For women with tightly coiled hair, a conditioner isn’t worth its weight if it doesn’t facilitate the detangling process. The measure of a product’s ability to aid in detangling is called  “slip” and many women are willing to pay top dollar for products that promise to turn their tangles into manageable coils. Now, what if I told you that there were ways that you could safely and effectively reduce tangles, while spending only a few dollars? If you don’t mind spending a few minutes in the kitchen then these natural hair detanglers may be just right for you!

Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root

If you like Kinky Curly’s  Knot Today hair leave in, slippery elm and marshmallow root are probably a big reason why. These ingredients are listed among the first 3 on the ingredient list. This sparked my interest a few years ago when  I came across these herbs at a local health food store. I figured if they were responsible for the effectiveness of a product my hair liked, it was worth it to try them in their purest form.

One thing all of the ingredients I will discuss have in common is they are commonly used for purposes other than hair care. Take slippery elm, for example. This herb can be taken in capsule form to treat anything from hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome to stomach ulcers and urinary inflammations.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com
Source: mountainroseherbs.com

A word of warning though: If you are pregnant you should avoid slippery elm because it can threaten pregnancy.

So what does it do for hair? It promotes healthy strands and helps manage tangles. It belongs to the category of herbs called mucilage plants (there’s a reason that word reminds you of mucous), it is slippery, almost slimy once it’s been extracted as a liquid. To try this herb, simply add 2-3 tablespoons to one cup of boiling water.  Once you’ve boiled the mixture for about 15 minutes on low/medium use a strainer to separate the liquid. You should be left with a substance that feels slick to the touch.

Like slippery elm, marshmallow root also has several non-hair related uses, most of which benefit the gastrointestinal system (constipation, inflammation in the stomach, etc.).

Source :coffeeandtea.com
Source :coffeeandtea.com

And it can be extracted in a similar way for use on hair. Not only does it provide amazing slip  for detangling, it can also treat psoriasis and dry scalp when applied to the root of your hair.  Because these herbs are so similar, you might consider combining them to make your own super leave in, one that may put some store bought products to shame.

Flaxseed Gel

Source: Mydiematters.com
Source: Mydiematters.com

In recent years I think flaxseed gel has received far more attention than either marshmallow root or slippery elm. In large part because it not only provides moisturizing and detangling properties, it also has a sticky consistency that makes it a great substitute for traditional gel.  Although flaxseed is a seed and not a herb, you will want to create your gel by following the same process as you would for the other herbs mentioned. If you make enough gel to last for a week be sure to refrigerate it and enjoy the styling benefits minus the dryness traditional gels can cause.

Have you tried any of these natural detanglers? If so, what did you like or not like about them?

Gen

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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3 Comments on "3 All-Natural Ingredients that Provide Incredible Slip for Detangling"

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pat

I love flaxseed gel that I make.Im going to make the marshmallow root conditioner next and maybe add a bit to the gel, diy’s are wonderful!

Yolanda

I use Marshmallow Detangler and Leave-in made by Kj Naturals on Etsy.com (one of the ingredients is marshmallow root). This leave-in conditioner has saved my hair. It moisturizes, detangles, and it is the perfect consistency (it’s not thick and not watery) for my hair type & texture. Zero complaints, worth the money…I’m just sad it took me so long to find it.

mds29

I like too. It works for my 4C hair.

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