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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.… 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

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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… 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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