If you’re just joining the naturalista life, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the terminologies. Just like any field, the natural hair community has its own lingo. One of the words you may have seen is detangling. Let’s look at what it means and why it’s so important.


Detangling is the removal of tangles from the hair. Tangles form due to strands coiling onto each other, or shed & broken strands wrapping onto healthy strands.


As much as the process is dreaded by many, it can’t be ignored. Especially for those with a tight coil pattern. Tangles left in the hair make manipulating of the hair difficult. You’ll find that combing & styling becomes a nightmare.


There are so many divided opinions on how and how often detangling should be done. A few years ago most naturalistas were against the use of tools to detangle- they insisted on fingers only. Recently there seems to be an acceptance of combs for the process.

Detangling is best done on wet hair since the strands are more pliable. You’ll need a product that gives you ‘slip’ i.e reduces friction. Some people use conditioners, others oils, others both. Find something that works well for you.

To make the process easier, divide your hair into sections before starting. This prevents strands from coiling onto each other and helps you keep track of the parts you’ve worked on. The longer your hair is, the more crucial it is to section it. If your hair shrinks quickly, twist each section after you’re done to prevent tangles from forming again.

Hold your hair taut and start separating the strands gently from the ends, working towards the roots. Starting from the middle or the roots only leads to breakage- and frustration.

Use the proper tools. Your fingers are sufficient but if you prefer tools, go for a wide- toothed comb whose bristles have rounded ends. This prevents ripping out of strands. It helps if you start with fingers then follow with a comb to remove any remaining shed/ broken strands.

As for when exactly to detangle, again opinions vary. Some believe in doing it after shampoo, others after, others before and after. Experiment to find that which works best for you.


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