cause tangles. The water loosens up the product, and it gets distributed through the hair or excess can rinsed away.
Originally Posted by Greatcurls
So just to clarify, you fully wet it in the shower, or do you spritz your hair with a spray bottle?

The night or day before you take out your twists, saturate them with a conditioner that has good slip. Saturate them again before you take them down.
Originally Posted by Greatcurls
Thanks, I will give this a try next time around! I have done that with oil before, but not conditioner.

You might consider retwisting and detangling more often. My hair tangles more if I leave in braids and twists. Also I recently tried using a paddle brush and I noticed I don't get as much retangling.
Originally Posted by adthomas
Yeah, this crossed my mind as well. Sometimes I plan to retwist and detangle more frequently, but when the day comes, something more interesting comes along. I will have to make the effort to try this, though.
I have never used a paddle brush in my life, and I am a little worried it may cause breakage. I am very curious, though, since I have read good things about it and since it is not an expensive buy... I almost picked one up last Saturday. I might go ahead and buy it this week.
I used to have the same problem with long detangling times 2-4 hours sometimes (frustrating!). I agree that it might be a matter of finding a deep conditioner that has slip and makes your hair sleek so that it is easy to detangle.

My hair personally loves protein so if I use I good quality protein deep conditioner (either on wet or dry hair) when I rinse it out and apply my leave in conditioner I am able to detangle my shoulder length 4a hair in 1 hour. My full hair routine - from dry to 2 strand twist wet set - now takes about 90 min and I am soooo grateful!
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I used to have the same problem with long detangling times 2-4 hours sometimes (frustrating!). I agree that it might be a matter of finding a deep conditioner that has slip and makes your hair sleek so that it is easy to detangle.

My hair personally loves protein so if I use I good quality protein deep conditioner (either on wet or dry hair) when I rinse it out and apply my leave in conditioner I am able to detangle my shoulder length 4a hair in 1 hour. My full hair routine - from dry to 2 strand twist wet set - now takes about 90 min and I am soooo grateful!
Originally Posted by amaralice
Thanks for your input! It does seem like conditioner type and technique are some of the names of the game.
Wow! If I can get my whole hair routine down to 90 minutes, I will be one happy camper.
While in twists or braids, continue to wet the hair three or four times a week. Moisturizers (and oil) can actually get "caked" up in the hair which can cause tangles. The water loosens up the product, and it gets distributed through the hair or excess can rinsed away.
Originally Posted by Greatcurls
So just to clarify, you fully wet it in the shower, or do you spritz your hair with a spray bottle?

You can use a "palm full" of water on your braids or twists, and that should be enough. Or you can spritz your hair. Either way, apply just enough water so that your hair only takes about 15 minutes or less to dry.
Mod CG-Naturally Highly Porous and Dry
SUMMER REGIMEN-This list is not exhaustive...
Pre-treat:Shima oil
Shampoo:
Schwarzkopf Gliss Kur Ultimate Oil Elixir
Cowash:HE The Sleeker The Butter
PT: Gold Medal's Herbal Tame
DT/LI/Detangler/
: various
Stylers: Lush Zeste Hair Gel

*experimenting and loving it!


Since adopting the detangling method from Green Beauty Channel (youtube), I've been really happy.

The method is as follows:
- Divide hair into 4 (or how many ever) sections
- Make a water, ACV spritz that has a ph of 4.0
- Spray small sections to dampen then rub coconut oil on the same section. Detangle with fingers, then use a denman brush to fully detangle.

After doing this, I barely lose any hair at the shampoo/ condition stage (less than 20 strands). I also do not need to detangle again after washing. My hair parts very, very easily.

I'm not into the hairtypjng thing, but my hair would be 4a/4b, normal porosity, medium strand size.


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pinkpostitheart likes this.
You're having that much trouble because a month's worth of shed hair is getting caught up in everything. I can't go longer than two weeks without detangling because then I'll go through hell.

Before even wetting your hair, would be it possible to do a heavy oil and then use a wide tooth comb to get out that shed hair?
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Since adopting the detangling method from Green Beauty Channel (youtube), I've been really happy.

The method is as follows:
- Divide hair into 4 (or how many ever) sections
- Make a water, ACV spritz that has a ph of 4.0
- Spray small sections to dampen then rub coconut oil on the same section. Detangle with fingers, then use a denman brush to fully detangle.

After doing this, I barely lose any hair at the shampoo/ condition stage (less than 20 strands). I also do not need to detangle again after washing. My hair parts very, very easily.

I'm not into the hairtypjng thing, but my hair would be 4a/4b, normal porosity, medium strand size.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk ☺😱💃
Originally Posted by Sikora
Thanks! I will keep this on the list of things to consider trying. I may check out that channel as well.

You're having that much trouble because a month's worth of shed hair is getting caught up in everything. I can't go longer than two weeks without detangling because then I'll go through hell.

Before even wetting your hair, would be it possible to do a heavy oil and then use a wide tooth comb to get out that shed hair?
Originally Posted by empressri
That is likely. I have to devote the time to consistently do my hair every two weeks to examine the results. That is the challenge, though.

Yes, I have done the oil and wide tooth comb. I usually don't even wet my hair before I detangle. It hasn't made a difference.

Thanks for your help.
I love my tangle teaser to help me detangle. It cuts my detangling session way down and it makes it easier to style my hair.
To me it sounds like it's not so much a property of your hair to constantly mat and tangle, but more an issue of how often your shed strands are being left in your hair and the technique you use to detangle. Personally, the traditional "shower" wide tooth combs do not work for me. There is too much space between the teeth for all the shed hair to get out so I just end up separating my curls so that the shed strands still left have an easier time getting tangled in the rest. I like to use "rake" style wide tooth combs, and paddle brushes or the tangle teaser on dripping wet, conditioner covered hair. Since hair is more malleable and has better elasticity when wet, this is the only way I comb my hair.

Paddle brushes tend to get a bad rep because some women report them getting caught in their curls. I can honestly say that paddle brush bristles have only been caught on my hair two times in the three years that I've been natural, and both times it was because I was attempting to either brush too much hair, or because I tried to pull the bristles through a section that was obviously too tangled, rather than starting from the bottom of the mat. And the tangle teaser is an absolutely phenomenal detangling tool. I just think the same rules for use apply to it as those that apply to using a paddle brush.

My hair routine, start to finish, is about 90 minutes as well. It used to be about double that. Diluting my shampoo and applying it with an applicator bottle, lathering only once, using VERY slippery conditioners, good tools, and a gentle technique really helped me cut down the time it took to do my hair. I hope this helps.




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Thanks QtBoutique! That was a helpful response. You might be right: maybe a wide-tooth comb doesn't cut it for me.
I am doing my hair tomorrow so I will get to try some of these tips out!
I love my tangle teaser to help me detangle. It cuts my detangling session way down and it makes it easier to style my hair.
Originally Posted by curlicious13
Haha, thanks! I will keep this in mind.
I should give an update to this thread.

The last time I detangled I tried two new things: marinating my hair in conditioner overnight and using a paddle brush to detangle.

I had a lot of hope in the paddle brush, especially since the bristles were much more flexible than those in the denman brush (which didn't work for me). It was great! For the first time in a long time, my hair was fully detangled once I was done. I was so excited; I felt like telling everyone about my new discovery! The paddle brush is seriously my hair's new best friend.

It shaved 30 minutes off of my detangling time. I could probably shave off more after getting used to this new technique and by detangling more frequently. I will still experiment with conditioners and oils used as well. I don't think I will condition overnight again, but I will see how much of a difference that will make in the future. Right now I am happy that the time I spent detangling was fruitful.

A little retangling still occurred, but it was much reduced. I think part of it is due to the way I wash (I wash after detangling). I will experiment with that as well.

Thank you for the tips, everyone!
adthomas and artemis513 like this.
i do a light detangle with my pre poo finger only, and i do most of my detangling in the shower with my conditioner in my hair with a comb i might add. Since i apply shampoo in my hair before i get in i jump right rinsing out the shampoo then go to the deep condition/ detangle process. seems like no time at all because the shower is relaxing and i dont have much hair( kind of touches my shoulders, but shrinks up).
Pre-Poo: Aleo/acv + oil
Shampoo: Shampoo bar
Conditiner: A Mix of things
Leave-in: shea mshea moisture/ butter
Refresh: giovanni/water/oil

Last edited by WonderWall; Yesterday at 01:40 PM. Reason: needed to add some more info
Lately my detangling time and shed has been minimum even though my hair gets longer.
Also if I wash hair sooner I get less tangling. I tested that on my vacation.
I was shedding maybe 3 hairs or 5 tops each day. But I must say my hair was lathered in conditioner and c.o most of the time in the beach. Avocado oil helps my detangling very much in a conditioner. It's like it loosens any knot.

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