Finger Detangling


Tips and Tricks: Number Twenty

As many of you know, I’m a fan of finger detangling. I started employing this method of detangling almost exclusively in February 2011 when I joined the Curly Nikki presents Kim Coles’ Grow Out Challenge. Prior to that, I used a wide tooth comb in the shower with conditioner saturated hair. However, last year I started experimenting with finger detangling and just found it to be far more gentle on my fine strands. I definitely attribute part of my length retention over the last year to it.

Finger detangling allows me to “feel” tangles so that I can carefully separate the hair and ease them out. With a comb, unless I hit a major snare that would stop the comb or brush in its tracks, I realized that I had more than likely been tearing through tangles. As I finger detangle now, I wince to think of the damage I was doing in the past with a comb because I didn’t feel the knots and ties. For those with hair of hardier stock, this may not be a problem. But, at the very least, I believe that combing through significant tangles prior to finger detangling disrupts the cuticle and, on the more severe end of the spectrum, causes breakage.

I finger detangle at a variety of stages. During my weekly pre-poo session, I “dry” detangle with Vatika oil and de-shed (remove “captured” shed hair) as I demonstrated in How I Pre-Poo. Dry detangling was something I would have NEVER though that I would do!! But, because my hair is almost always stretched from TnCs, twist-outs or bunned WnG and was well detangled the prior wash session, I am able to gently detangle and de-shed my dry hair with oil. That first finger-detangling session tends to take care of most of the heavy-hitters. Then, I will finish detangling under the water stream while rinsing my deep conditioner and finally after I apply my leave-in. As my hair is pretty detangled once I get to the leave-in step, I will sometimes gently “chase” my finger detangling with a wide-tooth comb. However, I don’t do use the comb regularly. I have discovered that making certain that I do a final detangle after I apply my leave-in results in an easier detangling session the next wash day.

Anywho, here are a few tutorials that show how others finger detangle. As you’ll see, there is no one “right” way to do it. There are a variety of techniques, so you just have to figure out what works best for you!

via HeyFranHey

via MahoganyCurls

via Chery818


Do you finger detangle? If so, how and why? If not, do you think that you would try it?


11 responses »

  1. Just started finger/detanling exclusively a few weeks ago, and I love it! I’m transitioning so my relaxed ends tangle & knot up more often than my natural hair. I was finding that even after detangling with a comb, it would tangle again quickly (wasn’t worth the damage). With finger-detangling, I like that I can easily (& gently) get rid of knots as you stated above, without all of the damage. Like you, I also detangle throughout the week (not just on wash days) when I moisturize and seal so finger-detangling is more of a continuous thing for me 🙂


    • TS, I didn’t really transition too much, but I’ve heard that a lot. Do you braid or twist you hair in sections after detangling and wash/condition it in the braids/twists? If not, you may want to give that a try because it helps prevent hair from retangling. Not everyone likes it because they feel like they don’t get all of the hair. But, if you squish the product down and through the length of the twists and rinse well, I think it works pretty well. Thanks for commenting:)!!


      • Yes, it seems like washing/conditioning in twists is the best solution. I tried it before with little success. I couldn’t keep my relaxed ends twisted, and the clips/pins kept falling off lol (can’t wait to be fully natural!), but I’ll give it another shot! Thanks!


  2. Hi Shelli-

    I started finger detangling more since the challenge too but I started using my big tooth comb in the shower and I’m thinking that you pin pointed the culprit of my “slow growing” crown.

    You see, my crown is the coarsest and I notice when I’m detangling in the shower with the comb, its most tangled there and so I do feel like I get a little impatient with that area. Maybe it’s not really slow growing at all. I could be breaking it! I’m going to put the comb down for a few months to see if I notice a difference.

    Also, have you written a post of how you do your hair at night? I usually tie mine down but I need some ideas because I think it gets a little tangled.


    • Girl, you know that I have the same problem with the crown being the curliest and coarsest and most prone to breakage! So, I DEFINITELY carefully finger detangle that area. As to my hair at night, girl, I know you saw my bonnet post! Last fall? If not, here is the link:

      What I do to protect it depends on the style. But, most of the time it’s bunned up or something, so I just use a plain ol’ bonnet.


      • Yeah I remember that post. I was wondering like if you for example wore an updo with banana clip vs. scrunchie and then you took your hair down before bed, do you do the seame method? I feel like my hair tangles too easily even when I tie it down and put a bonnet.

        Then at night I get frustrated because it’s so dang hot that I sometimes rip off one of the bonnets LOL


        • LMBO!!! I usually just leave it up and put on a scarf and bonnet too. Sometimes I’ll take it down if I’m using a banana clip or the spin pins and will loosely bun it with a satin scrunchie and then put on the bonnet. But, usually I just leave it in whatever style I wore during the day until it becomes to ratty to salvage with a smoothing of gel or molding wax! LOL.


  3. I exclusively finger detangle. Since employing the CG method, I no longer use combs or brushes unless my hair is straight. I not only have fine strands, but low/med density as well. Too much manipulation with implements makes my hair shrunken and spacey. Also, since I have been using my fingers, I feel like I don’t have to do anything extra to make my curls show up. Now if I could just get it to grow, then all would be right with the world.


  4. Yes I’ve been finger detangling (dry and wet) for about 5 wash days now. Loving it! Amazing how effective it is for me, especially with my thick hair. Funny how much more my hair loves me when I work WITH it! Ha! Who knew lol


  5. Pingback: How I Retain Length – Part Two « hairscapades

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s