Detangling Natural Hair Guide

5min Read

Detangling Natural Hair Guide

When you have natural tresses, there are certain things that you have to know how to do to make sure that your hair grows.  One of those things is detangling natural hair without breakage.  Whether you’ve been natural for years or you just started to transition, you have to know the basics of detangling your hair.  Don’t get caught doing it wrong and damaging your lovely locks—  keep reading!



Why should I detangle my natural hair?

Detangling natural hair is absolutely essential to hair growth. The hair is more likely to break off when it’s all matted and tangled, so it’s important to make sure that you’re detangling correctly.  Now, notice that I said breaking and not shedding. All hair sheds, and most people with healthy hair lose about a hundred strands a day when it does.  Now breakage is a different beast. Hair breaks off from product build up, excess heat, and even too much friction.   Typically, you can tell the difference by seeing if the cuticle is still attached to the strand or not.  If it’s still there, it’s probably just shedding.  If it’s not, then your hair is breaking off and you need to start taking better care of it.  You can start by detangling your hair properly!

On top of being less painful, detangling natural hair without breakage also helps a great deal with overall manageability.  Think about it: how hard is it to fully enjoy the versatility of natural hair if it’s not even detangled yet?  You tend to get frustrated quicker and least likely to try new hairstyles.  Save yourself the headache and get to detangling, particularly after washing.   

How should I go about detangling natural hair?

The answer to that question is not as clear cut as you might think.  Many women have different ideas about the most effective way to detangle natural hair without breakage. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t just one cure all method that everyone can use. There’s levels to this natural hair thing, and a good bit of which method you choose will depend on the kind of hair that you other words your hair type. For example, if your hair is on the thinner side, you can probably just use water when you’re detangling; however, if you have super tight curls that are extremely thick, then you will probably need some type of conditioner to tame those tresses.

There is one thing that almost everyone agrees on regarding detangling natural hair without breakage: you’re going to need the help of some kind of liquid to do it.   If you don’t, there is a 95% chance that you’ll get breakage.  Comb + dry, tight cools = disaster and/or damage. On top of hair density, your hair’s porosity level will also determine how you detangle it.

It’s a known fact that natural hair is easier to deal with when it’s wet; however, wet hair is also vulnerable hair. Women with high porosity hair knows how easily their tresses get damaged, therefore, they cannot try to detangle it when it’s soaking wet.  High porosity headed sisters should wait until their hair is about half dry before they do their detangling.  Be heavy handed with your leave in conditioner and depend less on the water.

Technique for Detangling Super Knotted Hair


Detangling super knotted hair can be a pain to deal with…. but not impossible. Begin by dampening the hair with a little water.  Finger part your hair in about 6-8 sections. Put a glob of coconut oil on each section before working your fingers through it.  Don’t start with a comb if you have knots because you’ll end up ripping out your hair. After finger detangling, take a wide tooth (preferably pointy edged) comb and run it from the tip, up the shaft, and towards the root. If necessary, add conditioner to help soften the hair further to continue with detangling.

How often do you detangle natural hair?

If you truly want healthy hair, you have to limit the manipulation you put on it.   Therefore, detangling should not be an everyday thing. However, not detangling leads to tangles, so we suggest detangling after every wash and when you change hairstyles.  If you discover that you’re having to detangle every day, chances are you’re manipulating your hair too much. The best thing to do is to detangle your hair every time you either change hairstyles or wash your hair.

Detangle Hair Before or After Washing

If you remember anything after reading this, please let it be to detangle after every single one of your washes. Not sometimes or just once a month.  Even if you’re feeling lazy, force yourself to detangle.  Trust us, you’ll be grateful that you did later.  Washing hair causes you to do a lot of rubbing and pulling – a recipe for tangles.  Want your hair to come out in clumps? Of course not, so detangle!

Whether you do it before or after the wash is completely up to you; however, it’s not a bad idea to do both.  Use your better judgement.  You usually don’t need anything but a finger detangle after a press, but taking hair down after a sew-in or braids requires a little extra TLC. Why? For starters, detangling can help reduce the chance of breakage tremendously.  Think about when you take your hair out of that protective style.  You know all the shedded/loose hair that comes out? Imagine if you left all that dead hair in with good hair all the time.  If you haven’t guessed already, yes, it would tangle with the good hair and cause a matted mess, knots, and of course tangles. You definitely do not want to deal with that after you spent all that time taking it down.  In this case, use a little conditioner, detangling moisturizer, or coconut oil to detangle your hair before you shampoo. Take your time and get the knots and excess hair out before that shampoo.   


Finger Detangling


While there’s a slew of ways to detangle natural hair with breakage, the safest way is finger detangling.  There’s pros and cons to finger detangling that you should really think about before you start.  By far, the biggest pro is in the small amount of breakage that you will endure when you finger detangle.  Since you can actually feel the knots as you pull through your hair, you’re least likely to just rip through them and cause that excess breakage.  So, if your top priority is in eliminating breakage, then finger detangling is definitely your BFF.  However, be prepared to spend several hours working on your head if you decide to finger detangle because it’s not something that can be done quickly. 

After you finish detangling and styling your hair, add a touch of Shedavi oil to your tresses to keep your hair looking and feeling healthy.  Detangling natural hair without breakage will take time, but just follow these tips and you’ll have long healthy hair before you know it. 


Hair Care Tips From One Black Girl to Another Next Post

Comments must be approved before they are published.


  • Lexi

    I have collarbone length 4b/c hair that 95% of the time I only finger detangle. If my hair needs extra TLC after protective styling I use a wide tooth comb in shower. I prepoo with castor/coconut oil and section my hair into 4 quadrants. I douse each section under the shower head then apply my globs of conditioner to smooth. The oil and conditioner combo helps make detangling easier. Then i slowly and patiently finger detangle feeling along the way for knots or tangles I may snip away with hair scissors. My hair seems to like weekly deep conditioning so that is how often detangle. I just got my shedavi starter kit. I would take a starter pic but my hair is in braids right now.