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The worlds of relaxed and nat­u­ral hair care have their own glos­sary of terms. When I decid­ed to wear my hair nat­u­ral­ly terms like “wash n’ goes”, “twist outs” and “sin­gle strand knots” grew to hold mean­ing for me. When I was relaxed much of my hair plans and, dare I even say life, revolved around my “touch ups” and “new growth”. If I had an event approach­ing I would try to delay a touch up until the days pri­or to the event so that my hair would appear sleek and shiny. Cal­en­dar watch­ing as it relates to my hair care, is one thing I’m very hap­py to leave behind now that my hair is nat­u­ral. There is one aspect of my relaxed hair days, how­ev­er, that I’ve been revis­it­ing late­ly. I’ve been think­ing about my “new growth” as a nat­u­ral. When I was relaxed the dis­tinc­tion between my new growth and relaxed hair was obvi­ous. There was straight hair and about an inch of tight­ly coiled hair at my roots, which indi­cat­ed that a trip to the salon was in order. Now that I’m nat­u­ral the dis­tinc­tion isn’t vis­i­ble but it is there and it impacts the way I detan­gle my hair.

On my wash day I pre-poo for about 30 min­utes then begin the process of detan­gling. Usu­al­ly my hair requires gen­tle detan­gling from the ends of my hair to the root. In gen­er­al the process is uncom­pli­cat­ed, even if a bit time con­sum­ing. What I do find frus­trat­ing is the process of detan­gling my roots. This part of my hair is the newest and health­i­est, which for me means it is the most coily and dif­fi­cult to detan­gle. To man­age my nat­u­ral hair new growth I make sure to thor­ough­ly detan­gle the length of the hair. Then I sat­u­rate the roots with water using a spray bot­tle and add con­di­tion­er and oil as need­ed. Because I know that my roots are more dif­fi­cult to detan­gle I tend to add oil direct­ly to my roots while apply­ing my pre-poo treat­ment. As with the rest of my hair I only use a wide tooth come to detan­gle my roots. If your hair is very mat­ted you might con­sid­er gen­tly fin­ger detan­gling before using a comb.

It is also impor­tant to attend to this sec­tion of hair when styling your hair dur­ing the week. We tend to focus on the length of our hair for the pur­pos­es of styling there­by neglect­ing our roots. As a result this sec­tion of our hair can become very mat­ted, mak­ing our wash day or detan­gling process chal­leng­ing. To mit­i­gate the pos­si­bil­i­ty of exces­sive tan­gling I rec­om­mend braid­ing or twist­ing your hair tight­ly (not the point of dis­com­fort) when reset­ting your twist or braid out. This ensures that your hair at the root remains stretched. Also I’d rec­om­mend adding a mois­tur­iz­er or a light oil to the roots of your hair dur­ing the week. This may seem obvi­ous but for me atten­tion to hair health and length reten­tion meant that I tend­ed to focus on my ends and ignore my roots. Sim­ply by keep­ing your roots mois­tur­ized you can min­i­mize dry­ness and the effort you will have to put into detan­gling. When using a mois­tur­iz­er be sure to use a light mois­tur­iz­er for your roots so as to avoid exces­sive build up.

Hope the­se tips help. How do you man­age your nat­u­ral hair new growth?


Island girl raised in the most roy­al of NYC’s bor­oughs. Proud nerd, social sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor and recov­er­ing awk­ward black girl. When not lis­ten­ing to NPR, try­ing to grow spir­i­tu­al­ly, or detan­gling my fro, I’m search­ing for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

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21 Comments on "How to Detangle Your Roots"

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Low manip­u­la­tion is log­ic, but it’s also log­i­cal to ATLEAST try to brush your hair dai­ly. Peo­ple think low manip­u­la­tion means nev­er touch their hair, or for that case nev­er run a brush or their fin­gers through it. YOU HAVE to remove that shed hair, and while you may think you’re doing good by hav­ing low manip­u­la­tion to your hair, you’re actu­al­ly doing it worst.


I have a hard time detan­gling in gen­er­al. Espe­cial­ly when it becomes time to wash my hair. I have the hard­est time after I wash mt hair it bocomes extreme­ly soft, fluffy and a night­mare.

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Grab it as a gift or for your­self!


Nutress Hair has a great light weight mois­tur­iz­er called the Stop Break Leave-in-Con­di­tion­er. It comes in a spray bot­tle and it is a wet pro­duct. Check it out!! REALLY helps with detan­gling.

Bvlgari Watches

Just READING this arti­cle could save a life as well. Even if we don’t watch Grey’s!


I had to look up some­thing because as I was detan­gling the back of my hair when I got to the roots it was ter­ri­ble. So I tried spray­ing my condish/oil/water on roots. This helped tremen­dous­ly. I also found out that as it sat while I detan­gled the length of my hair, the roots were eas­ier to get through.


sdmom22I have a post that will tell you all about hair types and make it very easy to tell what your son’s type is. Click on this . Cheers! PS. Silken Child is work­ing, OK. Not in love, but betetr than most. I’m going to order some Mixed Chicks today and try Beyond the Zone as well. Still, even with price, I love Mixed Chicks. I just wish it were not only more afford­able, but read­i­ly avail­able.


OMG! I just applied coconut oil to my roots and was like a mag­ic elixir. As soon as the oil touched my roots, it’s like they mag­i­cal­ly “laid down.” I then start­ing detan­gling; it was a breeze! I’m gen­er­al­ly so afraid of build up on my scalp, I tend to neglect it and my roots. This bit of info will def­i­nite­ly assist me in styling my hair. Thank you SO MUCH for the insight.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Lord, you haven’t said noth­ing but a word! The roots can be a beast! My hair is fine and the only sec­tion that’s tight­ly curly at the root is the crown so it takes me almost 2 hours to fin­ger detan­gle. Between the roots and the SSKs at the ends as my hair gets longer, it is def­i­nite­ly frus­trat­ing. I usu­al­ly sat­u­rate my roots with grape­seed oil and focus on using my pre-poo mix on the length of the hair. I’m going to add a lit­tle more condish at my roots to see if it helps.

Great arti­cle. Thanks for shar­ing


My sis­ter and I were talk­ing about this recent­ly because I was won­der­ing how to rec­tan­gle my own new growth. Thanks so much for this arti­cle and please keep them com­ing!


Won­der­ful arti­cle!

I care for the roots of my kinky coily, Afro-tex­tured hair by:
-focus­ing on my roots when fin­ger detan­gling with coconut oil before sham­poo­ing
-sham­poo­ing with dilut­ed sham­poo via a col­or appli­ca­tor bot­tle
-mak­ing sure to mois­tur­ize my roots
-keep­ing my roots stretched by twist­ing them tight­ly when I twist for twist-outs

Chatty with the Natty
Chatty with the Natty

this is right on time!! the last time i straight­ened my hair was Christ­mas. I began to see “new growth” this mon­th in March, at least two inch­es. It’s crazy because I decid­ed to be heat free and now I have a dif­fer­ence in tex­ture. My ends are a lit­tle soft­er and straighter than my roots. But its all good. I LOVE the way my new growth feels (krin­kles and humps)! Thanks for the info!!

I’ve won­dered why many nat­u­rals say the way to retain hair length is low manip­u­la­tion. But does that mean not to comb your hair,or detan­gle your hair from the roots daily?I guess I am used to comb­ing my hair out dai­ly before doing any type of style. Although I am a bit neg­li­gent with mois­tur­iz­ing my roots. I have been tran­si­tion­ing for 17 months now,and have been cut­ting the relaxed ends off a lit­tle at a time. The only prob­lem I have is I have a patch of hair in my crown that can be quite unruly and dry. Do… Read more »
Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

i find that putting some oil at the roots helps calm that “unruly” area. At least every two days. Seems the crows on allof us wan­na act the don­key lol

i wouldn’t detan­gle dai­ly though. that’s a lot of manip­u­la­tion. may­be 2x a week — once mid week and once on wash day. I find that the extra added mid week detan­gling ses­sion helps make wash day a tad eas­ier :-)


You go girl! nat­u­ral curls are befi­tu­aul it just takes time, patience, edu­ca­tion and exper­i­ment­ing cause what works for you might not work for me or i should say my daugh­ter i luv her hair its so fun!


Cas­tor oil hot oil treat­ment is my pre poo. It helps me detan­gle so eas­i­ly and keeps my hair so soft. My fin­gers and comb glide thru my 4Z hair after that.


Why thank you! Hon­ey is a great for adding and reri­it­nang mois­ture. I love using it because my hair is soo dry. It’s a nat­u­ral source of per­ox­ide though so it will grad­u­al­ly light­en your hair the more you use it. I’ve been using it for almost a year now and parts of my hair look a bit Auburn and the rest is def­i­nite­ly a much lighter brown. If you don’t want to light­en your hair you can heat it up first. But it’s an excel­lent pro­duct to add to con­di­tion­ers!


This is a con­cept that makes com­plete sense, but I haven’t given much thought to or done it so often. Def­i­nite­ly will be pay­ing more atten­tion to this area.


The hair tex­ture is the same root to tip, but I hate that sec­tions of my roots get so tan­gled up. I find that if I put grape­seed or olive oil — or- con­di­tion­er in my hair and CALMLY and gen­tly fin­ger detan­gle pri­or to a sham­poo it works well for me.