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 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.
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?