Geraldine of Geraldine the Great
Let me state for the record that I have been exclusively finger detangling for years (possibly 4–5 years) and I am a huge proponent of its benefits. Besides experiencing a great decrease in breakage, finger detangling contributed to the elimination of pain when detangling and helped me to identify a detangling method that I could do on dry hair (which is important if you have super shrinkage). It is the gentlest detangling method and whether you choose to use it as just the first step or whether it is your main detangling method, it will always be worth it.
All that said, there are many women who simply cannot deal with finger detangling for a barrage of reasons, here are some of them:
1. It takes ages!
Yes, if you intend to finger detangle your hair properly then you need a comfortable chair, music or movies (plural!) and buckets full of patience. Finger detangling can take anywhere from 3 hours to a full day (with breaks) to be completed properly. Naturally, the more tangled your hair is, the longer it will take. If your hair is loosely curled or if you are just coming out of a protective style, you may reduce the time but in general, it will take ages!
2. If not done thoroughly, your hair could matt
Some naturals are not successful with finger detangling because they end up finding small matted sections or they find that when they are ready to bring out a wide tooth comb as a follow-up step, there is no real difference between the finger detangled hair and the tangled hair. Both of these scenarios tend to happen when your skill at finger detangling level is at a beginning stage or if you are impatient. Like all good things, you need to practice finger detangling until you master it. At that level you will automatically know how many sections you need to put your hair in, which product you will use on your hair for slip and estimate how well you have detangled each section or whether you need to go back over it.
3. It COULD damage your hair more than combing
If you are finger combing properly, you will be separating your curls/coils like a wishbone. Every single strand will have to defend itself from damage due to tension during detangling. This is as opposed to conditioner combing for example where strands can organise themselves into ringlets or coils where several strands of hair form a protective pack. If you are trying to work fast, are inexperienced with the right level of moisture or if you tug on the individual separated strands just a little too hard, you really CAN snap your hair and often full length or close to full length strands.
If you are willing to overcome these potential pitfalls and embrace finger detangling, then this video is probably the best tutorial out there on how to properly finger detangle.
Do you finger detangle? Why or why not? What’s your detangling regimen?