Detangling long wavy and curly hair may take extra time and effort, but it’s totally worth it.

woman with long naturally wavy hair MoMo Productions | Getty Images

Besides dryness, one of the biggest challenges for long wavy-curly curls are managing knots. The longer your hair gets, the more difficult it becomes to detangle. Tangled hair often leads to breakage, split ends and frizz. Here’s how to prevent massive tangles from happening.

How to prevent tangles in naturally wavy hair

1. First, make sure your hair is wet and has been deep conditioned.

Detangling long hair while it is can lead to excessive breakage. Wet hair strands are weaker and, if manipulated improperly, can run the risk of more damage. Deep conditioning is an important first step to protecting your hair health while detangling. Since long hair is also much older hair, the ends can be extremely fragile.

2. Next, coat each section of hair with a daily conditioner, not a leave-in.

Coat your waves and curls with a daily conditioner instead of a leave-in for added moisture and slip. Then, divide your hair into sections and focus on detangling each at a time. Turn off the shower head to conserve water, as this may take some time to complete.

3. Then, start detangling from the bottom, up.

Start at the bottom of your long hair, holding onto about an inch or so. Gently rake through until the whole section is properly detangled and then move on to the next section. It doesn’t hurt to detangle during the pre-poo stage but for more detailed detangling it might be easier to wait till you have reached the deep conditioning stage.

What should you use to detangle wavy hair?

Choosing what you detangle your hair with is almost as important as how to detangle.

The Tangle Teezer

This is a brush so unique, it actually holds 29 patents! While there are a lot of knockoffs out there, there is none like the original. It helps detangle long wavy and curly hair with no pulling, yanking or tugging and reduces precious minutes off detangling time.

A wide-tooth comb (with no ridges)

Some wide-tooth combs are a bit more money but pay for the quality. For long waves and curls, find one that contains no plastic pieces or unnecessary ridges which your hair can get caught or stuck on.

Your fingers

Good news–this tool is free. You can feel every knot and tangle with your own fingers so you can undo them gently. Make sure your nails are filed because you don’t want hair strands snagging on one then ripping.

Check out: 4 Steps to Finger Detangle Faster

What if you’re losing a lot of hair while detangling?

If you are a long-haired curly-wavy girl, you probably don’t wash your hair every single day. Remember this when it seems like you are losing a crazy amount of hair each time but here is the thing. The average person naturally sheds about 100 hairs a day and that is normal. Because you don’t comb or brush your hair when it is dry, detangling releases days worth of shed hair. Combine that with the fact that since your hair is long, it may appear as if you are losing more hair than you really are. 

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