The Why's And How's of Detangling.

Lol! Okay of course this meme is just an exaggeration of what naturals have to do when it comes to caring for their hair but truly detangling is such an integral part of our hair care routine.

Last weekend a customer came through and wanted wash her hair, get a treatment and get some crochet braids in. No problems I said. When it was her turn, I uncovered her hair and got my trusted detangling conditioner (African Naturalistas Moisturizing and detangling conditioner - if you haven't tried this, mehn, you are missing out on some good stuff!!) and put it through her hair, then proceeded to do what I assumed would be a basic detangling session. After about 3 minutes, I had to ask her why her hair was so tangled.

Apparently she had just taken off small braids and without combing or detangling or doing anything, she had shampooed her hair!!!! My brain just started going OMG because I knew this was not going to be a basic detangling anything.

I jejeley took her back to the main salon and had someone come and assist me - 2 hours later, we were finally ready to wash her hair. So what had happened to this customer's hair you might ask?
Well, she had neglected to do something so basic and important when it comes to caring for natural hair and in the process she had some major tangles and knots on her head.

What the strand of hair really looks like when it's all knotted 

What is this sacred thing you may ask? It is called DETANGLING

When you take out braids or any protective style that you've carried for a long time, you are bound to have shed hair that is trapped somewhere in the rest of the forest that is your hair.

Failure to remove trapped shed hair will result in it knotting with the rest of your strands as they are not anchored to your scalp ( this is one of the reasons people get knots on the ends of their hair when they don't detangle properly or have split ends that happily wrap themselves around such shed hair). Remember that our hair strands are not flat but curly and so they already have a tendency to wrap around one another.

Now when natural hair is washed in this state you are asking for double trouble - natural hair contracts as water in the hair is leaving so you now have trapped shed hair knotting around the rest of your hair THEN on top of that, the hair now starts to contract literally securing those knots by causing hair to fuse into what will look like locs  - sometimes in the middle and at other times at the tips of the hair - whichever way, you will be losing some hair when you finally decide to detangle.

Detangling is very very important and does not have to take too long. It is always better to use something that will aid this process such as an oil or a conditioner - it is up to you to figure out what your hair prefers. These aids cause the strands to have less friction as they move against one another, making it easier for you to separate tangled strands.

 Detangling gently will also ensure you don't lose hair and give yourself a tender scalp. A good way to detangle is to first use your fingers and then proceed to use a comb or Denman brush while your hair is soaked in whatever detangling aid you have chosen. Always work in sections so you do not overwhelm yourself - especially for those who have gained some length.

A good way to preserve your detangling efforts during wash day is to keep your hair in those sections (preferably twisted) throughout the whole wash process (wash, condition, rinse, leave in and style) that way you don't need to keep detangling at every step.

Trust me, over time you'll have less hair in your combs and more where it's supposed to be - on your head.

Hope this helped!


  1. Yaaayyy! African Naturalistas in the building!!!! Thank you for the mention.

    Trichology Corner: Trichotillomania

    1. Yaaay! You're welcome!! It is truly a wonderful conditioner!

  2. This conditioner is a star!
    I love it so much <3

  3. That conditioner is the truth for detangling!