*This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished on Sep­tem­ber 5, 2011. It was re-post­ed as part of our ‘Best of 2011’ Series

Break­age and splits are a par­tic­u­lar­ly sore point for nat­u­rals because they steal hard-earned length. The lit­tle ‘wisps’ of hair you see around your bed­room or bath­room — if they don’t have a white bulb on the end — are bro­ken hairs, and split ends occur when the pro­tec­tive cuti­cle (out­er­most lay­er of the strand) is destroyed at any point along the length of the shaft. Try the­se tips and tricks to cut down on break­age.

1. Avoid Direct Heat Styling (Blow drying, Curling/Flat ironing, Hot Rollers, and Crimpers)

Heat removes pre­cious mois­ture from the shaft, and can pro­duce air bub­bles with­in the shaft that weak­en it. If you want to stretch your hair, try Curl­form­ers, braid­ing or band­ing. Read more about the effects of blowdry­ing here.

2. Use Gentle Cleansers

Harsh sham­poos can leave the hair dry and brit­tle and sus­cep­ti­ble to break­age. Find a cleanser that doesn’t dis­rupt the mois­ture bal­ance of your strands. Find a list­ing of BGLH read­ers’ favorite cleansers here.

3. Gentle and Minimal Manipulation

Be gen­tle with your hair and be mind­ful of how the tools you use affect your hair. Keep in mind too that putting in and tak­ing down twists and braids can put mechan­i­cal strain on the hair, par­tic­u­lar­ly the ends. Also remem­ber that, while some nat­u­rals can style their hair dai­ly, oth­ers don’t have hair strong enough to man­age that. In this case, gen­tle pro­tec­tive styles might be a bet­ter option.

4. Moisture & Conditioning

Mois­ture is what keeps hair strands sup­ple and pli­able. Mois­tur­ize your hair with a leave-in con­di­tion­er and seal with a but­ter or heavy oil. How often you do this depends on how well your hair retains mois­ture. Some wom­en need to mois­tur­ize dai­ly, while oth­ers mois­ture every 3 to 5 days. Also, some nat­u­rals find that deep con­di­tion­ing helps to keep their hair strength­ened and mois­tur­ized. Read more about BGLH read­ers’ views on deep con­di­tion­ing here.

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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70 Comments on "8 Anti-Breakage Tips & Tricks for Natural Hair"

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Afrokinkyhair

Great tips! I’ve incor­po­rat­ed the­se tips into my reg­i­men and they’ve helped me a ton. I’ve also tried some oth­er things that helped as well. If you’d like to know them read this
https://afrokinkyhair.com/2016/06/11/how-to-prevent-hair-breakage-and-split-ends/.

Chidinma

If you are find­ing it hard to grow your front hair. The best solu­tion for you is a hair build­ing fiber like Sevich or Top­pik. The­se give you imme­di­ate results of fuller front hair in less than 5 min­utes. While you are busy using all the­se prod­ucts from Cas­tor oil to Vir­gin hair cream to grow your hair , Sevich Hair Build­ing fiber pro­vides you with an imme­di­ate solu­tion to make your front hair look fuller. You can use it with any hair­style. You can get yours on Kon­ga http://www.konga.com/sevich-hair-building-fibre-fuller-edges-in-5-minutes-1873927 or Call 09099155388.

Malena

Fan­tas­tic nat­u­ral hair tips here.. I’ve not been look­ing after my hair as well as I should have been recent­ly, so this arti­cle is real­ly use­ful to me! Thanks! :).

Naturalhair

Look on youtube, there is a wom­an by the name of nat­u­ral­c89 she is just start­ing her page but she has videos of her nat­u­ral hair jour­ney, flat twists, and if you email her she responds with help­ful nat­u­ral hair tips and will post how-to videos on request

Edith

Hi Chin­we, you rec­om­mend­ed cas­tor oil for grow­ing front hair, but I can’t seem to find them any­where. Any clues for me? Am from Nige­ria

Mary

My anti-break­age tips and tricks? Just the basic, moisturize,be gen­tle, min­i­mize or stop using direct heat, trim damaged/split ends, etc.. Thanks for shar­ing your tips and tricks. Will add it to my list. It will sure­ly help me lessen/prevent break­age.

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[…] Believe it or not some­times you’ve got to trim your hair to get it to grow; this may seem a lit­tle back­wards, but it’s kind of like prun­ing a rose bed, if you want your flow­ers to flour­ish you’ve got to clear out the dead ones so that the fresh ones can come in stronger. Blackgirllonghair.com writes: […]

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[…] [Source] […]

lorraine

Help,my hair s break­ing from the infront,jst pulled out the braids,what can I use to make it grow

Dee

Did you braid it too tight? Don’t braid your hair too tight or pull on your front edges too much because you will give your­self alope­cia. You can grow it back with Jamaican Black Cas­tor Oil or you can grow it back stronger with Emu Oil. Here’s more infor­ma­tion about Emu Oil: https://www.facebook.com/notes/naturally-naturals/benefits-of-emu-oil-for-hair/584576438265474

Beauty

Hi!

I have very kinky hair, as in Orig­i­nal-African-undi­lut­ed hair. It shrinks to like 20% its actu­al length. My prob­lem is that it breaks when I comb, so much so I have decid­ed to cut all of it and start on a clean slate. Please help with prod­ucts that I can use, i.e sham­poo, con­di­tion­er and mois­tur­iz­er. I plan to let it grow nat­u­ral­ly, no braids, no weaves, no no heat, just hair. Thank you.

Dee

Go to YouTube and find oth­ers with the same hair type as you. Also, do a strand test and fig­ure out if you have high, low, or nor­mal poros­i­ty hair–that will help you tremen­dous­ly. Fol­low hair pages on Face­book for moti­va­tion, ideas, and hair edu­ca­tion. If your hair breaks the comb when it shrinks, then keep it stretched. Here are some heat free ways to stretch your hair:

Twists
Braids
Ban­tu Knots
Bun­ning
Curl For­m­ers
Flexirods
Wrap­ping
Band­ing
African Thread­ing
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Candy

Great infor­ma­tion. The more hair tips the bet­ter edu­cat­ed we are about car­ing for our hair. Thanks! Here are some good black hair tips I came across http://www.exoticallure.com/black-hair-tips.htm

Angelica

This arti­cle is a great exam­ple of things to keep in mind when build­ing a hair reg­i­men. Below is a link to my hair reg­i­men using many of the­se tech­niques. I hope it will give you hair lovers a start­ing point and inspi­ra­tion.

Angel

My front hair are all out.i have use all kinds of pro­duct but no result,what do i do.i need help.from nige­ria.

Bianca D.

Cas­tor Oil mas­saged on the edges reg­u­lar­ly will bring them back…

Tina Faye

I have fine, wavy hair that tends toward dry­ness and frizzi­ness. I use about a dime-sized amount of the Shielo Antiox­i­dant Leave in Pro­tec­tant on wet hair and then air-dry. I end up with shiny, wavy, frizz-free hair, which is amaz­ing since I’ve tried pret­ty much every frizz-fight­er around. Also, after a mon­th I noticed my hair is break­ing a lot less and over­all look­ing health­ier. Plus, the smell is amaz­ing. Great pro­duct!

Mazoe
Hel­lo, I have a problem…I have been nat­u­ral most of my life but June of 2011 is when I start­ed tak­ing care of my nat­u­ral hair. I have gained a lot of growth from then till now, but recent­ly I’ve noticed that parts of my hair are bro­ken off. Mean­ing, the over­all hair is long but in between and around the front there are some hair that’s about half the length of my over­all hair. My hair is a lit­tle bit past shoul­der length and I am so con­fused. I’m not sure what’s caus­ing this prob­lem because I don’t use… Read more »
Dee
What’s your hair poros­i­ty? If you have low poros­i­ty hair (you can feel or see the prod­ucts sit­ting on your hair, your hair takes forever to dry or get wet, etc) then the hair shaft is always closed. To open it to add mois­ture, you need to wash or spray your hair with warm liq­uids first and then add prod­ucts. Use light oils, steam­ers, etc on your hair. [img[/img] If you have high poros­i­ty hair (prod­ucts absorb well but escapes eas­i­ly & becomes dry) then your hair shaft is always open. You can shock it close with cold water/liquids. Spray cold… Read more »
Bianca D.

Are you pulling your hair too tight in those areas with buns, weaves or exten­sions? Or it could be your stress area…

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from which you can cre­ate inter­est­ing blog…

posts as well!there are many strate­gies for get­ting traf­fic to your blog and the 3 sug­ges­tions above are based upon using your writ­ing abil­i­ty ‘off’ site! by doing so you can show­case the same writ­ing abil­i­ty you will be using to…

Rosalind

i loved the 10 tips. they r well not­ed. my ques­tion tho is how do i restore the hair that has been pulled from my tem­ple area, I’ve had locks for about 5yrs then i decid­ed to cut them off in 2010. My hair has grown back quite nice­ly but the tem­ple area tho not bald is real­ly sparse, I’ve tried olive oil shea but­ter and I’m try­ing Organ­ic Root Stim­u­la­tor Tem­ple balm right now, should i con­tin­ue or do u have anoth­er sug­ges­tion?????? please help

Laurie

Jamaican Black Cas­tor oil work won­ders for hair growth-espe­cial­ly the edges. I just put a lit­tle on my fin­ger­tips and mas­sage my scalp and edges for about 10 min or so. The mas­sag­ing also helps with blood cir­cu­la­tion which also pro­motes growth.

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[…] FOUND AT BGLHONLINE.COM […]

lpwanted

I don’t under­stand the point about sham­poo­ing just the scalp only esp when peo­ple talk about using oils etc as pre-poos. One would have already have “build-up” from using dif­fer­nt prod­ucts dur­ing the week whether leave-in, mois­tur­iz­ers the works, then engulf hair with pre-poo product.How can you get that all out of hair with­out actu­al­ly wash­ing it. I tried that and my 4d hair was still extreme­ly oily. I just won­der how much peo­ple are being prac­ti­cal on the­se forums.

mangomadness
The ‘sham­poo the scalp’ method works like so– Upon rins­ing, the sham­poo that was focused on the scalp runs down the length of the hair, gen­tly cleans­ing it. The heav­i­ness of prod­ucts used, the fre­quen­cy of re-appli­ca­tion, cleans­ing method (sham­poo, co-wash, etc.) are some things that deter­mine the effec­tive­ness of the tech­nique. It might not work well for some­one who uses tons of pro­duct, re-applies pro­duct often and/or co-wash­es. I sham­poo and mois­tur­ize once a week (5–7 days) so focus­ing sham­poo on my scalp works very well for my tight­ly coiled hair.  If a method dosen’t work for you, it’s… Read more »
Nicole

But then if you are using a sul­fate free sham­poo, there’s no actu­al way to real­ly get rid of the oil is there?

mangomadness

That is not the case.

Sul­fates are not the only cleans­ing agents that get rid of oil–soaps (nat­u­ral or more “chem­i­cal-ly”) as well as non-sul­fate sur­fac­tants (decyl glcoside, cocami­do­propyl betaine, etc)–get rid of oil as well. They’re just not as harsh on the hair as sul­fates can be.

K Murray

With high­ly tex­tured nat­u­ral hair, it seems almost impos­si­ble to not get split ends and some break­age. I have learned to accept some break­age and split ends as long as it is con­tin­u­ing to grow in length and thick­ness. It seems to come with the ter­ri­to­ry so to speak.

She Who Must Not Be Named
She Who Must Not Be Named

I agree! There is no way to elmi­nate split ends or breakage–all you can do is lessen it’s occur­ance. That goes for all hair–Not just high­ly tex­tured nat­u­ral hair.

thefwordprod

This isn’t real­ly on top­ic with the post at hand but I was won­der­ing how to get the hair­style in the begin­ning of the post

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[…] Read the Oth­er Four Tips at Black Girl with Long Hair […]

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[…] Read the Oth­er Four Tips at Black Girl with Long Hair Share and Enjoy: […]

Michelle

I’ve been good ot my hair as far as most of the things on this list. I don’t use heat, con­di­tion reg­u­lar­ly, and I fin­ger detan­gle. I’m just not very gen­tle with my curls. I dun­no I get frus­trat­ed when it gets too knot­ty and instead of a gen­tle detan­gle I kind of just pull or cut it off. LOL I know it’s bad. Does any­one know of a real­ly good detan­gler for kinky hair?

Tier
Yes Ker­acare mois­tur­iz­ing con­di­tion­er works won­ders and I have the tight­est curl pat­ter there it. It’s a lit­tle expen­sive like 14 or 15 bucks a bot­tle but worth it. Here is the trick. Detan­gle your hair before washing.create like 4 big twist.after sham­poo­ing put the con­di­tion on the ends and work your way up gen­tly mas­sag­ing it into the braids leave on a few sec­ond then add Berazil­ian Ker­at­in treat­ment, rin­se then untwist and fin­ger through. You have to use the sec­ond con­di­tion­er because it will bal­ance out the first con­di­tion which can be dry­ing but great for detan­gle. My… Read more »
mangomadness

I like using an Lily of the Dessert aloe vera gel/oil mix or Shea Mois­ture Purifi­ca­tion Masque to detan­gle.

lisa
I don’t have a lot of time to fuss with my hair although I love it! I take hair vit­a­mins, eat healthy and wash my hair twice a week. While it is still wet from sham­poo­ing and con­di­tion­ing, I use Weleda Rose­mary oil on my hair. I then gen­tly untan­gle start­ing at the ends and grad­u­al­ly work to the root. Sec­tion with about 7 or 8 braids. I usu­al­ly use a sat­in pil­low­case to pre­vent break­age and dry­ing. In the morn­ing gen­tly un-braid my hair and arrange with my fin­gers leav­ing down or loose­ly bring­ing hair to mid­dle of my… Read more »
Jazz
To all! I for­got to men­tion that I dis­cov­ered (at least for my own hair) we shouldn’t wash in that tra­di­tion­al sense. Lit­er­al­ly squeeze a nick­le to a quar­ter size worth of Pan­tene (for black hair of course)into a 150 Liter of fil­tered tap or spring water (I sim­ply use the bot­tle itself). Swish to blend and then pour half the solu­tion over your hair while in the show­er (I find that to be the best way as you want the hair to fall back, not bent over in your sink). Gen­tly mas­sage and move around and work to the… Read more »
Jazz

For the own­ers of this webis­te… is it okay to add your site to my blogroll? Long time admir­er, here!

Peace.

Lola

I’m still try­ing to fig­ure how to deal with split hair. It seems every strand I touch or look at is split from root to end. My hair is 6 inch­es long (been nat­u­ral for 1 year) and trimmed about 4–5 times. Cut­ting the whole hair off is a scary thought for me. Help!

Jazz
Hi Lola! Fear not! I dis­cov­ered a pro­duct while liv­ing abroad in the worst con­di­tion for nat­u­ral hair and it was a sav­ior! From the detan­gling, adding mois­ture– she real­ly cre­at­ed a gem!  http://www.growafrohairlong.com/ I only trim my hair once per year “just because”, but there has been no break­age, split ends or any­thing! My hair is so frig­gin long now (been nat­u­ral for more than 8 years WOW) that it now takes more time to do when I’d perm, con­di­tion, blow dry and curl. Not com­plain­ing but I cer­tain­ly wasn’t expect­ing it! Give them a try. Stay nat­u­ral ya’ll because… Read more »
Dami

love love love all the com­ments. I am also strug­gling with how to “encour­age” anti-break­age with my hair. i wear alot of pro­tec­tive styles but not sure they help too much as I tend to “ignore” my hair when in them which tends to increase break­age. Once i take my braids out will def try some of the tips shared. 

The wash­ing hair in sec­tions seems a bit con­fus­ing- will your hair tru­ly be clean while doing this? but I guess if you wash often enough.

mangomadness

I do the same as Erika–I sham­poo in twists focus­ing on my scalp. I nev­er apply sham­poo to my strands–the water rin­se and sham­poo runoff cleans­es them enough. 

While my hair is in twists from detan­gling and pre-poo’ing, I rin­se though­ly while mas­sag­ing my scalp. Next, I apply dilut­ed sham­poo to my scalp via an appli­ca­tor bot­tle, mas­sage well and rin­se. Clean­er scalp and much less break­age when com­pared to wash­ing loose or unrav­el­ing twists while wash­ing.

Lynnette

Man­go­mad­ness Love the idea of the applca­tor bot­tle, Will most def try that.

mangomadness

Awe­some! It works well to get my scalp clean with­out get­ting sham­poo on my hair. 

Anoth­er way to sham­poo would be to pour a cup of dilut­ed sham­poo over your hair–that method would get sham­poo on the scalp AND hair though.

Erika
I post­ed ear­lier about wash­ing in sec­tions. I find this works well for me because I’m actu­al­ly only try­ing to wash my scalp, not my hair, and I let the con­di­tion­er wash my hair. I actu­al­ly get all up in my twist­ed sec­tions, so to speak, with my fin­gers and mas­sage the sham­poo into my scalp up under there (some­times I scratch too, I’m not gonna lie). And I let the sham­poo sit for a min­ute on my scalp to make sure it’s get­tin’ real­ly clean. So it works for me and I avoid a tan­gled bird’s nest.  Anoth­er thing,… Read more »
shannon

That was my ini­tial con­cern. I band­ed my ends so that the braids wouldn’t unrav­el. I put the sham­poo on my scalp and on the braids and mas­saged my scalp as usu­al. I let the water from the show­er rin­se the sham­poo away thor­ough­ly. I con­di­tioned and applied my leave-in the same way. Once my hair was dry I unbraid­ed and my hair was very soft with very few broken/shed hairs.

Jeanna

Great tips — thanks for shar­ing. I also appre­ci­ate the oth­er com­ments.

val

i have been mois­tur­iz­ing, oil­ing and wear­ing a silk scarf to bed for a long time now! my hair is grow­ing, but it seems like no mat­ter what i do, my hair always starts to break off when it gets to my col­lar bone!! does that hap­pen to any­one else?

Lynnette

Col­lar bone Break­age defi­nat­ley hap­pened to me, but then i learned about pro­tec­tive styling. It sug­gest keep­ing the hair pinned up and mois­tur­ized for short stents of time in order to keep hair away from snags from cloth­ing, scarves, and even wind. Great for the win­ter months! Ever since I heard about this I can say my hair is mak­ing it way past my col­lar bone. Hope that helps.
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Erika
I think the best thing I ever start­ed doing for my hair was detan­gling BEFORE sham­poo­ing. I have 4b hair (prob­a­bly, I’m still a lit­tle con­fused) and that stuff tan­gles like crazy. I don’t know what in the world I was think­ing before when I would jump in the show­er with free hair and try to detan­gle it with con­di­tion­er like a lot of youtu­bers do.  Now I detan­gle in small sec­tions on stretched hair AFTER soak­ing it in oil for at least an hour and a cheap­ie con­di­tion­er for a few min­utes. SO much eas­ier and it seems the tan­gles… Read more »
Tanya

LOL, Erika! I hear you! I don’t know what I was think­ing either. That dis­cov­ery was a lit­tle God-send! I thank Glamazini for that lit­tle tip. Found her blog, and fol­lowed it to youtube, lol.

Rodolfo

I have alter­nate vion­sis of my moth­er yelling get the hair out of your eyes and then the hor­ri­ble hair cuts she gave each of us (4) girls. She called them pix­ie cuts to make us think they were cute; they were not. Use a pro, and do just the bangs. BTW I think my mom reads this: Hi Mom!

mangomadness

I agree! I fin­ger-detan­gle on stretched, sec­tioned (10 parts) hair before sham­poo­ing. I do it one of two ways–on dry hair with con­di­tion­er or on damp hair with oil. This method leads to much less brek­age than the “soak­ing wet, just shampoo’ed” detan­gling method. 

Like you, I sham­poo in sec­tions focus­ing on the scalp. I wear stretched styles (braid outs, ban­tu knot outs, etc) and PS a lot as well (sock buns and cinnabuns)–no wash-n-goes for this ‘fro.

Gaelle
Yeah, I’ve found that this basi­cal­ly applies to me too. I detan­gle before wash­ing (I also learned that detan­gling from a twist-out as opposed to a wash and go, cuts my detan­gling time 75%! I’ve learned that no mat­ter how hard I try wash&gos just don’t work for me. After the first or sec­ond day my hair tan­gles ridiculously)and then sham­poo my hair in sec­tions. 4 in the back(2 at the bot­tom and 2 kind of in the mid­dle of my head), 2 on the front sides, and 2 on top. I’ve also given up con­di­tion­ing, because late­ly I’ve noticed… Read more »
shannon

I recent­ly washed in sec­tions (while my hair was still braid­ed). The amount of hairs lost was min­i­mal! Def­i­nite­ly some­thing I will add to the rou­tine.

mangomadness

I always wash in twist–same idea as the braids with the same results.

Harmony

I do this as well but I twist the sec­tions so they don’t get tan­gled and because they are eas­ier to take a loose. My hair does a lot bet­ther this way and I don’t get a bunch of knots or shed­ding.

shannon

So fun­ny you say that, I’ve recent­ly switched the braid­ing for twist­ing. Works much bet­ter…

df

has any­one dis­cov­ered that just wear­ing a sat­in bon­net is not enough? my hair is dry in the morn­ing if I don’t cov­er it with silk!

Rhea

I only use silk scarves any­way. They aren’t hard to find.

Kate

I use the silk Bon­net when I’m going to sleep because I braids in and I use the scarf when I’m show­er­ing to save my hair from get­ting wet.

Roxy F

I was won­der­ing the same thing, when I wash my sat­in bon­net i see all the oils that should be in my hair com­ing from it. I won­dered why my hair was so dry as well. where did you get the silk bon­net to buy?

Shelli

Oh, and I want­ed to add, knots and splits don’t only com­pro­mise the integri­ty of the strands on which they exist. They can also snag and snare adja­cent healthy hair, caus­ing more knots and splits. So, I am an avid Searcher and Destroy­er to reduce the like­li­hood of col­lat­er­al dam­age:)! LOL!

Shelli
I agree with man­go­mad­ness in regard to fin­ger detan­gling in par­tic­u­lar. I only fin­ger detan­gle now. Although this may not work for all, I think that start­ing with fin­ger detan­gling to work out big knots is very impor­tant. I nev­er real­ized how many knots I must be rip­ping through with a wide-tooth comb because I didn’t feel them at all. When work­ing knots out with my fin­gers, I can real­ly tell how much pres­sure to apply, when to work the knot up and apart, rather than down, when a shed hair is wrapped, etc. I think I’ve saved a lot… Read more »
PG

+1 I fin­ger detan­gle on wet, dirty, oil/conditioner laden hair before using a wide tooth comb and before start­ing the cleans­ing process. Most effec­tive detan­gling process for me and least time com­sum­ing in the over 1 year I’ve been nat­u­ral.

Lynnette

I agree with pro­tec­tive styling for retain­ing length but not nec­es­sar­i­ly for anti break­age. I mix the major­i­ty of my hair care prod­ucts so my tip would be to find a con­di­tion­er you like that is real­ly good for detan­gle­ing and mix it with 3 parts water and 1 part aloe vera juice, then every morn­ing I spritz before I leave out for work or to start the day. Helped me ALot with mois­ture espe­cial­ly since i got my hair col­ored a few months ago.

NaturellaBella

This mix sounds like great! Most detan­glers con­tain aloe vera juice, water, and con­di­tion­ing agents. Thanks for the tip!

Lynnette

your wel­come I also use a lit­tle sweet almond oil on my hair when damp mixed with coconut oil, makes it a lit­tle more slip­pery and helps seal in mois­ture.

mangomadness

My anti-break­age tip–Be gen­tle while detan­gling. Try detan­gling damp­ened, stretched hair before sham­poo­ing with con­di­tion­er or oil–It may be eas­ier for you than detan­gling on soak­ing wet con­di­tion­er-laden hair. Also, try fin­ger-detan­gling before using a comb or brush (if you use one). It’ll take out major tan­gles before comb/brush rips through them.

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