How to: detangle your natural hair

Thursday, 13 November 2014


You can only wash and go a couple of times before your hair starts to tangle and some areas become matted. Unknotting tangled hair requires patience, as tearing can cause breakage and damage. To wash and style your hair properly, detangling is essential and there are a few different ways of taking out knots and tangles (and removing shedded hair) depending on your hair type.

Method 1: Dry
If you have really kinky and curly hair that shrinks a lot when it’s wet, this is the best method for you. Hair is fragile when it’s wet and stronger when it’s dry. Rather use your fingers to detangle as this is less aggressive than a comb or brush and is the best method to retain your curl pattern. The only con is that it takes the longest time of all the methods.

Method 2: Conditioned
If your hair is less kinky and curly, apply hair conditioner on dry or damp hair and wait for it to soak and soften the strands for a few minutes. Hair is easier to detangle when it’s wet. Work through the knots with a comb to loosen matted hair.

Method 3: Water and oil
You can try this method regardless of your hair type. Spritz your hair with a mix of water and oil to give your fingers some slip. Use a comb and start detangling from the root up to the ends in small movements. Don’t pull the comb all the way through.

Do you have any of your own tips for detangling hair?

Other articles you may be interested in:
Have we found the answer to caring for curly hair?
Is it time to go natural?
What your hair type needs
Beat breakage forever
Reasons to grow that ‘fro

Written by

Zanele Kumalo was a beauty editor for 8 years for some of the top glossies in South Africa before venturing into broader content including pop culture, social issues, lifestyle and travel. Fuelled by fashion, technology, music, art and design, she’ll never leave the house without lashings of mascara, a good playlist and a spritz of her favourite scent.

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  1. Joan Hillman

    For me, conditioner and my paddle brush get the job done. Either in the shower or armed with a spray bottle filled with a mix of conditioner, water and some oil. If time is on my side I go the finger detangling route. Good bye tangles x

    5 years ago •

  1. Chantelle Thompson

    The best method would be while I am in the shower after I have shampooed and have the conditioner on my hair, otherwise it is one huge nightmare.

    5 years ago •

  1. Safiya Rawat

    I use the dry method before I wash my hair as I have curly hair.

    5 years ago •

  1. Sandra Phoma

    My best method to de-tangle my hair is during shampooing – using fingers to de-tangle works better for my brittle hair.

    5 years ago •

  1. Busisiwe Ndzube

    Thanks for the great article.

    5 years ago •

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