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How to detangle curly hair

How to detangle curly hair

Anyone with curly hair knows it needs to be highly maintained. Detangling natural curly hair can be a demanding process if not done correctly, and the more tangled the hair is, the more time and effort it requires. Tangled hair can be painful and may also cause severe problems. If you detangle curls too quickly or carelessly comb through tight curls, you can rip through your hair, damage the outer cuticles, and pull severely at the scalp. Ouch! 

We can’t overstate the importance of detangle curls properly. That’s why we designed this guide to help you remove curly hair tangles without causing any pain. If you’re a curly girl with tangle-prone hair, read on.  

Why is my curly hair so tangled?

First things first. Why does curly hair get so tangled, anyway? You may have hair envy when you see fellow straight or wavy-haired girls with hair that doesn’t tangle so easily, and you may wish you could easily comb through your hair throughout the day. Well, the reason why curly hair gets so tangled is because it’s prone to dryness—which in turn leads to tangles. Remember, in previous articles we’ve talked about curly hair types and their unique zig zag, coils, and spiral shapes. Because of the hair strand’s shape, it’s more difficult for the scalp’s natural oils to travel down the hair shaft and moisturize the hair. This causes friction when hair strands run against each other, eventually causing knots and tangles. 

Is it better to detangle wet or dry hair?

Dry-detangling is a difficult process and usually ends up in broken hair and pulling at the scalp. We usually recommend that your hair at least be damp or wet when detangling, and to use the right hair products to assist with the detangling process. 

If your hair is tightly packed into zig zags or coils, we recommend to wet-detangle, along with a generous amount of conditioner to create “slip” between the hair strands for easier detangling. If your hair is in loose spirals, you can get away with lightly spritzing a hair oil like argan oil or jojoba oil to help with the process. After detangling, you should always apply a deep conditioner and comb through the hair to ensure all the hair strands have been sufficiently detangled.  

If your hair is severely tangled, you’ll need to bring in the big guns like coconut oil or shea butter and finger detangle first, before moving on to using a brush to get smaller knots out.

How to detangle curly hair 

Now that we know why curly hair tangles, here’s how to properly detangle it. Following these steps will ensure you easily detangle your curly hair without damaging the hair strands, without pulling, and without pain.

Step 1:Step into the shower and wet your hair 

Step 2: Add a generous amount of conditioner and coat all your hair strands

Step 3: Use a wide tooth comb, a detangling brush, or your fingers to gently work through knots from bottom to top

Step 4: Once done, apply a deep conditioner to all your hair and use a paddle brush to comb through and ensure that there are no tangles remaining

Pro tip: You can detangle yourcurly hair extensions using the same method above.   

How often should you detangle your hair?

You should give your hair a good detangling whenever you wash your hair, as part of your hair care routine. The reason for this is because you usually want wet hair during the detangling process to make it easier. Of course, there are also ways to detangle your hair in between hair washes, which we’ll talk about below. If you stick to a hair wash routine of once or twice a week, this would mean you’ll be detangling your hair 1-2 times per week. Your hair wash schedule will vary, however, according to the climate in which you live, your activity level, and more. 

How to detangle hair between washes

It’s unrealistic to assume that you can just go days without detangling your hair and doing so might make your life a lot more difficult on washing days. For days in between washes, lightly spritz argan or jojoba oil, or a detangling spray all over your hair, then use a wide tooth comb or your fingers to gently work through knots from bottom to top to keep your hair strands tangle-free

How do you untangle curly hair without brushing?

Hands down, the best way to detangle curly hair or other natural hair types is by using your fingers, because it allows you to be more gentle as you work through knots without tightening them further. When hair is wet, it’s in its most fragile state, so you need to be as gentle as possible!

Best tools for detangling curly hair

When choosing the right tools to detangle your hair, you’ll want to look at the brushes you’re using. For brushes, choose those with natural bristles or those with bristles that are soft and pliable to easily glide through knots. You can also choose to use a detangling brush like a Denman brush with vented bristles. Of course, the wider the brush’s teeth the better for detangling. Stay away from cheap nylon or plastic brushes, as these rip through the hair and cause damage. You may not think it in the moment, but they do! An investment in a proper detangling brush will go a long way for your hair’s health.

How to keep curls tangle-free

Now that you know how to detangle your curls, let’s make sure they remain tangle-free. Here are our top tips and tricks to prevent knots and tangles:

1. Make sure your hair is moisturized and conditioned. 

If your hair is naturally dry, consider regularly spritzing your hair with a coconut milk or rose water leave-in conditioner, or applying a moisturizing cream in the morning. This allows hair strands to remain hydrated and smooth so they don’t tangle as easily.

2. Consider co-washing

Co-washing (conditioner only washing) is a special technique that uses a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo to wash the hair. This means that your hair remains more moisturized as it isn’t being constantly stripped of its natural oils.

3. Don’t sleep with wet hair

This makes the hair much more prone to tangling as you toss and turn at night. Because hair strands are more malleable when wet, they’ll get tangled together and dry that way, making your life very difficult in the morning.

4. Get regular trims

One of the reasons why hair tangles is because of split ends. Get regular trims so you keep your ends nice and healthy, so they aren’t able to tangle as easily.

5. Use protective hairstyles at night

When it’s a braid, pineapple, or using a silk bonnet, putting your hair in a protective style at night will keep your hair out of the way and have less of a chance to get tangled as you sleep.

6. Use satin or silk pillowcases

Even if you don’t put your hair in a protective hairstyle, simply sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase will go a long way in reducing tangles at night due to the reduced friction of your hair against the softer material. 

And that’s it! Now that you know how to properly detangle your curls, be sure to protect them from knots once you’ve gone through the process. If you have any questions about how to detangle your curly hair, be sure to drop them in the comments below and we’ll be happy to help.