It’s rare that any natural can comb through their curls comfortably without a product to keep things (knots, breakage, rage) in check--this is doubly true for those who don the wondrous crown of beauty known as Type 4 hair. As one of the most fragile hair types, these super tight curls are usually vulnerable to damage without the right combo of water, oils, and butters to allow the hair strands to glide past one another, instead of snagging and tearing. And while the natural hair care market is saturated with products that profess to keep detangling drama-free, not all of those products work well with kinky curls and coils.
Your hair may laugh in the face of most detangling sprays. Chances are, it requires a creamy product with a decent amount of slip in order to really relax those tangles. And because we know that the world of textured hair is diverse with distinct needs for each individual head of curls, we’ve assembled a list of all-star detanglers along with tips on the best ways to use these formulas to address your specific hair concerns and eliminate the guesswork.
From leave-ins to co-washes, scroll on for 10 highly-rated, Type 4-friendly detanglers to revamp your current product lineup.
Best Multi-Tasking Detangler
Sometimes, you need your products to do more than one thing. Wash day is enough work as it is without applying one million different creams and oils. Luckily for all of us, Melanin Haircare has created the perfect product that has not one or two—but seven. different. uses. Use this leave-in as a pre-poo, a conditioner, a deep conditioner, a styling cream, a rehydration product throughout the week, and a detangler. The formula is jam-packed with ingredients like baobab seed oil and jojoba oil which work together to promote flexibility, and soften the hair.
Best for Dry or Damaged Hair:
In addition to providing the appropriate slip to release knots (thanks, slippery elm bark), this detangler can be used to strengthen hair that’s been damaged by dyes, perms, and heat styling. And, if your hair is just extremely dry or in the process of transitioning, this raw shea butter product will condition and renew your thirsty curls.
Best Detangling Co-Wash:
For anyone who always extends the period between shampoos for just a little longer, you may want to pick up this leave-in and co-wash. This detangler works to melt knots on contact and define your curls, as well as leave your scalp with a fresh, tingly feeling when you’re done.
Best Detangling Heat Protectant:
As you may have guessed by the name—this 4C-centric line is here for the kinks and tight curls, and the kinks and tight curls only (according to the reviews, 4A and 4B naturals can benefit from this line too!). After you’ve washed and conditioned, apply this silky cream from ends to roots and enjoy the softness while styling. Do yourself a favor and apply this before your next blow out, too—it’ll work as a heat protectant.
Best for High Porosity Hair:
This hydrating, vegan, cream-based formula will help to detangle, reduce fly-always and frizz, and flatten the cuticles of high porosity hair (sometimes they insist on lifting). It’ll also speed up the time it takes to dry, which is a huge plus when you’re running on a schedule.
Best for Low Porosity Hair:
If your hair’s cuticles refuse to let most moisture in, you need a deep-penetrating conditioner like this one. Using the moisturizing powers of almond, avocado, and shea butter, this detangler softens your hair to maximize manageability, while still managing to be lightweight.
Best for Low Density Hair:
We love the look of juicy and defined curls, but no one wants to look “weighed-down.” This detangler gives you the best of both worlds by adding a “layer” of moisture between your hair and the styler with no build up. Apply it to moisturize and prep your hair for your styling products.
Best for Matted Hair/Best Value on a Budget:
A gem among gems, Aussie Moist products are undefeated when it comes to detangling. Naturals with kinky curls (myself included) have been raving about this low-cost conditioner for years. Star ingredients avocado and Australian jojoba oil make detangling-induced stress a thing of the past, especially if you’re trying to reverse some particularly tough knots. And all for the price of a small seasonal tea at Starbucks.
Best for Dyed Hair:
Not only can this co-wash detangle, nourish, and cleanse your hair between washes, but your recent dye-job will be completely safe. Apply this and comb through your hair from ends to roots, then hop in the shower to rinse it all out. Because it’s made for everyday use, you can use this in your routine as many times as you see fit.
A crowd favorite among naturals, most reviews are on one accord with this product—it smells amazing. Treat your curls to some instant detangling action thanks to honey (a natural moisturizing and softening agent), coconut, and shea butter ingredients, and enjoy the sweet after-scent.
These products will ensure you spend less time struggling with tangles, and more time enjoying healthy, beautiful hair. What are your must-have products for successful detangling? Have you used any products that we’ve mentioned? Share your experience below.
This article has been updated to incorporate community feedback.