I get a ton of questions about detangling transitioning and natural hair, so I thought I’d create this post to help out.
Fight Tangles Early
When you shampoo your hair, detangling starts before you even get into the water.
If you’ve been wearing your hair out in a rod set, twist out or some kind of textured style that is known to gradually tangle your hair over time, shampooing is only going to make the problem worse.
So the key is to start working through those tangles before you begin. Here’s what I do and recommend…
1. Separate your hair into at least 4 sections (6 or 8 if your hair is really thick and/or long).
2. Take a generous amount of a cheap moisturizing conditioner (VO5, Suave, Herbal Essence, etc.) and work it through each section. Make sure you coat your roots (where tangles are typically the worse). You can also spritz your hair with water to help the conditioner penetrate better.
I also like to add olive oil. Olive oil keeps your hair moisturized through the shampooing process and it also aids in removing shed hairs. If you haven’t combed through your hair in days, there will be shedding.
3. Put on a plastic cap and let the conditioner marinate in your hair for at least 30 minutes.
4. Optional: Take each section down (one at a time) and slowly work your fingers through it. The conditioner should have softened your tangles up a bit and allow you to work your fingers through it.
The reason this step is optional is because you are going to do this same thing after you shampoo your hair. However, I like to do this before I get in the shower too.
5. With your hair in sections, shampoo each section at a time. As you rinse the shampoo out of each section, gently run your fingers through the section in a downward motion. You should notice some of the tangles coming loose.
6. Condition your hair with a rinse out or leave-in and rinse out. When you rinse the conditioner, run your fingers through the section as you did with the shampoo. This will help you keep tangles to a minimum.
At this point, you may choose to run a shower comb through your hair to detangle completely.
7. If you didn’t completely detangle in the shower, add a generous amount of leave-in conditioner to your first section (preferably a detangling variety). Let it sit for a minute to allow it to work through those tangles.
Tip: Kinky Curly’s Knot Today is one of my favorite detangling conditioners.
8. Take your shower comb (a comb with large gaps between the teeth of the comb) and begin to detangle your first section. Hold the section firmly in your hand near the root and very gently begin to work the shower comb through your hair starting at the end and working your way up to the roots. Never, ever, ever start at the roots!
If your hair is thick, you may have to split each section into two halves. Remember to be gentle and try not to snag at your hair with the comb. With enough conditioner and small enough sections, you should be able to work through your tangles.
Detangling natural/transitioning hair takes time, but it’s definitely worth all the steps in the end. You’ll be rewarded with healthier looking hair that retains thickness and length.
My Wash Day Regimen
Please let me know how this works for you and feel free to add any more tips below!