by Shel­li of Hair­scapades


Okay, so I may be (fig­u­ra­tive­ly) hung, drawn, and quar­tered for this one. Alright … alright … I’m being dra­mat­ic. But … I’m about to sug­gest some­thing that will prob­a­bly go coun­ter to a “nat­u­ral hair” great com­mand­ment that most have prob­a­bly read over and over again.


See, what had hap­pened was … I’ve been detan­gling from TIPS to ROOTS for forever. Annnnnd, it has served me well for the most part. But, the last few wash days, I start­ed break­ing this rule. Let me premise this by say­ing, I pri­mar­i­ly use my fin­gers and only pull out the Ouidad Dou­ble Detan­gler once my hair is pret­ty thor­ough­ly detan­gled. How­ev­er, detan­gling ses­sions were becom­ing more tedious and lengthy due to the length of my hair. After slather­ing on tons of con­di­tion­er, I would start detan­gling from the tips which in turn result­ed in me hav­ing to work the shed strands in each sec­tion down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again.

allmylifedetangle(Please excuse the pos­ses­sive “natural’s” that should be a plu­ral.
I didn’t make this. LOL!)

I soon real­ized the worst mat­ting occurred at the roots of my hair and if I loos­ened the tan­gles and shed hair there first, it would take me less time to detan­gle. less time = less manip­u­la­tion

I imple­ment­ed my new detan­gling process by avoid­ing fin­ger detan­gling DOWN the length of my hair first. I detan­gle by pulling the strands APART. I’ve seen this referred to as “wish-bon­ing” since you are pulling the strands apart like you would a wish­bone (but more gen­tly, of course). This pro­vides space in the hair to allow shed/broken strands to glide out and it also helps loosens knots rather than tight­en­ing them. So, I work the strands apart at the roots, THEN I pull loose hair out of and/or down my hair.

Now, I def­i­nite­ly wouldn’t sug­gest try­ing the roots to tips approach with a comb as you may end up with more hair in the comb itself than on your head.  How­ev­er, if you fin­ger detan­gle exclu­sive­ly or pri­or to using a tool, than you might find that the roots to tip approach has­tens the end of your detan­gling ses­sions. Also, if you so desire, you can use a comb or brush from tips to roots to pol­ish off the job.


Do you detan­gle from tips to roots or roots to tips? What tech­niques have eased your detan­gling ses­sions? 

Shel­li is an insur­ance pro­fes­sion­al by day, nat­u­ral hair blog­ger by night, fit­ness and yoga enthu­si­ast, fan­girl, and 40 some­thing new­ly­wed! She has been nat­u­ral since 2000 and start­ed Hair­scapades at the urg­ing of curl­friends who fol­lowed her “ama­teur” Grow Out Chal­lenge blog on She wants to share the things she’s learned and con­tin­ues to learn in hopes of help­ing oth­ers love the hair they’re in!!

Fol­low her on Face­book, Insta­gram and Youtube!

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38 Comments on "I Detangled My Natural Hair From Roots to Tips and Lived to Tell the Story"

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Great arti­cle! I use the same method (minus the con­di­tion­er — I’ve been using vir­gin coconut oil) and it works great. I fig­ure if my ends are the old­est and most frag­ile part of my hair, I want to be as gen­tle as I can with them. So far, so good…I’ve been doing that for about a year and a half and reached my waist length goal last Decem­ber.


I start at the ends go up about a third of the way then go up to my roots and start comb­ing those tan­gles down towards the ends then back to the ends to combs out those tan­gles then 1 final pass from roots to tip, I do this when my hair is sat­u­rat­ed in con­di­tion­er and if i have a real­ly stub­born tan­gle then I lean under the show­er stream. With this method I can detan­gle my medi­um den­si­ty APL hair in about 15 min.

[…] I Detan­gled My Nat­u­ral Hair From Roots to Tips and Lived to … slather­ing on tons of con­di­tion­er, I would start detan­gling from the tips which in turn result­ed in me hav­ing to work the shed strands in each sec­tion down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again. …. When I am done sham­poo­ing, I tow­el dry, soak with what­ev­er leave in that I am using, let it pen­e­trate for a cou­ple of min­utes then I sep­a­rate and comb through from root to tip with a wide tooth comb that I have had… Read more »

[…] I Detan­gled My Nat­u­ral Hair From Roots to Tips and Lived to … I Detan­gled My Nat­u­ral Hair From Roots to Tips and Lived to Tell the Sto­ry – Beau­ty Tips Around The World | Beau­ty Tips Around The World. Pat says: …. I just want­ed to say that your hair is beau­ti­ful! I am still at the … […]


Great arti­cle.

By the way, it’s “hanged” not “hung”

a pic­ture gets hung a per­son gets hanged.


Thank you. I am a bit of a gram­mar nerd, so I looked up “hanged” and “hung” and this is what has to say about it:

“For both tran­si­tive and intran­si­tive sens­es 1b the past and past par­tici­ple hung, as well as hanged, is stan­dard. Hanged is most appro­pri­ate for offi­cial exe­cu­tions but hung is also used . Hung is more appro­pri­ate for less for­mal hang­ings .”

As I was using this in a very infor­mal way … I think I can get the pass on using “hung” instead of hanged. How­ev­er, the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is not­ed for the future.



Thanks for the ref­er­ence! I’m a bit of a gram­mar nerd too. I’m glad you didn’t take my com­ment in a neg­a­tive way :) 



No, I appre­ci­ate it … you know a sim­i­lar one that always gets me? Plead/pled and plead­ed … like, to a charge!! I always to say “plead,” but know I read and hear “plead­ed.” Oh well!! Those are a lit­tle more nuanced than “your” and “you’re” ;)!! LOL!! 


Kimira Jewels

I just want­ed to say that your hair is beau­ti­ful! I am still at the twa stage, so detan­gling doesn’t take very long for me yet!


Thank you!! Def­i­nite­ly enjoy the stage!! I have cut my hair short quite a few times and the quick wash day was def­i­nite­ly my favorite part of short hair!! :)


I’m just stunned. YOU ARE 40??? lol I’m 25 and I hope I look even half as good at 40!


Awwwwww, thank you so much!!! And 42 actu­al­ly :). You (and those likes of your com­ment) made my day :)!!


Danielle Webster

I have de-tan­gled both ways. I prefer to use the root to tips method. I real­ize that my hair gets real­ly knot­ted at the roots so I use my fin­gers to de-tan­gle half the time and the rest of the time I use my comb to lift the mat­ted hair away fro my roots and fur­ther down the strands then I con­tin­ue with the tip to root method.

Briana Hicks
I used to do tip to root when I was relaxed, and still do when I’m using a tool to detan­gle, so it has been a while. Now my pre­ferred (and only) method is to sep­a­rate my hair into as lit­tle as two sec­tions (and as many as 6 or 8), slather with con­di­tion­er (I’m in the show­er btw) and use my fin­gers to sort of smooth the hair, start­ing at the top of the sec­tion, with my hair sand­wich between my palms, and stroking down­ward repeat­ed­ly. As tan­gles begin to dis­si­pate, the motion sort of nat­u­ral­ly turns into fin­ger… Read more »

I have been nat­u­ral for almost 20 years, I have nev­er done tip to root and I still use a reg­u­lar tow­el. When I am done sham­poo­ing, I tow­el dry, soak with what­ev­er leave in that I am using, let it pen­e­trate for a cou­ple of min­utes then I sep­a­rate and comb through from root to tip with a wide tooth comb that I have had for just as long. Type 4a through 3b. There is no more or no less shed­ding if I do it dif­fer­ent­ly.

Michele Antoinette

Yes, this is a site about hair but that phone case with the Asian ele­phant design is beau­ti­ful. Pret­ty hair too, lol.


LOL! It’s actu­al­ly a pea­cock and I got it for, like, $6 on Ama­zon for my pea­cock themed wed­ding :).


Sor­ry about that thumbs down. Darn cell­phone want let me fix it. I will try to fix it on my com­put­er. I love Ama­zon too for phone acces­sories. Con­grat­u­la­tions on your mar­riage and your hair is gor­geous.


Awwww, thank you Cha­la!! I didn’t even see the thumbs down! You must have got the fix! I love Ama­zon for so many things!! I get so many deals!! I acci­den­tal­ly for­got to can­cel my sub­scrip­tion to Prime last year, before the free tri­al expired, so I order and get the 2 day “free” ship­ping ALL OF THE TIME!! LOL!!


I’ve only ever detan­gled from root to tip. Nev­er even knew it was taboo :0/


I am 4a/b. I use my fin­gers and comb to detan­gle. Just as she men­tioned, I start with run­ning my fin­gers down the length of my hair and sep­a­rate the strands as I go. after­wards, I fin­ger detan­gle from the root to the ends of my hair and when all knots and tan­gles are got­ten rid of, I fin­ish up with a comb. Works that way for me.


Is any­one hav­ing trou­ble with scab hair or dry brit­tle. Well to get rid of it you have to use a chelat­ing sham­poo. No lye relax­er are known to leave behind min­er­al deposits like cal­ci­um and mag­ne­sium. You can not use a reg­u­lar sham­poo use a hard water sham­poo like ion sham­poo to remove min­er­al deposits or kinky curly as good sul­frate free alter­na­tive. Min­era deposits left behind by no-lye relax­ers can cause try brit­tle dam­aged hair that can break off. It also does not have a dis­tinc­tive curl pat­tern thats har to comb


After read­ing this arti­cle, I real­ize that is what I was doing any­way when I fin­ger detan­gle. If sel­dom use a comb or brush. I basi­cal­ly run my fin­gers through my hair start­ing at the root. If I run into a knot, I stop and gen­tly pull the strands apart, then resume with my fin­ger detan­gling. This works for me as I light­ly fin­ger detan­gle when I pre­poo also and then again after I wash and con­di­tion.


That’s pret­ty much what I do too. I have shoul­der length, prob­a­bly 4 a/b hair, and it detan­gles pret­ty quick­ly.


I agree with pulling apart the tan­gles rather than forc­ing a comb or even fin­gers through them. I used to comb/detangle from tip to root, but pret­ty much from root to tip now. First, I light­ly comb out the last 2–3 inch­es of my hair–a tip from one of Geniece’s posts–, and then I fin­ger detan­gle from the roots. It works very nice­ly for my hair. I lose few­er strands that way, too.


I had relaxed hair with about 3 inch­es regrowth as I was plan­ning on going naturelll..stoopidly kept braids for 4 months and tak­ing it out was risky as it had matted,managed to unmat it pret­ty quick but what I know in my opin­ion, is that you shouldn’t detan­gle when hair is wet because the strands soft­en and because I was detan­glng my hair when wet,it snapped of right at the line of demar­ca­tion.
How­ev­er even though I didn’t antic­i­pate doing the big chop yet,I was hap­py I start the jour­ney as I mean to go on.

Christina Patrice

See Shel­li! This is why you’re one of my favorites! I aban­doned tip to root detan­gling a long time ago. I hon­est­ly start some­where in the mid­dle, go down, and then go up to the root. My hair is no worse for the wear!


LOL!!! Thanks Christi­na :)!!


I real­ized recent­ly that your method — start in the mid­dle, go down, go up — is the real way I detan­gle when I’m using my fin­gers only. Ends-to-roots is what I do when I use a tool (comb or brush).



hair type:4abc


I use this method and so far it seems to work for me. I find that using a comb and pad­dle brush to fin­ish off the ends help. It’s like the best of both meth­ods to me.


I have tried both meth­ods. not on pur­pose but one time i was detan­gling my hair and i saw that there was a pletho­ra of tan­gle at the root so i zeroed in on where i saw the tan­gle first and did that many times through­out that detan­gling ses­sion.

in the nat­u­ral world i think it’s under­stood, you got­ta do what’s best for your hair! to each her own!


I think this method would work for nat­u­rals with looser curls, but not for a type 4 like me. It would be hell and pow­der house. What works is some warm water and glyc­er­in with fin­gers first and then a large toothed comb


I would like to add that I am a 4b/c as well and have always gone from root to tip as I’ve found it eas­ier and quick­er. It’s def­i­nite­ly worth it for all hair types to give it at least a try and then decide for them­selves which way they prefer.


As a 4a/4b nat­u­ral, I have to polite­ly dis­agree. I detan­gle from root to tip with great results. The tech­nique I use is to slather on a creamy con­di­tion­er with lots of slip and smooth it in with my fin­gers in a down­ward motion. When I feel a tan­gle as I’m smooth­ing, I stop and fin­ger detan­gle and then resume smooth­ing. Once all the tan­gles have been removed, I fin­ger comb my hair. For me, this method has result­ed in less shed­ding and health­ier ends.

Thanks for shar­ing your expe­ri­ence as a 4a/4b with this method Tameka. I also remem­ber that Cipri­ana of Urban Bush Babes detan­gles from roots to tips too and I think that she is a 4b/4c. She does keep her hair stretched in loose twists, so may­be that aids in the tech­nique as well. But, just want­ed to men­tion her as some­one who detan­gles roots to tips.  That being said, every­one def­i­nite­ly has to do what works best for them. I just shared this as an option as I start­ed to real­ize it was work­ing bet­ter for me than tips to roots.  Hap­py… Read more »

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