9 Tips to Help You Detangle Your Afro-Textured Type 4 Hair
Ugh… we know. It’s time to detangle again. As much as we love our natural tresses, detangling is a tough but necessary part of afro-textured haircare, and we are here to help you along your journey. To learn the best steps in detangling your hair, it is best to first understand what causes hair tangling.
Wavy, curly and afro-textured hair textures can be more prone to tangling, due to the higher number of strands crossing and rubbing against each-other. Tangles can also occur when your hair's outer layer (cuticle) is damaged and punctured.These open cuticles tangle and obstruct each other. When two single strands of hair entangle, they form a hair knot. It gets tough to untangle a few strands when this happens.
Check out these nine easy steps to detangle your beautiful type #4 hair.
HANDLE YOUR HAIR GENTLY
Even with the best detangler for natural hair, your strands will suffer when you handle your hair roughly. Detangling your hair haphazardly and aggressively will not only fail but also cause hair loss and damage. Remember that you have not gone this far with your gorgeous afro to ruin it. Treat your hair like the precious baby that it is.
Your hair could be thinning due to a harsh detangling regimen. Love and care for your hair, and it will grow. To achieve optimum results, you must start treating your hair like the delicate baby that it is!
- PARTITION YOUR HAIR INTO SECTIONS
Everyone knows that combing your afro in one big bundle is difficult, uncomfortable, and results in poor detangling. You will only end up with broken hair in your comb and a burning scalp. Partitioning your hair makes detangling easier.
Simply run your finger through your hair to divide it into manageable parts. Depending on your hair's bulk, aim for four to eight portions. If your afro is lengthy, twist each part, or use hair clips for shorter hair.
Untwist or unclip your hairpiece by section and gently comb it with a wide-toothed comb. Re-twist or re-clip each part when fully detangled and continue until all portions are straightened. You can then style as desired or leave twisted until styling time.
- DETANGLE FROM TIP TO ROOT
Understanding how to decrease shedding on natural hair is critical to mastering the detangling process. Buying the greatest conditioners, brushes, and combs won't help if you don't know how to use them.
Afro-textured hair can easily tangle after a short period of time when not maintained, and it takes some practice to figure out the best time and way to detangle for your own hair needs. You should always start combing inch by inch from the tips. This is crucial for detangling, especially after a protective style has been worn for a few weeks or months. The root is a very sensitive place in the scalp and must be handled with extreme care.
Combing your hair from root to tip puts strain on your hair and scalp. The issue is that the knots and tangles migrate from the root to the tip, making it harder to get through and causing damage to your hair. This strain will break your strands and drag them out of the follicle.
Take a portion of hair in your palm and comb through the knots at the tip before proceeding to the root. This facilitates root-to-tip gliding and reduces breaking. If your hair seems dry, apply an extra conditioner and detangler to hydrate and detangle.
- REGULARLY WET AND CONDITION YOUR HAIR
To untangle your hair, you should never comb it dry. Long-unwashed, dry hair is prone to tangling, kinking, and breaking. Moist hair is simpler to comb since it is more flexible and softer.
Long chains of amino acids bound by chemical bonds, make up your hair strands. Water can weaken hydrogen bonds, making hair weaker and more flexible, however water will also hydrate your hair. To adequately hydrate your hair, spritz your hair with water, then apply a water-based conditioner or hair cream. Oils do not hydrate your hair, but depending on the oil, they can help detangle and seal in moisture.
A good conditioner lubricates the strands, making them slide through one another more easily. Apply conditioner to each part, saturating it, then working your way up from the ends. Since the ends of your hair are the oldest and weakest, constantly pay attention to them during conditioning and make sure each strand has enough moisture. This can also function as a pre-poo process which helps protect the strands from being stripped during your shampoo, and makes the cleansing of your hair more effective due to your strands being untangled.
Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Moisturizing and Detangling Shampoo is one of the best products in the market to wash and detangle your type #4 hair. You also can never go wrong with the sweet smelling and slippery accompanying Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Conditioner to complete the detangling process and finish off your wash-day with tangle-free hair.
Also, always comb softly since damp hair is more fragile. If your hair is really knotted, finger-comb it first while it is drenched with a conditioner or detangling product. Products like our Kinky Curly knot Today Leave-in Conditioner and Detangler help to create a detangling process that is much more seamless and much less painful, especially for the little ones.
Try to deep condition your hair by soaking and conditioning it monthly or biweekly. A consistent routine of introducing water and moisture into your hair can help to avoid tangling.
- USE YOUR FINGERS AND A WIDE-TOOTHED COMB
Detangling is easy with the correct equipment. You can use a comb, brush or even your fingers to detangle your hair. Finger detangling helps remove shredded hair and can make combing hair less painful, as running your fingers through to release tight knots and locks allows you to pause or adjust when you feel snags.
Another option is the Denman Brush which has rubber bristles that slightly bend and separate the strands to reduce breakage. A wide-toothed comb prevents breakage and tangles by gliding between your strands more effortlessly than narrow-toothed combs due to the larger sections it creates.
Using a smaller comb needs greater pressure, which will produce additional knots and breakage in your hair. A smaller comb can also cause root baldness due to hair breakage.
- BRAID DETANGLED HAIR WHEN NOT IN STYLE.
When not managed, Afro-textured hair strands increase friction with time and therefore can begin tangling. Keep your hair in braided or separated parts when not styled to avoid this. At home, divide your hair into four or more sections using a wide-toothed comb. After detangling, twist your hair neatly.
If you can't yet twist your strands, you can begin in a few simple steps! Pick a section of hair and divide it in half. Gently twist one portion over the other with your fingertips until no stray hair remains. Retwist the completed end around your index finger to secure it. Continue around all of the sections of your head until the all strands are tucked into a twist and protected. Use a twisting butter or moisturizer like the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter to lock in the moisture and the twist.
- SLEEP WITH HAIR PROTECTION
Sleeping with your hair protected is vital. Keep your hair corn-rowed, twisted or up in a pineapple to avoid tangling overnight. Your afro-textured hair can grow tangled and be tougher to untangle the next morning if it is left out overnight. Using a satin headwrap or satin bonnet can prevent this. Satin scarves reduce tangling and preserve hair ends as they repel water, allowing the water from your products to stay within your hair, keeping it moisturized.
Using a satin pillowcase instead of a cotton one also helps. Similarly, if you condition or moisturize your hair before bed, a satin scarf will assist to keep the moisture in. Covering your hair after detangling reduces tangling as you turn and toss in your sleep.
- USE DETANGLING PRODUCTS WITH ENOUGH SLIP
Water alone sometimes does not provide enough slip to detangle as seamlessly as we would like. Detangling treatments contain acidifiers and emollients to maintain hair strength and flexibility while decreasing breakage and damage. Cationic surfactants in detanglers reduce static hair. In addition, they make the hair strand more malleable without making it weak.
The Oyin Handmade Oh My Glide! Prestyling Detangler is a good detangling product with the perfect amount of slip needed to ensure perfectly detangled hair.
The secret ingredient to products that do the best job of detangling knotted strands of type #4 hair is slip. The Aunt Jackie’s Knot On My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy has a ton of slip which helps to separate your strands gently and makes detangling a breeze.
Products with greater slip makes the the detangling process much simpler. Handling hair with adequate slip keeps strands wet and vibrant. Afro hair has greater friction between strands due to the way that the strands co-exist around one another, making it difficult to handle when dry. Moisturizing your hair is important for detangling.
- DETANGLE YOUR NATURAL HAIR CONSISTENTLY AND ROUTINELY
Detangle your hair regularly for a smoother detangling experience. If your hair is not protected, detangling it regularly will keep it from interlocking and damage. Although detangling sessions require effort, maintaining a regular routine reduces frustration and hair loss associated with coiled and kinky hair. Aim for once-a-week detangling, and work carefully following the above steps.
For more product suggestions specifically catered to your needs, fill out our product suggestion form and one of our curly hair representatives will reach out to you with a list of tips and products! To know more about caring for your beautiful afro-textured hair, stay tuned for our other blog posts, and join our email list to receive great tips and tricks to help you love, embrace and maintain your natural hair.