Whether you are detangling matted hair after taking out your braids or other protective styles, or prepping your Afro for that much needed shampoo, we all share a common goal; to detangle doing as little damage to our precious crowns as possible! Ok, I admit this is not always achievable but as someone with tight curls and hair prone to dryness and breakage, zero damage is something I keep striving for. I have experimented a lot and am still constantly learning and tweaking my technique, but unfortunately we all have to go through this process of personal discovery. I should point out there is no right or wrong way to detangle your hair. All of our Afros are different with varying degrees of kinks and curls, so there isn’t one special method that works for everyone in all situations, but we all need patience and arm strength.
Wet and Condition Hair
Detangling dry hair isn’t really an option for me. If I were to try, at the end of the ordeal all I’d be left holding would be a lot of my still-tangled hair that had broken off in clumps. I have to wet my hair thoroughly, therefore, my best detangling always happens in the shower on washday with my hair saturated with conditioner. This provides lubrication and slip to my hair. However, wet hair can break easily so just be sure to be very gentle.
Divide and Conquer
I split my scalp into four sections and tackle each area of hair separately. This makes the whole process a lot more manageable and ensures I don’t feel overwhelmed! When wetting I gently work my fingers through my hair and when I come across knots I work them out in stages starting from the tips working towards the root. I gently and slowly detangle as much as possible and if I am particularly matted I sometimes use hair oil prior to shampooing that adds a bit more strength and slip to my strands.
It’s important to detangle again after shampooing. I apply my homemade oil treatment which means my afro is now lubricated enough to be carefully combed with a wide tooth comb. Any big tangles are worked through again with fingers, but then I switch back to the comb which also helps all my strands get a good covering of product. I love using my Tangle Teezer to pick up the tiny knots and any shed hairs. Be sure to properly clean any combs and brushes you use as this will help you detangle effectively next time.
Keeping Regular is Key
Don’t neglect a regular, proper detangle as knots can build up super quickly. If we didn't detangle and could graph the amount of hair knot creation in an average afro, I bet the amount of knots would increase exponentially over time; I swear knots breed and make knot babies!
Make sure that you are always gentle when detangling your hair. Don't rush the process, as that can cause you to be too rough which in turn will cause breakage and damage. And be extra careful with your ends as they are the most fragile. Treat your crown with the respect it deserves.
As always, fro stay strong.x