Tag Archives: detangling

Breaking One of the Detangling Commandments

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Okay, so I may be (figuratively) hung, drawn, and quartered for this one. Alright … alright … I’m being dramatic. But … I’m about to suggest something that will probably go counter to a “natural hair” great commandment that most have probably read over and over again.

DETANGLE FROM TIPS TO ROOTS ROOTS TO TIPS.

See, what had happened was … I’ve been detangling from TIPS to ROOTS for forever. Aaaaaaand, it has served me well for the most part. But, the last few wash days, I started breaking this rule. Let me premise this by saying that I primarily use my fingers and only pull out the Ouidad Double Detangler once my hair is pretty thoroughly detangled. However, my detangling sessions were becoming more tedious and lengthy due to the length of my hair. I would slather on tons of conditioner, but starting from the tips resulted in me having to work the shed strands in each section down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again.

allmylifedetangle(Please excuse the possessive “natural’s” that should be a plural.
I didn’t make this. LOL!)

I began to realize that the worst matting was occurring at the roots of my hair and that if I loosened the tangles and shed hair there first, it was taking me less time to detangle, and less time = less manipulation. The trick of it is that I don’t finger detangle DOWN the length of my hair first. I detangle by pulling the strands APART. I’ve seen this referred to as “wish-boning” since you are pulling the strands apart like you would a wishbone (but more gently, of course). This provides space in the hair to allow shed/broken strands to glide out and it also helps loosens knots rather than tightening them. So, I work the strands apart at the roots, THEN I pull loose hair out of and/or down my hair.

Now, I definitely wouldn’t suggest trying the roots to tips approach with a comb as you may end up with more hair in it than on your head.  But, if you finger detangle exclusively or prior to using a tool, than you may find that the roots to tip approach hastens the end of your detangling sessions. And, if you so desire, you can use a comb or brush from tips to roots to polish off the job.

damphair

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Do you detangle from tips to roots or roots to tips? What techniques have eased your detangling sessions? 

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(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!

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What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration v. TRESemmé Naturals

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In the left corner, weighing in at 33.8 ounces, we have the champ, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) Conditioner. And in the right corner, we have the contender, weighing in at 25 ounces, TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner.

And …

HE HH is STILL the undisputed DETANGLING champion!!!!

Yeah … Picked up the TRESemmé at Ulta a couple of weeks ago. So many ladies seem to love and swear by it, I wanted to see how it compared to my holy grail … my love … HEHH. Welp, after applying the TRESemmé, my hair felt a little slick. But, it just wasn’t as slippery as HE HH. When I applied some of the latter, different story. I was singing in my head in the shower …

“Nothing compares, nothing compares, to youuuuuuuuu !!”

HEHHvTN_3

Okay … caveat. I was told on IG that this “black label” TN is the NEW formula and it does “NOT compare” (see what I did there? 😉 lol!) to the old formula. So, if I can get my hands on the former version of the product, I might have to give it a go. The thing is … why fall in love with a discontinued formula?!?! “Touch me in the morning and just walk away!” Grrrrrr Arrrrrghhh!!

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What conditioner “gives you life” when detangling?

What a Tangled Web: Detangling Tips

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I’ve mentioned a few times that I have been experiencing some pretty beastly detangling sessions in the last month or two. I mean, whether dry or wet, I’ve been battling matted, snarled, knotted hair like a mug!! Well, these shower skirmishes have required me to pull out ALL of my detangling big guns and invent a new one!! But before I list my tips, I wanted to share a link to a great article published on CurlyNikki last June: Tips on Detangling the Worst Knots.

Now, that article espouses the use of a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles, and that’s great for many. However, I’ve found my fine strands fare much better with finger detangling. So, that is something I think you have to judge for yourself.

So, without further ado, here are a few techniques that I’ve found help me tackle terrible tangles ;).

  1. If I’m dry detangling to pre-poo, it helps to look in a mirror as I see the tangle before I even get to it. This allows me to gently start releasing it, rather than potentially breaking hair by haphazardly combing through “blind” and encountering the resistance when I hit the knot.
  2. I pull apart the hair at my roots horizontally first, rather than combing down vertically. This creates space to loosens shed hair and allows me to start untangling hairs that are twined together.
  3. When I encounter a “matted” knot,” I gently try to remove the strands from the core of the knot. If my hair is wet with conditioner, I massage the knot with my fingers to loosen it. Then, I slide the knot UP to loosen it, rather than DOWN. For me, I find that down seems to tighten most knots, where sliding it up loosens it so that I can gently remove the strands from the central knot.
  4. If I have a knot that is not super tight and/or, I’ve been able to loosen it enough so that I can tell that it’s not a hard knot, I use a pin to widen the opening so that I can slide the strands out. I do this for single strand knots that haven’t completely closed too. This is tricky in that the knot has to be a little loose. If it’s tight, I don’t bother as I believe that the safety pin will end up poking and damaging the strand, which means that it’ll eventually knot again, break or split. So, again, I reserve this for knots that have a little “space” with which to work.
  5. When the above fails to completely eliminate a knot, that’s when I break out the scissors. But, usually, this is a shed strand knotted towards the very end of a strand securely attached to my scalp.

NEW AND IMPROVED DETANGLING TRICK!!

Okay, now I mentioned that I had to invent a new technique to deal with the nasty knots of late. Last weekend, I decided to try something that I’d never tried in the past for detangling:

  • I diluted my slippery conditioner in a dye applicator bottle with water before applying it.

Joy in the morning y’all. The tangles just MELTED out of my hair. I didn’t run out of hot water before I got halfway through my head, I didn’t have one knot or badly matted section to work out. I didn’t have to do most of steps 1-4 above. I didn’t dry detangle or look in the mirror. I didn’t need a pin or scissors once!! I just gently separated the hair at my roots horizontally to loosen it and remove some shed hair, then gently finger-combed working up from my ends to my roots. And, I did this again today with the same results!! I think this works under the same principle as the Shower Stream. I don’t know why I never thought of this before! I dilute shampoo to give it more slip. I dilute conditioner to apply over my DC. So, why not dilute conditioner to detangle?!?! I won’t make that mistake again!!

Now, I’ll give this caveat. I have started wearing my stretched hair bunned all week. And, I’ve been using my modified kimmaytube leave-in, which is really keeping my hair moisturized. So, I think all of these things combined are giving my hair some much needed TLC and helping prevent bad tangles in the first place. That being said, I could still FEEL the knots slide out when I applied the diluted conditioner (Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, of course ;)). So, if your detangling sessions are turning into dreaded events and nothing is working, you might want to give this a try. You might even get your conditioner to go further!! What have you got to lose, right?

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How do you make detangling on wash day easy, peasy, lemon squeezey?

Finger Detangling

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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

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

Detangling: Never Underestimate the Power of the Shower Stream

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Tips and Tricks Number Eighteen

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of months now to highlight, share and co-sign on a trick that I read on CurlyNikki long ago, but only started employing more recently. There are several viable and effective options for detangling naturally curly hair: dry with oil, slightly damp with oil and/or conditioner, wet and saturated with conditioner, fingers, wide-tooth comb, Denman, etc. I’m not going to go into the various techniques here, but if you want to learn more, check out this detailed post on CurlyNikki: Detangling Methods for Natural Hair.

So, back to the point of this post. Over the last year and a half, I have mostly finger detangled on dry hair during my pre-poo routine. However, for the majority of my twelve years natural, I only detangled when it was completely wet and saturated with conditioner. Every now and again, I revisit the wet method and this weekend was one such occasion. I didn’t pre-poo, because I was doing a henna/indigo treatment and wanted to apply it to dry hair. So, my detangling process didn’t start until the henna/indigo conditioner rinse.

Let me tell you, putting my head under the shower stream once my hair is wet and saturated with conditioner really helps dissolve the tangles! In the past, I would wet my hair, add tons of conditioner, maybe add a little more water and go at it with the wide tooth comb. I generally only went back under the water stream when it was time to rinse. But the last few times I’ve wet detangled, I repeatedly put my head under the shower stream when I hit snags, adding more conditioner as needed. The water running down the conditioner-covered strands really seems to help melt the tangles down and out of my hair with a little assistance from my “nimble” fingers ;).

So, if you’ve never tried this and find yourself conditioned up, but needing a little help with a nasty snarl, turn to your new friend, the shower stream. You may be pleasantly surprised by how helpful “she” is!!

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Have you beheld the power of the shower stream?