Detangling is arguably the least enjoyable parts of maintaining thick and curly hair.

Detangling curly hair

We all have those horrific memories from childhood of our mother trying to get all of the tangles out, ending in tears, a lot of shedding and a few whacks with the comb for moving your head. 

If detangling is still an issue for you I have some great tips that will transform your hair routine and make dealing with tangles so much easier. Ever since transitioning I have tried many different detangling techniques and now find detangling my hair a fast and easy process by using the sets below. 

  1. DO detangle wet

When your hair is wet it naturally becomes much softer, more elastic and has slip which is necessary for gliding through the knots. 

Personally I feel that detangling whilst my hair is wet is the only way to detangle! I usually wet my hair whilst in the shower, but other curlies achieve this with a spray bottle or at the sink. If you have a lot of tangles you may have to keep your hair under the water for a while to make sure every part of the hair is wet (I have had my hair so tangled that you can’t even reach the roots”>. Then apply a slippery conditioner liberally throughout the hair.

There are those who prefer to detangle dry, while the hair is stronger and less elastic. While this can work for minor knots and tangles, it is important to be extra gentle when detangling dry hair as the strands can snap and the cuticle can be damaged due to lack of flexibility. For a full list of pros and cons, read Should You Detangle Wet or Dry.

  1. DON’T detangle without slip

Once the hair is completely wet, you will need to apply a slippery, conditioning product. This is the key.

Before detangling, apply and leave on your deep conditioner for about thirty minutes, then detangle while using a rinse-out conditioner. Detangle your hair once more when styling hair as this ensures that your tangles are completely gone.

Are you in need of a good detangler? I recommend using one of the following products for your next session. They will restore the moisture in addition to getting the knots out.


  1. DO start the ends

I learned this tip from a hairdresser years ago–it literally changed my life and still stays with me to this day!

With curly, afro textured hair, you must brush and detangle from the ends of your hair upwards towards the roots. Never do it from the roots downwards–this causes major pain and damage. The best way to do this while avoiding pain is by gripping each section of hair with one hand just above the section. This prevents tension on the scalp, similar to when you get your eyebrows threaded and you are asked to hold the skin taut around the section.

Start from the ends and slowly begin working through the hair section by section, moving upwards. Only move to the next section once the current section is fully tangle free! Once you reach the top you should then be able to brush from root to tip smoothly without tension and breakage.

  1. DO use the right tools

Tools play a huge part in easier detangling.

Using tools with more space for your hair to be separated is going to prevent hair being pulled from the root. Also, never detangle with a rat tail comb; opt for a wide tooth comb or brush instead. Finger detangling is the best way to gauge how your hair is reacting whereas with a tool, you may not feel when/where your hair is snapping.

Is finger detangling not doing the trick? Here are a few tools I recommend in its place:

  1. DON’T rush

If you are in a rush you will end up missing strands and cause tension and unnecessary shedding. Take your time.

I like to detangle when deep conditioning my hair, then again when styling. I do this once a week on washday, I won’t have to detangle again for a week after wash day. Sometimes I like to detangle again during the week whilst co-washing in the shower, for example after wearing an updo. 

6. DON’T touch

Manipulation, touching and rubbing of the hair will lead to knots. 

You can stretch the time in between detangling sessions if you keep your hands out of your hair. Protect your curls at night by sleeping with a satin head scarf or on a satin pillowcase, this will cut down on friction through the night.


What have you found to make detangling easier for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Did you know this ingredient will make detangling painless?

Follow me on Instagram @UKCurlyGirl and NaturallyCurly for tips and inspiration @NaturallyCurly

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