3 Time Consuming Natural Hair Practices that are WORTH the Effort

By Christina of The Mane Objective

In a world of 4G phone speeds, instant text messaging, and lightning quick information, it seems that anything that takes more than 13.8 seconds (and that’s puuuushing it) is more cumbersome than helpful. Along my No Heat Challenge/Healthy Hair Journey, I have picked up and refined some practices that require time, patience, determination, and resolve. By incorporating the big three into my regimen, my hair has truly begun to live up to its potential — full of body, softness, elasticity, gaining thickness, and drastically decreasing in tangles, breakage, and mechanical damage. Ready for three secrets to healthy hair? Sit down…this may take a while (not really).

#3: Reading/Researching Your Hair + Products

If you do nothing else for your hair, you have to at least invest some time in this one. I don’t care if your hair is kinky, curly, coily, permed, purple, wavy, two inches or ten inches long — taking the time out to understand what products and ingredients work on your hair cannot be stressed enough. No, it is not enough to assume that because your cousin’s baby’s mama’s best friend uses product xyz, that it is going to work miracles for you. By all means, give it a try; but make sure you take the time to pay attention to how certain products and ingredients work in your hair. Each head of hair is as individual as the person it is attached to, and investing the effort in learning your hair has a bigger payoff than you would believe. Don’t believe all the hair hype, either. Don’t hop on the “Cone Free” bandwagon just because. By that same token, don’t go out and buy out the coconut oil stock at Whole Foods because that’s what everyone is using. Lastly, treat your hair product purchases like you would food purchases. Ideally, before buying food, you would scope the nutrition facts and ingredients, right? Doesn’t it make sense to do the same for your hair? Peep the ingredients — check for drying chemicals, scalp irritants, and other damaging ingredients.

#2: Section Washing

Let the deep sighs begin. I know I covered section washing in a previous post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t bring it up again in this post. Sure enough, there are times when I don’t section wash my hair, and there are times when I do…and I definitely notice a difference. When I loose wash my hair, I end up with those ugly matted tangle things, regardless of whether I previously detangled my hair or not. In turn, I spend extra time being extra careful, and still breaking some of my hair because I am fooling with it soaking wet. When I section wash, the only thing I may lose are a few shed hairs that I didn’t catch during my pre-game detangle.  Not to mention, that my hair is much easier to handle and apply product to after the fact. Time consuming? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.

#1: Finger Detangling

If you didn’t give a deep sigh for #2, then you definitely will here. Ever since I discovered the wonderful world of finger detangling, I can’t even tell you where my wide tooth comb is. I like to be honest, so I will go ahead and fully disclose this one —finger detangling is a pain in the ass. It will put every peaceful, steadfast, and patient quality you thought you possessed to the test. If you need to learn to practice patience and persistence (especially in spite of fatigue), this is something you may want to adopt. I learned a lot about myself in finger detangling — it almost becomes a metaphor for navigating life’s tougher situations. But back to the nitty gritty. Finger detangling, albeit cumbersome, offers some great benefits. I have seen less mechanical breakage and damage to my hair overall — not just the ends. Plus, I feel like I am getting through to my hair more, by being able to work through individual tangles and knots that wide tooth combs are prone to missing.

Does this seem like a lot of work? At the end of the day, it all boils down to asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do you want for you hair (hair goal)?
  • Are your current practices helping or hindering your hair goal progress?
  • How much time do you spend caring for your hair on average? Do your results reflect your time investment?

If you find yourself feeling like your hair could use a little more TLC, then adopting these processes will definitely help your hair bounce back.

Ladies, what time consuming practices benefit your hair in the long run?

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Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

  • Finger detangling mos def! It is time consuming but worth it for the overall health of my hair. I feel like I’m more in tune with my hair when I finger detangle and it really does teach you patience :) When I use other hair cleansers aside from Terressentials Lavender Garden Mud Wash then sectioning my hair is helpful.

  • Detangling is the most time consuming activity for me — but also the most important!! Like Christina, I too can’t seem to locate my comb (not that I’m even trying to).

    I recently did a post on my detangling “strategies”: http://bit.ly/N2N0Cz

    It has helped to detangle at different points in my regimen AND keeping my hair in four twisted sections. I really take my time to detangle my hair. Over the years, as my hair has grown, I have had to reevaluate my practices and make adjustments.

  • I do the section washing, but that finger detangling always gets to me. I always get annoyed at how long it takes me to get through it all. My arms are usually hurting and I want to stop but I keep going.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate,

  • I really like your points! They are all valid and extremely useful…despite how long it takes for you to do them :) I’ve been finger detangling for a fe months now and I definitely see the benefits despite the fact that I’m cursing while I’m doing it. It takes awhile but I’m getting much faster….and much more patient LOL.

  • hyspin

    Still on the fence with finger detangling. Why?
    Because my ability to keep to slow speed and patient through that process is just not there. So I cause more damage than good in the end I start ripping hair. So I consider it a “know thyself” practice, just like some people who can’t study via reading text alone, same goes me with finger detangling. I do use it if I am just changing styles rather than wash day purposes. But I also noticing spots not being as thoroughly detangled as with a comb since I started with finger detangling during styling. So I might designate finger detangling for just applying shampoo, conditioner or rinses. Section is a great, in the end it saves in detangling time. Research I kind of do that by default but I find in the end actually trying the product is the true research.

  • Rachel R.

    I agree with (1)finger detangling and (2)sectioning for those with longer hair, but (3)could still be a problem. Meaning even you find products that are sulfate free, silicone free, and paraben free sometimes those products still don’t work. So you’re back on the hunt for the perfect product for your hair. That would be my only time consuming problem.

  • Landry

    I finger detangle when I prepoo, then I wash and detangle my hair with a wide tooth comb while it has lots of thick conditioner in it such as AO Honeysuckle Rose or White Camellia. My train of thought is a wide tooth comb will get all of the shed hairs that my fingers don’t catch.

    This method has worked for me and detangling is relatively easy. I have very few shed hair lost when I use my wide tooth comb because get I rid of most of them when I detangle prior.

    I also wash in sections and I stick to all natural products; my favs are Carol’s Daughter, Aubrey Organics (AO), and grapeseed oil. So far, so good!

  • Zoopath

    I tried with the finger detangling and it was an unnecessary time suck for me. However, I have normal strand thickeness. I imagine if my hair were fine it would be worth the time and effort. Same thing with dry detangling, it takes forever but if I detangle in the shower it’s much easier because my kinks clump for the most part.

  • Vonnie

    Even though my hair is assumably below 6” (I only measure my hair every 6 months) I found section washing to be EXTREMELY beneficial. After detangling my hair, I put my hair in twists, and also wash them in those twists, working the scalp and lightly coating the twists. This prevents me from detangling more than once, and also gives me pre-ready made parts for my PS’s.

    Finger detangling, hmmm, I kinda had to let that go. I found it wasn’t honestly as effective as using a wide-tooth comb (I know). I do initially lightly finger rake each ends and shaft of section to search for any larger knots, but after that, I carefully use my comb as usual and get along just fine.

  • I follow all of those constantly. I usually pre-poo (put my hair in four sections), shampoo, oil rinse (when the oil is in my hair, I finger detangle), then I put conditioner in my hair and use a wide-tooth comb to get any shed hair I missed (followed by deep conditioning and styling). It can be time consuming, but the results are worth it!

    As far as products are concerned, I stick to the products that work for me (Shea Moisture, Qhemet Biologics,and Alikay Naturals).

  • Alwina

    I definitely do all three of these with section washing #1 on my list followed by Reading/Researching Hair and Products and finger detangling. I noticed a huge difference when I stopped section washing; I don’t know why I stopped to begin with. I back on the wagon when I realized I did extra detangling in the shower even when I finger/regular detangled prior to washing my hair. I’m always reading various blogs and youtube videos and looking at the ingredients of products I purchase. And I adopted finger detangling “after researching hair methods” to provide a better way to care for my hair. It’s all a process to loving and caring for your hair.

  • Adeyinka

    Finger detangling, I am still working on. I need more patience. It does help.

    Also, does anyone else think that the woman in the photo kind of favors whoissugar from YT?

  • mangomadness

    Finger-detangling and washing in twisted sections are a must for my tightly coiled hair. Both methods greatly reduce breakage and make caring for my hair easier. They are so worth the effort.

    Knowing about ingredients is important as well because it helps me pick which products will work best for my hair and for a given hair style.

  • Dee

    I don’t really understand how to wash in sections. Is there a good youtube video that shows how to do it?

    • caribbeancurl

      I cannot give you a specific site but here are 2 ways it can be done.They are both easy-peasy
      1. Part your whole head into 4-6 sections (the kind every little girl had at some point :)) and hold each section with a clip, band etc. Then wash and rinse each section at a time, focussing on the scalp.If you wash in the shower and generally tend to hold your head back then start with the sections at front of head that way by the time you have reach the back you will use way less shampoo as those will already be 1/2 clean)

      2. My way : put your hair into several medium to large twists. Apply shampoo to whole head and wash the scalp. Rinse. Apply conditioner generously to entire head and taking each twist apart gently, detangle with comb and re-twist (I personally put them into rough bantu knots just so i can recognise the twists which have already been detangled). Rinse the conditioner out well taking down twists IF DESIRED as you go along.

      • Hmmm, I’ve been taking the twists out one by one and washing and rinsing. It seems like your saying I don’t need to do and undue each twist, please tell me that’s what you’re saying? If so, basically, I love you and I’ll try it tomorrow!

        Also, does anyone else do oil rinses?

        • caribbeancurl

          yup that is correct. Leave the twists in while u shampoo ( or for the 1st co-wash). Focus on washing scalp, DON”T bunch the hair up like we see in the commercials. Take them down , IF YOU WANT a more thorough clean, at the condioneing/final rinse stage. For me i at times end up leaving the shower with less twists than I started lol but that is ok. It helps cut down on too much shrinkage as well.

          Love ya too :)

          • caribbeancurl

            my bad *conditioning/final rinse*

  • Candice

    I finger detangle but it really doesn’t take me that long. I do it while I’m washing and conditioning. I’m sure I take a lot of short cuts with my hair (been months since I deep conditioned), but I have to find a balance between doing everything by the book and having time to do things. I own my own business, I go to the gym, I still try to be social. I think that a lot of women are turned off from going natural because these sites make it seem so complicated and time consuming. I also have to remember though that most hair bloggers and vloggers have lovely little hair product advertisements on their page. If they told us it was easy, we wouldn’t spend a lot of money on products

  • DeeJ085

    I haven’t gotten into the section washing because I always thought it was for people who have a whole lot of hair, my hair is thick, but not that thick. I will try it though.

  • For me its sectioned washing. I only finger detangle when I’ll be doing my own hair. I use a wide toothed comb graduating to medium then fine before seeing my hair dresser for twist extensions. If she tries to comb to detangle further I’m afraid she’ll rip my hair apart…

  • Heather

    Section washing is a big help for my transitioning hair. When I first started my transition, I could wash my whole head with no problem. When the 6th month of my transition rolled around, that practice had become a nightmare! Relaxed ends hanging, new growth a knotted clumped mess. I’m 8 months into my transition, and I have to wash in 6 twists to keep having to detangle multiple times. Finger detangling isn’t a necessity for me at this point in my journey. It’s irritating to try to do that with 2 diff textures of hair. Breakage during transitioning is common, and no matter what method I use, some hair will break. Im over that. As far as product research, I try to stay as close to simple and organic as I can get within my budget. I don’t want to become obsessed with products like I see some naturals becoming. Water, oils, shampoo, conditioner, leave in. That’s it. I’m sure all of this will change once I BC

  • Tina

    For me as I am becoming more in tune with my natural hair thongs that were once time consuming no longer are. I get through section washing and conditioning my hair. Afterward as I am on a no heat regimen all I have to do is apply my raw organic coconut oil and raw organic Shea butter (there are a number of awesome videos that show u how to make a whipped moisturizer using those 2 items and some other essential oils but I find my hair is at its best if I just put the two on separately) then I detangle (I have to admit with all my hair I still use a wide tooth comb) and let air dry and I am done in a little over an hr.

    The one thing I have found though is my hair isn’t curly anymore (a coworker told me having my son recently may have changed my hair pattern) I thought it might have been becuz of heat but I have been without heat for some time and nothing has changed…

    P.S. its not perm residue as I have had one since 2009

  • I find parting your hair as perfectly as possible and following your natural parts is time consuming but neccessary. Braiding or twisting you hair in the direction it naturally lays creates less frizz, tangles, and has better results.