I’ve seen many good clumps of hair spiral down the drain at the hands of a frustrated naturalista whose arms are too tired to even care anymore. Knots are nobodies friends. They are some sneaky buggers that appear in even the healthiest coils. They’ve taken down luscious afros and reduced them to choppy messes, they’ve even prematurely changed styles that were meant to be long and made them short with those famous last words to the hairdresser - “just cut it off.”
There are a few ways to successfully detangle your hair, and none of them need to involve scissors or a comb.
Top tip 1: When it comes down to it, using a comb may save you time, but it will damage your hair.
Top tip 2: Always work in small sections.
Top tip 3: Practice patience
Detangling dry hair
This works well if you’re at the end of a stretched hairstyle (e.g threading or twist outs) but want to keep the length and smoothness. Work in very small sections.
Start from ends to roots.
Use your thumb to press into the section, as your other hand moves down to loosen the tangles. As weird as this may sound, it’s the same motion as milking a cow.
Pull the section apart, and make sure to catch any loose hairs that fall off. Don’t be alarmed by this, a little bit of shed hair is normal.
Put two completed small sections together and do one more sweep through.
Do a loose two-strand twist on the bigger completed section to preserve it.
Detangling a wash & go
If you don’t want to lose the curly look of your wash & go, try this method.
Grab the curls where they naturally group and separate.
Spritz the entire section with water and work it into the curls to loosen them. Your fingers need to be able to slip through to detangle with no damage
Gently separate the curls
Add some hair food to seal the section and make it easier to detangle (try the MPL Hair Food with added Lanolin for added moisture)
Detangling under running water
This method is the easiest and works when you’re washing your hair in the shower anyway.
Apply conditioner to your hair before you step into the shower
Allow the water stream to run down the length of your hair. You’ll have to do some neck-bending to get the water to hit each section
Loosen the section in the direction of the water stream - root to tip.
Once that section is detangled, twist it to preserve it and move on to the next.
Special mention: The single-strand knot
These are those small knots that sit between what looks like one or two strands of hair.
Don’t pull the hairs in opposite directions
Grab the knot at the bottom end, while holding the top part of the hair with your other hand and pull the knot straight down
Pull it apart at its most tangled point, working your way down to the tip of the strand