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By Christina of The Mane Objective

When it comes to natural hair, there are few things more cumbersome, time consuming, frustrating, and painstakingly slow than detangling. This is especially true for transitioners. Despite it being the bane of my (and everyone else’s) existence, detangling is an integral part of the natural hair regimen. Detangling serves three critical functions:

1. Prevent matting in hair, which can lead to unwanted locs.
2. Remove shed hairs that cause tangles and knots. Shed hair tends to wrap itself over, under, around and throughout the rest of your hair that’s still chillin’/attached to your scalp (in growing or resting phase).
3. Allow the hair and scalp to be adequately cleansed. If your hair is matted up it is more difficult to cleanse; and even more difficult for your scalp to be accessed for cleansing/clarifying.

When it comes to detangling products, I break them down into two categories: pre-wash and mid-week. Here are my top two picks for each:

Pre-Wash

Pre-wash detanglers are those I like to use after I pre-poo, but before I wash my hair. I’ve tried quite a few products in this category — ranging from Coconut Oil or Curl Enhancing Smoothie to Infusium 23. However, what seems to work best on my pre-wash days are conditioners with plenty of slip.

#1 Pick: Tresemme Split Remedy Conditioner

To me, this conditioner is the slipperiest of the slippery. Tresemme doesn’t even pretend to try to make this stuff thick and goopy — it practically oozes out the bottle at the slightest squeeze. It is super slippery, and has a pleasant smell. Needless to say, I don’t recommend this product for its intended use. Just in case you are curious, it does “mend” split ends temporarily. But they go right back to splitting unless you regularly continue to apply the conditioner. The best way to cure split ends is to get rid of them. Additionally, this isn’t a great co-washing or conditioning product — too many silicones and not enough moisturizing/softening agents to be effective. Even in spite of all that, I’d detangle my hair with this stuff any day.

#2 Pick: U R Curly Quinoa Protein Conditioner

I can’t say enough about this conditioner….except that I’m having theeeeee hardest time finding where to purchase more of this stuff locally. I initially received a full-size bottle of this conditioner in my November Curl Kit for review on Black Girl with Long Hair. And I must say, I was skeptical at first. Quinoa? Word? Then I read the ingredient list…. menthol? Like, as in Vicks Vapo Rub? But when I read what the bottle said it would do, my interest piqued. I will go into further details about the ingredients and whatnot in a post soon, but suffice it to say that this product eased its way up the ladder past plenty of natural staples. I mixed it with water in a spray bottle to detangle my hair. It is great for co-washes and conditioning, and the menthol actually works to create a cooling sensation on the scalp…but  more on that later. What I liked best about U R Curl’s Quinoa Protein Conditoner is how it helped keep my hair detangled after I washed it. Usually, I do mid-week detangle sessions so my weekend detangles aren’t so terrible. But with this stuff, by mid-week all I needed was a little bit mixed with water in a spray bottle and a few finger rakes through.

Mid-Week

Although protective styles are awesome, my hair gets tangled in them anyways — especially with buns. To prevent an utterly abysmal situation at the end of the week, usually around Wednesday I do a quick finger detangle with a light product. Light detangling products are also good for transitioning from a protective style to prepping for a braid/twist/bantu knot out. Light detanglers will give you enough slip to effectively detangle without the heaviness of oils or conditioners. Additionally, they leave your hair damp, at most.

#1 Pick: Kinky Curly Knot Today

If KCNT doubled the size of the bottle and left pricing the same, I would never use another detangler in my life. But the price point for such a small bottle makes this an every once in a while purchase for me. Even though a little goes a long way, my new natural hair is super thick/dense and swallows this stuff whole. Even still, it’s my #1 because of it’s versatility, light-weight formulation, and waterless make-up. It’s a detangler, light conditioner, hair refresher, detangler, and more. Because it doesn’t contain water, it won’t dampen the hair. Plus, the smell is adorable.

#2 Pick: Target Up & Up Hair Detangler

Random, right? The story here is, I needed a quick and light detangle for putting my hair into two french braids. I ran to Target, in search of Kinky Curly Knot Today. They were all out, and I didn’t have time to go to another store. So I chanced up on this stuff on the baby aisle…of all places. My logic was that, if it’s safe enough for baby/kid hair, then it should be fine for me. While I am still breaking down all the ingredients exactly, the active ones are essentially slip-providing agents found in most conditioners, and silicones. It detangled, and didn’t weigh my hair down. At $1.34 for a 10oz bottle, how could I not include this little gem?

What do you think should be on this list? What are your favorite detangling products?

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.

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56 Comments on "4 of the Best Detangling Products for Natural Hair"

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Alexis

I love Tresemme conditioners! When I used to straighten my hair I used the heat protection conditioner alongside their heat protection spray. LOVE them!

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[…] Detangling conditioners […]

Sarah

Hi Ladies, I recommend pure coconut oil as a natural detangler. I usually detangle my hair mid week. I apply the coconut oil to my end first and work my way and detangle from the bottom up and then add a little bit more of the oil to my entire hair and either put it in a bun or a braid. Coconut oil has truly improved my hair and has stimulated growth better than anything. I highly recommend it!!

Charlotte

I need a little help. I would like to know which of these, besides Knot Today, does NOT contain glycerin? I don’t like the size of Knot Today, I would use it up too fast and I cannot get it nearby. I really need to try staying away from glycerin because I think my hair might hate it.

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[…] 4 of the Best Detangling Products for Natural Hair […]

blb1980

What about leave in conditioners? I have not been using those lately but not sure which ones are the best…

Ms.Ellison

Im about 7 months post so to protect my hair for leave in I like the detangler by mizani and the cream of nature agron strengthner

imani

My bes detangling routone is VO5 detangle n shine spray.I saturate my hair,put on a plastic cap& terry towel for abt 30 min . I think the natural heat better activates the ingredients than if I just sprayed & went straight to detangling. After I wait, the wide tooth comb almost glides thru my hair with few tangles! Then I separate my hair into parts & shampoo. Works for me& I see a lot less breakage.

Kishia

I like the Hello Hydration from Herbel Essence. It works wonders for my hair, I don’t even have to brush really hard when I use it. Thank you for the other suggestions, I might need to branch out.

Annetta

Hands down…Biolage Detangler and Light Conditioner.

Curlygirl 26
I use Nutress Instant Conditioner and Stop Break Hair Enhancer which are both incredible detanglers and super affordable – like under $5 a bottle (the instant conditioner is slightly thicker where the stop break is more watery). They both have mostly the same ingredients but they works so well and leave my hair incredibly soft. The problem is I went and let a big muscle bound stylist rip my extremely healthy hair out with a paddle brush one day when I was desperate and it wasn’t detangled and I was just praying I had some of that stuff in my… Read more »
Chibuzo

Can’t forget about the Tresemme Nourishing Moisture Conditioner! Detangles like nobody’s business :).

Ms.Ellison

I love tresemee moisture conditioner of course I add, pure argon oil, placenta uot oil treatment from sallys, and avocdo and macdamaian put it and my hair is like butter

Ms.Ellison

Love it, and love that they have it Sallys yeah

Ayo

I’d like to add Soultanicals’ Mango Dip Detangling Slip and Knot Sauce Coil Detangler to the list! HG Detanglers right there! :o) http://www.soultanicals.com/hair-care/
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Dennise Hackett

I’ve had a horrible time with keeping my hair detangeled. So much that I would just cut the knots out sometimes. I started using this product called Hair Tease about 6 months ago and I love it! My hair is much more manageable after I wash it and it doesn’t break off when I comb it. It’s pretty much replaced my regular conditioner. I haven’t seen my hair this healthy since I was a kid. You can check it out here… http://www.thehairtease.com

KaTrina

Don’t click on this link. It’s NOT a hair site!

Dee

I am a huge fan of KCKT, although like Christina, I have to treat it as a once-in-a-while purchase because budget-wise, it’s too expensive to become a staple for me. But I love how it gently detangles and nourishes my hair without weighing it down.

anonymous

I constantly struggle with this, my hair is always in need of detangling even straight after it has just been detangled! Its really disheartening as it meeans that its almost impossible to retain length and even blowdrying it straight is way too much hassle and makes its too dry to manage at all. I think I need help or a hair transplant – its that thick kinky coily type hair that just wont be tamed!

Casey

When my hair is tangling real bad even after I detangle it’s because it’s not clean. Re wash it.

Stace

Maybe you have hard water…boil two large pots of water and let them cool and use that to do your washes. I had a similar problem.

z

Just curious is BGLH Store still up and running to buy products?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Unfortunately no 🙁 We had a good run but things became too time intensive, so we shut down the store in late summer.

Black Girl With Long Hair

OMG! This is such an old comment. We’re back now! http://bglh-marketplace.com

Belle

I can’t even detangle my own hair after I wash it because I’m natural…So now what I have to do is get it done professionally at the local salon. They use some of the products that you listed in your video and then they give me a nice blow out. As you can see in the video they do a very nice job 😀

B

Next time clean your room before making a video for the whole wide world to see!!

Lexa

Shea Moisture Purification Masque and, my new love, L’oreal Cre’me cleanser. This stuff cleanses your scalp and hair. It moisturizers, detangles and leaves your hair extra soft.

SuSangFroid

I swear by Felicia Leatherwood’s detangling brush . . . Never thought I’d actually look forward to wash days.

z

You know that you can get that brush also at http://www.horseloverz.com for $1.55 a piece. It’s the same brush but at a cheaper price, not paying $7.00 or $10.00 that some people were charging others to buy from them.

To shop ~ http://www.horseloverz.com/Braiding-and-Mane/601833-Detangler-Brush.html

Mochacurls

I’m transitioning and henna (wit coconut milk) has been a lifesaver! It helps prevent matting and ssks. I also love Qhemet’s cocoa detangling ghee and Trader Joe’s nourishing spa conditioner. Some of my best purchases IMO!

Renada

The Detangler by Paul Mitchell and Kinky Curly Knot Today are my two must haves. Can’t live without them.

CharliGirl868

I live by KCNT conditioner as a detangler because I have serious tangle issues and I also use Tresemme Naturals conditioner with coconut oil and jojoba extract, unfortunately, I can’t find that particular product locally, so I have to order it from Target.com. It is the bomb.

Kayla

I always detangle my hair with oil, not conditioner. Does anyone else do the same? I think I’m going to try using conditioner to see if it would speed up the detangling process.

Caramelcurl

I prepoo with coconut oil and finger detangle during this time, then I shampoo, rinse, then condition. I detangle with a wide tooth comb with the conditioner in and it’s easy breezy.

Shahidah

I’m trying to find a way to use the rest of my KCKT because i find it to be incredibly drying to my hair. I’ve mixed it in a bottle with PLENTY of water, aloe vera juice and coconut oil and it helps but I’m thinking of getting rid of it altogether. Anyone have any suggestions or had similar issues with it being a drying agent in their hair?
Oh, and for detangling I’ve been using Taliah Waajid detangler. AWESOME STUFF

Khadija Jones

To get rid of your KCKT, try this recipe for a moisture rich leave in…
Mix KCKT, Aloe Vera Juice, Jojoba and Jamaican Black Castor Oil. AWESOME!

Shahidah

I’ll try the castor oil in the mix. Thanks I tried this after I read your post

M

Finally, someone else who is not in love with KCKT. I totally agree with you. KCKT is drying to my hair too! I’m on a mission to find a moisturizing leave-in conditioner and detangler. Currently I use Mane & Tail’s spray detangler with almond oil and it works pretty well.

Shahidah

Well M I guess we are the only two. Must be hair twins. After I get rid of this I will never buy a product from that line again! I mixed it with water, aloe Vera juice and grapeseed oil. It’s okaaaaaay but still not what my hair needs. It will do till the stuff is gone

Toni

I’m transitioning and I’m not impressed with the KCKT either. I’ve tried it straight and in the Kimmaytube mix (minus the JBCO) and both ways caused me to have dry, dull hair. I am starting to think that my hair does not appreciate the aloe vera juice. The Taliah Waajid seems to work better for me as well.

shiningsolace

I use Luv Naturals “Don’t Be So Clingy” hair detangler and Qhemet Biologics “Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee”. Both of them are very good at detangling my hair, which I do before I shampoo(while I’m pre-pooing).

Niki

The Restoratives conditioner line from Pantene is amazing for detangling. Its a blue-purple color which is fun too. I also find that shampooing with Abba Gentle Shampoo helps keep my hair from tangling unlike other shampoos.

Ayo
I use Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash in Lavender Garden to cleanse and detangle my hair all in one step. The bentonite clay in it melts away knots. Another detangler I like is a yogurt protein treatment. Get one of those small single serving cups of Chobani 2% or full fat in plain or vanilla and mix in about 1 tbsp of ACV and 1 to 2 tbsp of castor oil. This also melts away tangles. Leave it on for about 20 minutes but avoid letting the mix touch your scalp or the yogurt smell is hard to get out.
Tonisha

Suave and vo5!!!

DanielleToday

Oh yea, that’s all I use!

leslie

I use Trader Joes Spa conditoner to detangle and for co-washing. The price is right, $2.99! I also keep Shea Moisture Restorative conditoner in rotation as well.

Nic

Aussie Moist conditioner !!! Best slip of my life. All my friends & I love it

Pseudonym

I second Aussie Moist!

Sam
Both of my kids have very curly hair. With my boy, I just gave up. The moment he sees a brush, he runs away. My dautgher lets her daycare teacher play with her hair. The moment I touch her hair, she’s not a happy camper. But I do enjoy their messy curls. Their hair is such a big part of their personality. I’m sure my girl will love getting her hair later. At this point, my morning routine is a bit shorter because I don’t have to fight with their hair. We’re out the door at least 5 minutes earlier.… Read more »
Simoan

Curls unleashed (Organic root stimulator) No restrictions moisturizing conditioner, and CHI conditioners should top this list!

BriA

I use YestoCarrots for detangling and have been for 2 years….I might look up the U R Curly – pretty bottle lol

Rian

I was hoping this was a list of silicone free detanglers:(do silicones easily wash away?

SJ

If you do use silicones to detangle, I recommend using them pre-poo. Silicones wash away with shampoos containing either sulfates or Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

Detangling hair with water based products are a no-no for my fine hair. I do a pre-poo hot oil treatment using coconut oil and olive oil and finger detangle, or I just dab a small amount of shea butter mix on my fingers and go to work. Works like a charm, especially since monthly henna makes my curls clump and super easy to detangle.

B

Tresemme Naturals silicone free Moisturizing hands done the best, I use it for detangling & deep conditioner!

Dani

i prefer detangling my hair before shampoo and will use wat ever deep conditioner i have (right now its Aubrey organics hsr) how ever i recently made a detangling cocktail that instantly softened my hair, the shed hair slip out and i could literally feel the tangles melt away.
3 oz aloe vera gel/juice
1 oz vegetable glycerine
1 oz coconut oil
1 oz olive oil
Idk wat makes it work but it makes my hair feel amazing! And am sure you can use wat ever oils you like too

Jaida

I use VO5’s conditioners. They’re extremely cheap (less than $1) and they have tons of slip. I definitely wouldn’t use them to co-wash, but they’re perfect for detangling.

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