If length retention is one of your current hair goals, you know that means you’ve got to do all that you can in order to avoid hair breakage, right? And what’s the main things that causes it? Poor detangling habits. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the detangling process, I think my main issue has been thinking that, so long as my wide-tooth comb can get through my hair from roots to ends, that it’s all good. But that’s not entirely true. Even if it doesn’t hurt to detangle your hair or you don’t experience a ton of tangles, you can still be breaking your hair off, simply because you are being too rough. That’s why you might notice that some parts of your head has thinner hair than others (trust me, I’ve been there). It very well could be due to breakage; breakage that came from poor detangling methods.
You know what they say—when you know better, you do better. Well, if you know that you could stand to put some when it comes to your own detangling practices, here are some tips that can help you to hold on to your tresses—every little piece of them.
Wash and detangle in sections.
When your hair is on the shorter side, this tip isn’t really all that necessary. But as you start to get some real inches, sectioning off is imperative; especially when it comes to us curly hair girls. Putting your hair in sections on wash day will help to keep your locks from getting all tangled up while detangling it in sections is what will help you to handle your hair with care (especially since it tends to be quite fragile while it is wet). If you’re like me, and you tend to be more of a visual learner, you can watch this video to get an idea of how to wash your hair in sections and this video for tips on how to detangle your hair in sections.
Use oil while finger detangling.
I’ll be honest, finger detangling is not something that I have a ton of patience for. Whenever I sigh and then commit to doing it, I usually need to watch a television show or movie to distract me. But the reason why I think that it is a good thing to consider is because it’s like a master class in patience and how to gently handle your tresses. Although, in some ways, hair is extremely strong (well, it is when its healthy), it can also be quite fragile too. That’s why, when we’re combing through it, the yanking can result in tearing which ultimately causes breakage. But when we use our fingers, we can feel where the tangles or knots are and apply less pressure to get them out. Something that makes finger detangling even easier is to 1) put a leave-in conditioner in your hair and 2) apply a little avocado, grapeseed or jojoba oil to your fingers before your start the detangling process. What this will do is give your hair a “slip” that will make getting the tangles out, pretty much a breeze.
“Dust” off your fairy knots.
While I’m not the person who thinks that everyone should automatically trim their hair every 4-6 weeks (if you take good care of your hair, you can get away with going much longer than that), what I will say is a sign that you could use, at least a little dusting, is if you’ve got a ton of fairy knots. Although knots are normally for curly hair—and some of us can tolerate them more than others—too many can also create a tangled up mess (especially if your hair is longer and you don’t braid it up at night). So, if while you’re detangling, you feel quite a few knots in your hair, it only takes a sec to cut them (don’t yank them; that can lead to split ends). Just make sure you use a sharp pair of shears (dull ones can also tear your hair shaft) and pay attention to what you’re doing. If you dust your knots properly (which means you are giving them a “cut” that is less than a trim), you should barely notice that you did anything at all.
Invest in a great detangling tool.
When it comes to successfully detangling your hair, it’s not just how you do it but what you do it with. Some people love using a Denman brush. Others are fine going with nothing more than a wide-tooth comb. Something that’s been getting a lot of praise lately is the EZ Detangler. So has the Michel Mercier Detangling Brush. Whatever you decide to go with, just be sure to keep in mind that your hair is not supposed to “catch” on your detangling tool. It’s also not supposed to make you apply a lot of pressure. A good detangling tool will slide pretty easily through your hair; especially if you detangle it when it’s wet/damp (which is what you should be doing anyway).
DIY a hair butter.
Something that has brought my hair, so much joy, is hair butter. What I really like about hair butter’s texture is, it’s a wonderful way to keep my hair moisturized, both when it’s damp and when its dry. Another cool thing about it is it’s ideal for detangling my tresses because it’s another item that can give my hair some extra slip. As a bonus, I don’t have to spend a mint on commercial brands; I can make my own. If you’ve never made your own hair butter before, a simple ingredient consists of ½ of shea butter, ¼ cup of pure Aloe Vera gel, two teaspoons of sweet almond oil and a half teaspoon of honey. Mix everything together and apply. If you want to venture out and get more sophisticated with your butter blends, you can find some other great hair butter recipes here, here, here, here and here.
Clean your detangling tool after every use.
Sometimes, it’s the most obvious things that need to be mentioned because they are so often ignored. Cleaning your detangling tool after every use is not only hygienic, it’s another way to keep the tangles down. I’m not just talking about removing the hair that might be in your tool; I mean you should actually wash the tool in order to get the grime and residue that might be left from the dirt that was in your hair or the hair product that might be on it. In order for a detangling tool to work effectively, it needs to be as clean as possible, so set aside an extra five minutes to use a gentle shampoo and old toothbrush to cleanse your tool. It’s a simple step that can make a really big difference in making sure your detangling process is as easy, painless and “hair protective” as possible.