Do Paddle Brushes Work Better than Wide Tooth Combs for Detangling?

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By Akilah of

In the natural hair community, one important procedure is necessary for every single hair type: detangling. We tend to overlook the issue, or settle on the idea that using a wide-toothed comb on wet hair should do the trick. I, too, believed that there was no more to be said on the issue, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Enter: My paddle brush (I use a standard Goody brand one found at any Target or Drug Store). The thought of using this intimidating brush on dry natural hair is nightmarish, but I recently tried it out on my hair while I was deep conditioning and it was even better than the wide-toothed comb. Let me repeat: IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN THE WIDE-TOOTHED COMB!

The paddle brush adds a smoothing element that a comb simply cannot. While detangling from tip to root, it holds the conditioner within the brush which (A) retains the conditioner of choice onto hair follicles—which better coats them, and (B) reduces the amount of hair lost during the detangling process. Not only did the conditioner feel more effective, but detangling took a lot less time.

Detangling is one of the key processes to growing your hair long without having to do quite as much maintenance. Have you tried a paddle brush for detangling? How did it work?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm blogging at my new mommy site,


45 thoughts on “Do Paddle Brushes Work Better than Wide Tooth Combs for Detangling?

  1. I’ve never used one myself but when watching YouTube I’v noticed that 160days2lose2 uses a paddle brush and she has long, thick and healthy hair so they must work. I prefer to DC and use my fingers and a wide tooth comb myself. I spent far too much money when I was a product junkie so I won’t be trying this out.

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  2. I have broken a paddle brush in my hair lol, the rubber peice came out so I bought one with a cover over the rubber base so I cant pull it from the base of the brush (if that makes sense) I have extremely thick hair and I love my Paddle brush! I have 4a-4b hair and as long as my hair is wet it loves the paddle brush…btw Ive broken way more combs…in half lol :-)

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  3. Paddle brush would tear my hair out!
    It is fingers or a comb for me, but finger detangling is the best in regards to taking the least amount of hair out.

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  4. I just realized those denman brushes everyone is raving about are those same old school brushes my mom used to use on our hair decades ago. I was thinking it was something new…no wonder it works.
    I love paddle brushes for detangling. I think the extra hair or hair being pulled out that some people are referring is just testament to the fact that paddle brushed catch all the shed hair and removes it easily.
    You might see less hair with a WT comb or with finger detangling because those methods just aren’t getting all the she hair out, which to me means you will only end up detangling more often and getting more ssk’s.

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    • I used to use a paddle brush on my hair all the time when I used to relax it. My hair grew down a little past my shoulders. I tried finger combing and using a wide tooth comb without seams on it and nothing seems to be working. I guess I’ll try a paddle brush again.

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  5. Love my paddle brush!! Everything in the article is true. I did this today. I detangle with fingers and shea butter or other product as a pre-poo, then I wash with conditioner and detangle with wide tooth+fingers. Shampoo with Giovanni tea tree. Then final conditioner, section into 4 in the shower and further detangle with paddle brush. Then rinse. The brush helps a little conditioner go a long way and it leaves my hair super smooth and completely detangled.

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  6. I used a paddle brush when my hair was shorter and seemed to be doing ok , but I noticed that in the top where my hair is the driest and less elasticity the hair looked broken off. It felt easier as I was using it than a though. I think it would be great for the mid-way down my hair shaft and the other parts of my hair besides my crown area. Maybe I could detangle and use a WT-Comb in the area and the paddle on the rest?? Any ideas??

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  7. Since I started my hair journey six months ago I have retained 6″ from a fade. All I have ever used was a paddle brush. It has the little cushions on the bristles so it’s not irritating my scalp like a wide tooth comb always did. I always keep more conditioner in my hair and more evenly this way too. Can you imagine doing an avocado hair mask and using a wide toothed comb to evenly distribute?! You might as well use a spoon LOL they scoop everything just as well. I’m not sure what my hair type I am super new to BGLH Community but, I am starting my regimen on the first, I bet I gain 2 inches a month!

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  8. I was about to wash my hair (I put a leave-in conditioner in my hair and slept with a plastic cap last night) but then I thought “what would be the best way to detangle it?” (I’m new to the Natural Hair Journey, I’m still learning as I’m going/growing lol) Went to Google and BAM, I found my answer! I know everyone is different, and person A is going to be more fond of certain methods than person B, but I will definitely give this a try today and see how it comes out! (Pun not intended lol) THANKS so MUCH!

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  9. I gave away my paddle brushes bc they were torture! They r fine AFTER I detangle but it basically ripped at my hair if I tried 2 use it for detangling…no matter how slippery my hair was. My hair mattes too much for any brush! The wide tooth comb is my best friend& then I use a rattail comb after its detangled or the denman bc it catches all the lose hairs that can’t be caught with a wide tooth comb or my fingers.

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    • At first we just swaddled him and he would fall aelsep pretty easily. Now it’s a routine that the wife came up with: bath, dinner, swaddle, sing, rock then crib. He does pretty good with that most of the time. When he was first born, we were changing his diapers in the middle of the night but the wife read something about how it’s not necessary (he only has wet diapers at night). Now she does a drive-by style feeding in the middle of the night and he usually goes back down pretty easily. Diaper changes were just riling him up and making it harder for him to go back to sleep.

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  10. I’ve been natural my whole life, and had always used a wide tooth comb. About 4 years ago I started using a paddle brush instead, and let me tell you…sooo much easier to detangle! And this is coming from someone with extremely tangly and dense 4a/4b hair.
    For whatever reason I stopped using the brush for a couple years but I recently went back to it. I don’t know why I ever stopped! Paddle brushes do seem to distribute conditioner and product more efficiently than just your fingers and definitely more than just a comb. Plus they clump your curls into these big juicy clumps that I’ve never experienced with any other method.

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  11. I started with a wide tooth comb and that went nicely. Then I was introduced to the denman and it was heaven on earth for my detangling procedure. When at the shop I saw someone using a paddle brush on 4a/c hair and bought one for kicks. Heaven in heaven!! Detangling takes no time! Even my mother, who relaxed my hair as a child because of the detangling war, wished she had tried this!

    Even if you are using something else I would recommend trying it, they are cheap enough.

    Blessed detangling!

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  12. Yeah, I agree. I’ve used many different types of combs and my hair hates the tugging. I get more tugging with a comb than a paddle brush. I use a detangling paddle brush. Yes, “Detangling” paddle brush that’s made for detangling. It works very well. I also use a nylon bristle brush to stimulate blood flow to my scalp. So, do what works for you. If a wide tooth comb is your worst nightmare try a paddle brush. :)

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  13. i love my paddle brush, i just recently got one and my 4b/c hair loves it. even when my hair drys after washing, i can easily part my hair and style with a rattle comb. my hair is so smooth and it traps more shed hair than wide tooth combs or fingers.

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  14. i’m getting into using them for my wng’s. in my crown where my hair has a mind of its own and it’s total frizz city cuz none of the strands wanna stick together and bond lol i’ve been running the paddle brush over those areas. and it’s been working great! it defines my curls and gives me ringlets as if i used a curling wand on them. it’s crazy insane how well it works. and of course, it detangles my hair but i use a comb first before going over it with the paddle.

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  15. Im not sure what is effective ive tried finger detangling then my hairstylist says i need to use a comb also to get ALL the shed hair out.. so i do both but it takes soooo much time!!! Im wondering now if i should try the paddle brush?? I also tried the denman and it made midshaft splits in my hair..smh Im really hoping the paddle brush doesnt make midshaft splits in my hair as well..i shall see!!!

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  16. I know this is an ancient post, but I just had to share.
    I was also sceptical of the paddle brush, but I was desperate for something the detangle my hair thoroughly and quickly. I finally bought one and tried it.
    It was incredible! Detangling took less time, and I could feel that my hair was actually detangled. My hair hasn’t been this detangled for a long time! It was actually an enjoyable process. Needless to say, the paddle brush is my hair’s new best friend. I wish a tried it sooner!

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