The detangling debate continues in the realm of curly hair and the bottom line is: it really comes down to personal preference. The main concern no matter which method you choose is minimizing damage and hair loss. Always pay attention to your brush or comb and see which method results in less hair in the brush.
We want to avoid unnecessary damage and breakage, so here are some tips to consider when choosing between wet or dry detangling.
Keep in mind there is a difference between hair shedding (which needs to and WILL happen in order for more growth to come in) over breaking hair and over actual hair loss (the clinical term for this is alopecia).
Wet Detangling Tips
1. Do not towel dry your hair before detangling- this applies no matter what your hair type; coily, curly, wavy or straight hair. Friction from vigorously rubbing your hair with a towel can cause damage and more tangles. Instead, gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair once you’ve finished showering.
2. Separate your hair into smaller sections- Do this gently. It might mean the sections are slightly disproportionate because you don’t want to force the tangled hair by pulling or ripping it. Sectioning makes the detangling task more manageable and keep a spray bottle of water close by in case your sections start to dry before you get to them.
3. Use a detangler or conditioner-Those who have fine or thin hair (or both) benefit greatly from the use of a detangler. Spray it all over your hair and wait for the ingredients to do their magic. We like Curl Keeper Slip. If you have thicker, coarse dry hair, will benefit from detangling in the shower with hair conditioner that has a lot of slip. Apply conditioner from mid-length to your ends and use a wide-tooth comb.
4. Start from the ends- This tip also applies no matter your hair type. Always start detangling from the ends of your hair, working your way to the roots. This will prevent a significant amount of breakage to your hair. If you come across a larger, nasty knot- you can gently work it out with your fingers.
Dry Detangling Tips
Working through larger knots when curls are dry is safer because when hair is wet, hair swells and the cuticle becomes more fragile, much easier to break. Hair is more likely to have their bonds intact when it’s dry, but it can take time and patience to ensure you detangle gently and safely. Most of the wet detangling tips above apply to dry detangling as well, section your hair, start from the ends and work your way up but here are a few extra tips:
1. Larger knots require product and finger detangling- Do not try to pass a brush through larger knots without some form of detangling jelly or cream. It’s crucial to apply product directly to the knot and gently work the knot out with your fingers. Take your time!
2. Use a brush with flexible bristles- Even though the hair bonds are stronger when dry, you don’t want to be using a brush that’s too rigid that might rip or break your hair. Test a few out and see which one your hair responds too the best. We love the Flexy! ❤️
3. Finger detangling is best for coily hair- If you are trying dry detangling for the first time or if you have coarse, thick hair or tight, coily hair, finger detangling is the most gentle technique. You can even add some leave in conditioner to your fingers to help work it through.
4. Stretch your hair- a day or two before you dry detangle, put your hair up in a ballerina bun to pre-stretch your hair.