How to Detangle Your Roots

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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?

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Geniece

Geniece

Island girl raised in the most royal of NYC's boroughs. Proud nerd, 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.

 

19 thoughts on “How to Detangle Your Roots

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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    • 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!

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  4. 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 I oil/moisture this area daily?

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    • I would recommend that you moisturize daily or every other day using a light moisturizer. You might mix a little aloe vera with a thicker moisturizer to “lighten up” the thickness of the moisturizer. I would try using aloe vera then sealing with a light oil like jojoba or olive oil. If that works you can use is everyday without having to deal with unnecessary build up.

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    • 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 :-)

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      • 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!

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  5. 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!!

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  6. 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

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  7. 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!

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  8. 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

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  9. 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.

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  10. 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.

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    • 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.

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  11. 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.

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