True Life: I Don’t Fully Detangle… and My Hair is Waist Length


Can I tell you a secret? It takes me less time to detangle my hair now than it did a year ago. Why is that surprising? Well, for starters my hair is several inches longer than it was a year ago — something that usually meant longer detangling sessions. Now before you get your hopes up thinking  I’m about to reveal a product that magically made my tangles and knots disappear be prepared for some down to earth advice. It’s not as magical as you think. Which is good news because you can change how you approach detangle your hair too.

When I realized how long my detangling sessions were taking I started to search for conditioners with greater slip, better ways to section my hair and just about anything that I could do to lessen the time it took to get through my hair. I then realized that a major reason for my long detangling time was that I was detangling sections that had already been done. Let me explain.

As many naturals know it is important to use a wide tooth comb when combing through our hair. I would use my wide tooth comb but I would also want to be sure that I removed tangles I missed so I would comb through sections multiple times and then comb through the hair with a smaller toothed comb (not fine toothed) to give it a thorough comb through. What I thought was thorough, however, turned out to be unnecessary and, most importantly, time consuming.  I felt that my hair wasn’t truly detangled unless I felt that I removed all of the tangles and knots but after months of a simpler approach to detangling my coily hair I have found that this is simply not true.

My Detangling Method
To detangle my hair I use two “must have” tools. First, I use a slippery conditioner on lightly dampened hair. At the moment I’m rather fond of Tresemme’s Curl Hydration conditioner.  My other tool is a seamless wide toothed comb. I use the Hercules Sagemann comb that only has 8 teeth, so the spacing is rather wide.  After a section of my dampened hair is coated with conditioner (I usually divide my hair into eight sections) I work the comb through each section. When I’m done, I’m done. I don’t get a smaller toothed comb to check for knots I’ve missed or inspect the hair in the mirror. After doing this for months my hair hasn’t tangled any more than usual and I haven’t suffered any breakage. The best part: I can complete detangling my hair in about 35 minutes. My hair is waist length when stretched so this is pretty awesome. Previously it would take me that time to detangle half of my hair!

Are there times when you need to do a more thorough detangling? Yes. If you are removing a long term protective style or if you are planning to straighten your hair detangling thoroughly is important.. For day to day styling with your natural hair, however, you can save yourself some time. One thing that helps me to keep detangling in perspective that no matter if I remove every knot, shed hair or split end my hair will curl up and form a new tangle before I can say “curly, coily, kinky”.  I’ve surrendered to this fact about my hair and it has helped me to enjoy it rather than stress over it. Hope this helps.

Have you been able to shorten your detangling sessions as even as your hair grows longer?

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