detangling natural hair

About a year after begin­ning my healthy hair jour­ney, I was fair­ly cer­tain that I had suc­cess­ful­ly mas­tered grow­ing my coily hair. How­ev­er, I had yet to fig­ure out how to detan­gle my fro with­out it being an all-day affair. Per­haps, that’s an exag­ger­a­tion, but it last­ed much longer than I felt nec­es­sary. So for the last 4 years, I’ve been on a quest to make detan­gling my hair easy, rel­a­tive­ly quick and pain­less.

As a basic rule of thumb, my hair is always coat­ed in con­di­tion­er and I use a wide tooth seam­less comb when detan­gling. The­se are a few slight mod­i­fi­ca­tions that can help to make your detan­gling ses­sions less stress­ful.

Under Run­ning Water

If you’ve nev­er detan­gled your hair under run­ning water in the show­er then you don’t know what you’re miss­ing. Trust me! This works best if you sec­tion your hair before wash­ing and coat in con­di­tion­er. You don’t need to detan­gle until you go in the show­er.  Take one twist down and let the water run down the hair as you comb through the sec­tion with a wide toothed comb. The pres­sure from the water helps to nat­u­ral­ly detan­gle the hair and assists in comb­ing. I don’t do this every time I wash but I do find that when I use this method  more shed hair is removed than when I detan­gle with con­di­tion­er alone. There­fore, if you find this ben­e­fi­cial you might con­sid­er doing it once a mon­th in order to remove shed hair that may have been left behind in your pre­vi­ous detan­gling ses­sions.

Dif­fer­ent Combs, Dif­fer­ent Sec­tions

My hair is mul­ti-tex­tured and as a result some parts of my hair are eas­ier to detan­gle than oth­ers. For exam­ple, the mid­dle sec­tions of my hair are looser tex­tured but the strands are rather coarse, mak­ing it the most dif­fi­cult sec­tion of my hair to comb. For that sec­tion of my hair it is nec­es­sary that I only use a wide tooth. Oth­er sec­tions of my hair have fine strands so I find that I can use a comb with nar­row­er spaces in the comb. This is use­ful dur­ing the times I may choose to light­ly straight­en my hair with a blow dry­er and I need to thor­ough­ly detan­gle my hair.

Root Stretch­ing

The part of my hair that becomes the most tan­gled over the course of a week is my roots. The hair at the root is new growth, healthy and thus the most tight­ly coiled part of my hair. I find that sim­ply stretch­ing the hair while comb­ing (be sure the hair is coat­ed with a slip­pery con­di­tion­er) can make detan­gling your roots eas­ier.


Do you use any uncon­ven­tion­al tech­niques to detan­gle your hair? What is your fastest method of detan­gling your hair?


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.

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11 Comments on "3 Unconventional Ways to Detangle Natural Hair"

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Pamela Wilson

I need help I put con­di­tion­er yel­low out on part of my hair and it’s mat­ted I’ve tried wash­ing it,blow drying,and oil noth­ing work­ing how do I get my hair right please some­body out there HELP ME

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

under run­ning water? that’s such a waste of water! I wash my hair over the sink, as I can’t stand in the show­er for too long. afraid i’ll slip.


I have always detan­gled in the show­er, as I have to wash/co-wash and mois­tur­ize my “kinkurly” hair every day. I could put the Balm of Gilead on my hair, and I would STILL have prob­lems detan­gling. God must have had a REALLY good time when He made my hair…and I wouldn’t trade my type 4WTH hair for any­thing.


Ben­tonite clay is good to wash with a cou­ple of times a mon­th. It detox­es strands, soft­ens, and reduces tan­gles. And your curls pop! Enjoy

Kay Von kent

Whoa! I real­ly want to try the last one. Thanks Geniece. Like Nes­sa, Kinky Curly is real­ly good for detan­gling my hair.


I was won­der­ing if there are any con­di­tion­ers out there to use that won’t ruin your curl pat­tern after detan­gling? Because I detan­gle my hair with­out any con­di­tion­er in my hair because when I do, it takes away my curl pat­tern. But I think when I do detan­gle with­out pro­duct, it might be why I lose so much hair when detan­gling. Any sug­ges­tions? Thanks!


Inter­est­ing arti­cle. I too have coarse, loose coils in the mid­dle of my head and that is indeed the most dif­fi­cult parts of my hair to detangle.Kinky Curly Knot Today is a big help when it comes to detan­gling my hair.


Detain­ing my hair in the show­er is the best thing I’ve done for my nat­u­ral hair. I just sec­tion my hair in 4, wash one sec­tion, comb through gen­tly (It actu­al­ly is very easy and pain­less), wash the sham­poo out, then put on some con­di­tion­er, comb through again… twist up the sec­tion and repeat through­out your head. I’VE BASICALLY ELIMINATED BREAKAGE!!!!! Like, there is lit­er­al­ly NO HAIR IN MY BRUSH. Detan­gling in the show­er is like, the best thing you can do for your hair. Try it, guys.


For sure! Detan­gling in the show­er is the best thing for my hair


You have real­ly stud­ied how your hair behaves geniece! No won­der you grew your hair to waist length. I just start­ed doing the same and see­ing results.. Thank you!



Every­thing men­tioned in this arti­cle is lit­er­al­ly used by mil­lions of wom­en and men world­wide, all the time. It’s a won­der detan­gling with a comb didn’t make this list.