Detangling is a major component of coily, curly, and wavy hair. Detangling may be a necessary evil, but it does not have to be a daylong process if you plan accordingly. While our own hair dictates how and when we need to detangle, some tips truly help in most cases. One would be detangling prior to shampooing.
We recently polled our community to find out when they detangle, and 31% said they do it after deep conditioning, while 26% said they detangle during their shower and 14% said they detangle before and after. As with all curl care, it really is about finding what works best for your year, but if tangles or matting are still an issue for you then there are several reasons to try detangling before shampooing. It allows for a short wash day or wash session. Hair is strongest when not wet, so detangling on dry or damp hair makes sense. Here are the reasons detangling prior to shampooing is an asset.
1. Shampoo can create tangles
We need to cleanse our hair and scalp. When using shampoo it often generates tangles because it lifts the cuticle, creating more friction between each strand. If you already have tangles and add shampoo you are only worsening them; this may be the reason your wash day is so long.
2. Tangled, matted hair gets worse when wet from water or shampoo
Severely tangled or matted hair needs to be worked on prior to adding water and shampoo. Oils, detanglers, and daily conditioners are best for hair in this state. Working through it while dry is going to leave you with more hairs on your head than when wet. The more tangles your create, the more you increase the likelihood for breakage.
3. Hair is most fragile when wet
Many curly girls are not fans of dry detangling as the thought of fighting through dry tangles sounds horrible. The problem is “dry detangling” sounds worse than it actually is. Use natural oils (many opt for coconut oil”> for more slip to lessen breakage on dry hair. Wide tooth combs or even a Denman brush is often used during dry detangling but most who do it prefer fingerdetangling.
4. Sectioned detangled hair means less time during wash
Unless you are rocking a TWA or a pixie cut, sectioning your hair before washing it will lessen the work during the process. That goes for detangled hair too. You know what I mean if you are in the shower long enough for your arms to hurt as you struggle with shampoo while you section and detangle. Already sectioned hair is easier to work the shampoo into and greatly reduces he potential for breakage.
What’s the best way?
For your best possible outcome, the best way to detangle is before and after you shampoo. That way you get it coming and going and are removing all the shed hair along with tangles and knots. Pre-poos are successful because they prime the hair for shampooing by coating, softening, and detangling the hair before cleansing. I always got tangles after shampooing until I started incorporating pre-poos. Right now I’m using fractionated coconut oil as a pre-poo and loving how it combats the necessary yet rough effects of my shampoo.
I usually remove most of the tangles when rinsing with shampoo, but I always find some still lingering around when I deep condition. Now, the shampoo may have created some but because I took care of most of them prior to shampooing, the detangling is always minor afterwards.
Whether you dry or wet detangle, use patience and the many tools that will allow for a more productive detangling session.