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, 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.