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?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, 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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50 Comments on "Do Paddle Brushes Work Better than Wide Tooth Combs for Detangling?"

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I am SO hap­py I found this post! I tried a wide tooth comb for the first year of being nat­u­ral and I hat­ed it. I just start­ed using my den­man brush for detan­gling dai­ly and it’s won­der­ful! My hair is actu­al­ly shiny, takes fif­teen to twen­ty min­utes to braid my hair every night, and there is less tug­ging. I’m 3B/C and brush­ing is per­fect for me.

I tried a pad­dle brush for the heck of it and now, I swear, it will be my sole detan­gling tool with wet hair. SOLE. ONE AND ONLY. Before I was exclu­sive­ly fin­ger detan­gling, but I don’t think I was being thor­ough enough because I got knots eas­i­ly dur­ing the week and a lot of hair broke off with dry styling. So…I want­ed to change. I used to use a wide tooth comb, but I nev­er thought it detan­gled ALL of my hair. So I tried the pad­dle brush. When I first used it, I had a minor freak out because a… Read more »

I start­ed using pad­dle brush­es back in high school. They’re won­der­ful. My only sug­ges­tion would be to pur­chase the ven­ti­lat­ed ones. The ones that have that back­ing on it will get water and stuff trapped in it. And make the sure bristles have that coat­ing on the ends of it!


I like both but the Den­man style brush­es give me less frizzy ends if I detan­gle when wet. I can detan­gle much larg­er sec­tions with the wide tooth comb but it’s not as thor­ough. Much bet­ter clump­ing too. No lit­tle balls on the ends of the brush though…that would be tan­ta­mount to hair mur­der!