Detangling is the most daunting task for those with curly and coily hair. It requires separating clusters and strands of hair for the purpose of removing shed hair, preventing matting, and styling. Unless you have locs, everyone removes tangles from their hair. If you are used to wearing straight hair, then combing textured hair can seem overwhelming, especially depending on your length, density, and curl pattern. The denser your hair the smaller the sections, the finer your hair the gentler you comb, and the more length you retain requires more time to comb.   

The only consistent characteristic I’ve seen in all detangling processes is starting from the ends and working your way up to your roots. It is helpful to use sectioning clips like Croc Clips to securely separate your hair. Always hold the ends taut to prevent breakage as you comb your hair. When you search detangling natural hair in YouTube, most women will detangle their hair in the shower because it’s hassle-free, but that may not be the best approach.

Wet, damp, or dry?

Curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair, making it more prone to breakage, so it is important the hair is lubricated before handling. You could dry detangle with an oil, but that may take hours to complete. Try dampening your curls with water and a detangler, conditioner, or oil but do not oversaturate your hair. This will help decrease friction while combing and make your hair more pliable. Fully saturating your curls with water will cause the cuticle to swell, make your hair too elastic, and more susceptible to breakage. The hair shaft is at its weakest when wet, so if you opt to wet detangle proceed with gentleness.

Read more: Should You Detangle Wet or Dry? It Depends...

Fingers, comb, or brush?

One tool is not more advantageous or detrimental than the other. A wide tooth comb has been a favorite by many for years. For the best results, look for a seamless comb. Using your fingers, feel for seams between each individual tooth of the comb. Sometimes those seams are too sharp and jagged for our curls, causing them to shred our cuticle layer without us even noticing.

The Denman brush and Wet brush are beloved by the looser curl community. They provide great curl clumpage, which is great for those who prefer wearing wash and go’s. Avoid using a boar bristle brush on wet hair since your strands are too weak to withstand its coarse bristles.

If you are looking for the gentlest approach and more definition, then finger detangling may be your best option. Many attest to enhanced curl definition with consistent finger detangling over time. Also, if you have finer strands, then finger detangling may be the best technique for reduced breakage and length retention.

Read more: The ABC's of Detangling Knots

How do you detangle your hair?