Hello lovely naturals and those aspiring to make the switch! So we’re at part three of the 7 Ways to Stronger, Longer, Healthier Hair series and I couldn’t be happier: I finally get to address the effects that bad detangling practices have on length retention (obtaining longer hair). I also feel it’s only right that we discuss how to wash your hair because let’s face it…bad washing practices can turn the detangling process into a nightmare.
***Featured Image Provided by Frekyla Perkins***
So I’m going to let you all in on the first secret to how I prevent breakage during the washing/detangling process…I detangle my hair BEFORE I wash it. Wait wait…before you click the exit button let me explain why I am doing things in a way that may seem ass backwards when compared to what is considered normal. You see most of us wait days or even a week or two in-between wash days. According to Women’s Health Mag, our hair sheds between 60 to 100 strands each day…so if you wait a week then we are talking possibly 700 lose dead strands sitting in your hair and waiting to cause major problems! On top of that when water hits naturally kinky hair that isn’t deeply saturated with conditioner and that’s pack pull of shed hair, it tends to have a matting effect…especially if you are applying your favorite clarifying shampoo that offers no slip. So now you can see why it is important that you remove a good amount of shed hair before beginning to wash…unless you’ve been toying with the idea of dreads lol.
So I begin my wash day by splitting my hair into 6 to 8 sections to provide some order, then I drench each section of my hair in conditioner and oil. I use my fingers to gently remove as many dead hairs as possible, then I follow up with a wide tooth comb. While using the comb I implement the tension method…this is simply pulling down on the hair and keeping it stretched as I detangle to prevent it from drawing back up and re-tangling. Once that section is thoroughly detangled, I add shampoo to my scalp while still using tension. I rub the shampoo down the length of the hair and then rinse. Then I twist it up and secure that section with a bobby pin. I repeat the same process on the remaining sections…finger detangle, followed by a wide tooth comb and the tension method, then shampoo still using the tension method, rinse, then twist it up and pin it out of the way. Whoa that seems complex doesn’t it? Don’t work if it seems a little confusing, just check out the video below of natural hair guru Naptural85 to get a visual of how it’s done!
So now that you know exactly how I wash and detangle my hair let me leave you with some tips that will help further prevent breakage and guarantee you see the less hair in the comb and more hair on your head!
- First, never ever let a comb touch your hair in its completely dry state (the exception to this rule is when you are flat ironing which you shouldn’t do often). If it wash day, completely saturate your hair with a conditioner and oil like mentioned above. The conditioner/oil has properties that offer slip…which is what is needed to help your strands glide past each other with the least amount of friction during detangling…i.e. it prevents breakage. If you need to detangle in order to refresh your style or create a new style and do not plan to wash your hair, slightly dampened with a leave in or moisturizing product and then proceed to detangle with your fingers or a wide tooth comb.
- If you are very rough when using a wide-tooth comb and notice an excessive amount of shedding, you might want to consider only finger detangling. I did this the whole first year of my natural hair journey and I hardly had any shedding. Finger detangling is gentler than a comb because using your fingers will help you feel knots and get them out as well as prevent some. With a comb you are more likely to just rip through them.
- Always start your detangling from your ends and work your way up, never start from the top of your head because that will only cause knots and ultimately damage.
- Unless you have a loser curl pattern, do not detangle the same section over and over expecting the comb to glide straight through. Our hair is not straight and some of our strands will no doubt tangle back up…and that’s perfectly ok. Detangle the section no more than two time and then move on.
- Don’t pile your hair on top of your head like the women in those Herbal Essence commercials. They don’t have our hair texture and doing that will have you detangling forever…if not ripping your hair out in frustration when you can’t figure out how to get the comb through it.
- Patience is key! Do not rush through the detangling process…you will damage your hair. Wait until you have time to actually take your time before you wash and detangle.
**Featured Image provided by Frekyla Perkins**