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by Kara, pic­tured above

I haven’t combed my hair in almost two years and my hair is the longest it has ever been. If some­one had told me two years ago I’d do this, I would gasped and ful­ly expect­ed my hair to be loced by now. But two years has gone by with­out a comb pass­ing through my hair and my loose nat­u­ral hair is thriv­ing.

A cou­ple of years ago I was inspired by YouTu­ber Sum­myr1988 who was fol­low­ing the Curly Girl Method. For those of you that are not famil­iar, in short the Curly Girl Method was cre­at­ed by a hair styl­ist called Lor­raine Massey who believes that using styling tools, sul­phate sham­poos and sil­i­cone con­di­tion­ers are not ben­e­fi­cial for the curly girl and her del­i­cate tress­es. I was mes­merised by the health and curl def­i­n­i­tion that Sum­myr1988 had achieved with her hair, so of course I had to try this method for myself. I didn’t actu­al­ly know it at the time but I was already fol­low­ing steps to the method. I had already elim­i­nat­ed sul­phate sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers with sil­i­cones from my nor­mal reg­i­men as I found those ingre­di­ents did not work for me.
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So how does a nat­u­ral hair sis­ter with 4a/b type hair not comb her hair in two years and not have a mat­ted birds nest liv­ing on her head? The­se are the rules I fol­low;

Detan­gling My detan­gling process has been a huge con­trib­u­tor in length reten­tion, I trad­ed my wide tooth comb for lots of gen­tle fin­ger detan­gling action! Using my fin­gers has decreased unnec­es­sary break­age, as I always used to notice short bro­ken hairs on the back of my shirt or in the bath. If you have fine hair like me, it may be use­ful to try this. Using this method I have found that I am able to retain the length of my hair. Using styling tools can apply a lot of undue force and fric­tion to the hair caus­ing the strands to become weak and frag­ile.

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Detan­gling Con­di­tion­er I have found the per­fect detan­gling con­di­tion­er for me is thick, creamy and smooth when applied to my hair. Gio­van­ni Smooth As Silk is like a dream as it is just the right con­sis­ten­cy and sinks right into my strands, offer­ing enough slip so my fin­gers can glide through nice and easy. Find­ing the right detan­gling con­di­tion­er is a must if you want to begin fin­ger detan­gling. Look for con­di­tion­ers that suit your hair and aren’t too expen­sive to buy.…you are just going to end up wash­ing it out any­way!

Stretched Styling To decrease the like­li­hood of tan­gling I like to keep my hair in stretched styles the major­i­ty of the time. After fin­ger detan­gling my hair in sec­tions I put it into loose twists so as not to allow the hair to become tan­gled. My hair will stay like this until I am ready to mois­turise after wash­ing. I then some­times wear my hair in medi­um sized plaits or twists and leave it in for the week, styling the plaits and twists as the days pass.
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The only dis­ad­van­tage with not using a comb is not be able to achieve that super smooth sleek fin­ish, but to be hon­est I was nev­er that kind of girl.…I quite like the messy dis­tressed look. I am still learn­ing how to style my hair with­out a comb after many years of using one and I am slow­ly get­ting there.

Will I go back to using a comb? I am not sure, I have had urges too espe­cial­ly as I want to flat iron my hair soon. I do love the curl def­i­n­i­tion that I am achiev­ing by just using my fin­gers as the curls clump togeth­er bet­ter. I think for now the comb and I are on a break until fur­ther notice.

Kara is a Lon­don-based health pro­fes­sion­al who teach­es indi­vid­u­als with phys­i­cal and men­tal health dis­abil­i­ties how to live inde­pen­dent­ly. She is also an active nat­u­ral hair vlog­ger. You can find her on YouTube at Nat­u­ral­Curli­esTV and Insta­gram @NaturalCurlies

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100 Comments on "True Life: I’m a Type 4 Natural and I Haven’t Combed My Hair in 2 Years"

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YellowSisi

I nor­mal­ly sec­tion my hair off, pre­poo with olive oil for about 30 min­utes then gen­tly fin­ger detan­gle. How­ev­er, after con­di­tion­ing my hair I would gen­tly detan­gle again with a wide tooth comb for the last time before styling. My hair is detan­gled once a mon­th and that is on my wash day. My type 4 hair is grow­ing health­ily and retain­ing as much length as my cur­rent regime allows. I am quite hap­py with my pro­gress. Thanks for the arti­cle.

Tee
I haven’t combed my hair in two years either! *Whew* You’re not the only one, lol. My hair has retained so much length just from fin­ger combing/detangling. Yes, some­times it does stink when you want your hair to feel super smooth for cer­tain styles and the only tools that can real­ly give you that result is a comb or may­be a brush–but over­all, I don’t regret doing away with them. Using my fin­gers as styling tools has also taught me a very, very impor­tant lesson through­out my nat­u­ral hair jour­ney: being PATIENT! Because fin­ger detan­gling requires a lot of it.  Thank… Read more »
Queenie

That’s awe­some and your hair is beau­ti­ful! This is not for me though, I refuse to pre­tend I live in the Mid­dle Ages when in fact I live in the tech­nol­o­gy age. Combs were designed to make our lives eas­ier, and that’s what I’m here for. Con­ve­nience.

Cygnet

If you’re ID’ing your­self as a child of tech­nol­o­gy by the use of a comb, then you’re far old­er than the Mid­dle Ages, tech­no­log­i­cal­ly speak­ing :-).

Per­haps the­se will help explain what I mean:

http://www.theoriginof.com/combs.html

http://www.originsoftheafrocomb.co.uk/combs/index.html

https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=isbn:0313331456&gws_rd=ssl Click on the book title, then click the right­ward arrow in the upper right until you get to p. 86. Drop down to the last para­graph on that page and read from there.

Queenie

Com­put­ers once took up the size of a room, that fact does not negate that we are fur­ther along in tech­nol­o­gy. Yes, fin­gers were once our first combs, but we have come fur­ther in tech­nol­o­gy and have cre­at­ed more con­ve­nience for our­selves. My point stands the same and real­ly I could care less about who agrees with me. I don’t have days to detan­gle hair. It’s quite sim­ple. As I said Kara has beau­ti­ful hair, but this method is not for me.

Kimika

Detan­gling with tools or the use of your hand requires you to lit­er­al­ly lis­ten to your hair. If you hear what I call the “Snap, Crack­le, and Pop” then some­thing in your detan­gling method is not work­ing. This is such a great arti­cle and real­ly rais­es aware­ness.

Dry hair can fur­ther cause harm to your hair when detan­gling! Go to Curlyhairschool.com for our FREE online course that helps you to get mois­tur­ized hair 

Or click this link http://curlyhairschool.com/freegoodies/

Kimika

Detan­gling with tools or the use of your hand requires you to lit­er­al­ly lis­ten to your hair. If you hear what I call the “Snap, Crack­le, and Pop” then some­thing in your detan­gling method is not work­ing. This is such a great arti­cle and real­ly rais­es aware­ness.

Dry hair can fur­ther cause harm to your hair when detan­gling! Go to Curlhairschoo.com for our FREE online course that helps you to get mois­tur­ized hair 

Or click this link http://curlyhairschool.com/freegoodies/

Kara Dunn

Thank you Kimika, I will check out your site

trackback

[…] Voici l’article (en anglais) sur le site Blackgirllonghair.com qui explique sa rou­tine Lire l’article ici […]

Hansy

I was doing the fin­ger detan­gling thing but I found that I pulled my hair much more than when I used a comb. May­be I was doing it wrong?? After read­ing this I think I will give it anoth­er try.

JazzWife

No comb here either … three years and count­ing.

Jacky
Great arti­cle, thanks Kara and BGLH for post­ing! My nat­u­ral 4a/4b hair hates comb­ing so i some­times fin­ger detan­gle to pro­tect my hair from unnec­es­sary break­age and prob­lems. For me, fin­ger detan­gling is more gen­tle, quick­er, less stress­ful, more enjoy­able and with bet­ter curl def­i­n­i­tion and less break­age than comb­ing. I had occa­sion­al­ly ques­tioned if my nat­u­ral hair need­ed to be combed at all due to the prob­lems i expe­ri­enced with comb­ing but nev­er let go of it due to fear that my hair would tan­gle and matt up but due to this arti­cle, I’m encour­aged to stop comb­ing my… Read more »
Yvette M

I comb detan­gle once a week at the moment. I guess the longer I tran­si­tion the less fre­quent­ly I will use my wide tooth comb. But I am retain­ing length with my once a week method right now so I’m hap­py

RAQUEL

I wished that this method would work for me but unfor­tu­nate­ly it doesn‘t :(
I just use a wide tooth comb on wash day and after my deep con­di­tion­ing a den­man brush before I twist my hair.

luminous

I most­ly fin­ger detan­gle. I only use a comb for styling. First I deep con­di­tion or pre­poo my hair. Then I rin­se the con­di­tion­er or pre­poo out and fin­ger detan­gle my hair in sec­tions under run­ning water either in the show­er or in the kitchen sink. Doing it after the deep con­di­tion and under run­ning water is key for me. Fin­ger detan­gling this way takes about 30–45 min­utes, much less time than using a comb with con­di­tion­er in my hair. I also find that I have less tan­gles, knots and split ends. My hair is also retain­ing more length.

kb

Thank you! I don’t real­ly have to comb my type 4 hair either. Usu­al­ly just use my fin­gers :) I do brush tho, when I pull it back, does that count? Lol

Cee Cee

I had about 6 months in 2012 where I only fin­ger combed and over­all it went well. I wish i could do it again but since hav­ing a baby there is no time for del­i­cate time con­sum­ing fin­ger detan­gling. I am lucky if i have 15 min­utes to do my whole wash rou­tine :(

Jessica Jacob
I think I have been wait­ing for some­one to say this for me to go for­ward with it. I have 4a, 3c, 3b and I think 4b hair at the crown. My hair is dense with fine strands so small I can bare­ly see them. I just bought ACV to try it on my hair. I am 1.6 years nat­u­ral and enjoy my hair so much more now that I: stop using curl defin­ing prod­ucts and achieve curl with Shea but­ter; don’t wash every week but may­be once a mon­th, don’t comb every­day and don’t waste my mon­ey doing what… Read more »
Cygnet
My hair is most­ly small (about straw-sized, may­be) spi­rals and S-waves, with the occa­sion­al sharpie-sized S-wave and almost straight strand scat­tered through the front. I start­ed a wet style reg­i­men based on the Curly Girl method on 9/7/2013 (That day was mem­o­rable for oth­er, unre­lat­ed rea­sons, which is why I remem­ber :-/). Had I known how much hair I’d lose in those first 2–3 weeks, I might not have done it. But I gave myself 3 months, come hell or high water, to mas­ter the method. For me, learn­ing to prop­er­ly fin­ger detan­gle was cru­cial. I sur­vived those 3 months,… Read more »
Jumoké

Omg me too! I HATED the Curly Girl Method at first and almost quit with­in the first two weeks. Now I’ve been CG for a few months now but actu­al­ly start­ed doing the method by the book for the last few weeks an my hair couldn’t be hap­pier :)

making waves

Love your hair! I like the messy look also.

Tabatha

I’m almost to the no comb­ing stage, but every so often I need a comb or brush. I’m 4a and my hair when not stretched a bit is ear length. If I blow dry it then the back sec­tion is a lit­tle past my col­lar bone.

Grace

I think I will try this for a year and see how it goes once I take my braids out.

Puff
I haven’t combed my hair in 7 years, hah! And the rea­son for me was that I could nev­er get a comb to go through my hair no mat­ter how small I made the sec­tions or how much conditioner/detangler I used. My hair is just too coarse and thick for it.  I recent­ly just learned the ben­e­fits of stretched styling for my hair and that def­i­nite­ly has helped me retain length and avoid break­age. But for those days that I want to wear a fro and embrace my shrink­age, I make sure to use glyc­er­ine and flax seed gel. Keeps things… Read more »
Kita
By acci­dent I have only used combs late­ly for when I deep con­di­tion (every 2 months). I spray my hair, apply the deep con­di­tion, then apply coconut oil. After that I gen­tly rake my rat tail comb through small sec­tions (I comb from root to tip as to elim­i­nate cre­at­ing more tan­gles by going from tip to root). With the rat tail comb it smooths the hair, dis­trib­utes the prod­ucts, and it cap­tures any fairy knots (this last time I only had 3). With this process I actu­al­ly lose LESS hair than when I fin­ger detan­gle dur­ing reg­u­lar co wash/… Read more »
Kezzy

I’m glad this worked for you. You have such beau­ti­ful hair. But with all due respect I think length can sim­ply be retained with good man­age­ment (which you obvi­ous­ly have). Combs or no combs, good man­age­ment is key to length reten­tion IMO.

Mary

Now I would be impressed if you told me you had 4c hair and nev­er used a comb. My hair ranges from four A through C. The 4c a sec­tions of the longest smoothest, less like­ly to tan­gle, forms ringlets as soon as water or con­di­tion­er touch­es it and can eas­i­ly be combed with my fin­gers. Using a comb nev­er affect­ed it’s length as it nev­er tan­gled. The 4c is an entire­ly dif­fer­ent sto­ry.

Demi

I’d have to dis­agree also. I have thick, dense, 4c hair and only use a comb when get­ting my hair corn­rowed. I sim­ply “fin­ger detan­gle” to remove any sin­gle strand knots. 

I think “detan­gling” is over rat­ed actu­al­ly. As long as your hair is stretched (to pre­vent tan­gling when shrunk­en) and free of any knots, what’s its real­ly mat­ter if you can’t run a comb through it? Being able to run a comb through your hair doesn’t equate to your hair not hav­ing the abil­i­ty to knot up.

NaturallyNeesh

I have 4c hair and rarely use a comb as in pret­ty much nev­er. My sis­ter thought I was crazy but my hair is already longer than I ever could get it when I had a relax­er. I’m still at the ear­ly stages of being nat­u­ral (col­lar­bone length) but I love it. Less hair lost. I usu­al­ly detan­gle when it’s wet or damp. If I have to detan­gle dry for what­ev­er rea­son I just take my time with it. It can be done for sure.

Kaila P

There’s a girl on youtube, booty­furl who does this as well

T

Agreed! I haven’t used a comb on my own in ages. But I won­der if any­one has advice for what to say when vis­it­ing a styl­ist? Styl­ists LOVE to rake combs through my hair. I see a styl­ist every 4–8 weeks for a deep treat­ment and pro­fes­sion­al blowdry. How can I polite­ly ask for a no comb method when at the salon?

Anon87

I haven’t combed my hair since I start­ed wear­ing it nat­u­ral (about 18 months ago). 

I did try, but found that I would fin­ish one part (the ends), then by the time i’d moved up and fin­ished detan­gling the sec­tion, the ends were tan­gled again! Thus, I was comb­ing the same sec­tions over and over. So now I don’t both­er! As it doesn’t actu­al­ly “detan­gle” my hair.

lala

my hair is very sim­i­lar to yours and i hope soon when im old­er and i can just fin­ger detan­gle and occa­sion­al­ly use the comb since my hair rarely gets tan­gled. the prob­lem im hav­ing is that my mom still has full con­trol over my hair; she trims it quite often (every 3–4 weeks) harsh­ly combs it and some­times does­nt like cer­tain prod­ucts i sug­gest like plain water because it means my hair isnt as “soft and man­age­able”. i find that this is the same prob­lems with a lot of black moms who are still stuck in their ways.

Rapunzel
Not comb­ing was the best thing that ever hap­pened to my 4b hair. At first, I thought the idea was crazy. My hair is the thick­est and my curls are tight, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. If I want­ed the length, I would have to sac­ri­fice the combs. My usu­al bra strap length hair is now touch­ing my butt and has increased in vol­ume which means more work for me but its worth it because thats what I like. Is fin­ger detan­gling fun? No. I Absolute­ly hate it. Is it time con­sum­ing? Hell,… Read more »
Naijastar

Agreed on every­thing you’ve said. Our length and tex­ture sounds quite sim­i­lar and my fin­ger detan­gling ses­sions can also take up to a week. Glad to know that I’m not alone on that– Lol.

Vee

I can’t agree more!!!!

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