By Jc of The Natural Haven
Getting rid of shed hair, knots and tangles is the main purpose of detangling. For natural hair, the detangling process can be difficult depending on the length of your hair, how dry it is and how it shrinks when wet. It is however possible to detangle hair wet or dry and for many, the detangling process that you use evolves with time and greater understanding of your hair’s behaviour.
Here is a guide on whether to choose wet or dry detangling
1. The Case for Wet Detangling
What it is: Hair is coated in conditioner and then combed (finger, comb and/or brush) or hair is soaking wet in the shower and combed while conditioner is being rinsed out
Advantages: The main reason why people choose wet detangling is because it is easier and hair does not tend to break when the comb is repeatedly run through it. Hair conditioner is known to reduce damage to hair during the combing process. This is thought to happen because conditioner softens hair, corrects the charge from shampoo /aligns the cuticle correctly and reduces friction between the hair and combing tool.
Disadvantages: Water uptake does swell the hair fibre and as a result combing can lead to minor chipping of the cuticle. The uptake of water in natural hair will lead to shrinking which will require control. Hair is also slightly weaker when wet and therefore will break at a lower force.
How to balance out the disadvantages: Although raking a comb through hair soaked in conditioner can be relatively easy, avoid using too much force to counter for the reduced strength of the hair fibre. With wet combing hair tends to break closer to the root leading to long segment breaks. Therefore, check the hair that comes out during the detangling process and see if it really is mostly shed hair (i.e with a bulb) and not broken hair. For those with longer hair, sectioning hair into 8 or more twists/braids will help control the volume of hair and help reduce shrinkage.
Who should consider this method: New naturals, naturals with short hair, anyone who would like to reduce detangling time (busy schedule or not particularly patient)