Best Practices for Detangling 4C Hair – Which Ones are You Getting Wrong?

If you have curly hair, you know that it’s easy to find yourself stuck with that dreaded situation: tangled, matted hair.

Do you also have flashbacks from childhood when a well-intentioned caregiver would run a comb and rip through your thick, dry, tightly packed curls? If you’re familiar with this, you’d also be able to recognize the sound of hair breaking off in the process, yikes!

Thank God we’ve gotten better at detangling curly, and especially tightly packed, 4C natural hair. When done right, we can really reduce breakage, tender scalp, etc.

First, let’s talk about the tools:

Detangling 4C Hair – Your Detangling Tools

The tools used in the detangling process make a difference in the amount of hair you’ll lose. Here are three tools that you can use to help with the detangling process.

  1. Your fingers

Finger detangling – when done right – prevents you from ripping through your hair. You can find the knots in your hair much easier and can untangle them one at a time. Your fingertips are great at quickly identifying problem areas. If an area “feels” rough, something is wrong, work on it, and add product to help get that area back to feeling smooth.

  1. Seamless combs

Combs with seams can snag our hair and tear. A seamless comb is designed to eliminate this issue. Anything you can do to avoid snags is a plus. Before you use a comb, look at it carefully to see if your curls could get caught anywhere. Sometimes it’s a rough edge. Avoid those, as your curls are actually very fragile.

  1. Detangling brushes

Not all detangling brushes are made the same. Detangling brushes with varying teeth heights actually work well. They come at the tangles at different levels, helping to pull them apart quicker. A detangling brush – like the one in our detangling starter kit – will get the job done.

Detangling 4C Hair - The Detangling Process

Now that we have our preferred tools to get started, let’s have a quick look at the recommended processes for detangling curly natural hair.

  1. No to dry detangling

How you detangle your natural hair matters. And one thing we’ve found is to never detangle on dry hair. Please don’t do it.

  1. Use a moisturizing product

Whenever possible, use a detangling product. Water is good, but to make things easier, you need something with slip. The only time water would be sufficient is if you already have product in your hair that has “dried up”. Any other time, please choose a product designed for detangling, a conditioner with good slip, or an oil.

  1. Section your hair

It’s much easier to manage your hair when you have it in small sections. Depending on the length and density of your hair, you can part your hair into four, six, or eight sections. It’s up to you. You’ll then work through each section detangling as you go. You can twist each section to keep it separate from the others, or you could use clips to comfortably work one section at a time.

  1. Start from the ends

Finally, start detangling from the ends to the roots. If you work starting from your roots, it will be more difficult to remove the knots, you might actually create more tangles, and cause more breakage. It’s usually best to avoid tugging. If you find yourself using force, try to grab a smaller section or add a bit more detangling product or water.

With these few basics, we’re ready to detangle our natural hair the right way, check out our detangling starter kit for 4C natural hair. It has all the tools and products you need to start detangling your hair the easy way.

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