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Finger Detangling 101

Hi there,
     I am a finger detangler, how about you? Finger detangling is using your fingers rather than a comb or brush to remove tangles from your hair. In other words, it is combing your hair with your fingers only. Why would anyone choose to  use their fingers to work through a whole head of natural hair when there are different kinds of combs and brushes that will do a more thorough job in one tenth of the time? Well,combs and brushes can damage your hair. Combing hair too frequently can cause the hair ends to wear out and break off. They can also forcefully uproot strands of hair from your scalp. They cause split ends too due to the constant wearing out of the protein layers in the hair shaft by the motions of combing through. For those who still comb their hair, there are a few things that that help to alleviate some of the problems that combing causes, you can find them Here. I decided to ditch combs and stick to finger detangling most of the time because I wanted healthier fuller hair. Now my ends are not as thin and raggedy as they would have been if I was still combing and brushing. I don't have to trim often either. There is a lot less breakage too. To be completely honest finger detangling takes a lot of time. The longer and fuller your hair is the more time it takes, but it is worth it in the end. There are 3 methods of finger detangling:

1. Detangling on dry hair
2. Detangling  with a conditioner, an oil , or water
3. Detangling under the shower

Detangling on dry hair
If your  natural hair is already stretched by a particular hairstyle(twist out, African threading, cornrows etc.) and you want to go straight to another hairstyle without wetting your hair  or you just want to detangle your stretched hairstyle, you may need to dry detangle. Since hair is most fragile when it is dry this one is really tricky and it must be done with utmost care. To do this you need to section your hair into several parts using either a clip or ouchless band. The smaller the sections the better. Starting with the first section gently pull the hair apart from midshaft to ends using your fingers to remove the shed hair in between the strands.You can also start from your ends if the tangles are concentrated there. Gently separate the strands from each other making sure to catch any shed hair. When you are done twist or braid that section and move on to the next.

Detangling with a conditioner or oil
This is my favourite method of finger detangling. As usual you should work in sections. The sections do not have to be really small. I usually do six or more sections and then I put in just a little bit of moisturising conditioner on each one.  I rub it through and gently pry the strands apart and remove the shed hairs. Its best to use a conditioner with good slip as this makes it really easy. Also note that you do not have to put in a lot of conditioner because that can cause more tangling. I use this method when I want to wash my hair ( ACV rinse,Shampoo or Cowash) and when I want to do a style that doesn't need super stretched hair ( Afro puff or wash and go). It is a lot gentler than dry detangling. You can also use just water from a spray bottle, an oil or a butter (Shea butter  has fairly good slip). Just apply sparingly and work the tangles out.

Detangling under the shower
 I just discovered this method recently (when I defined my curls). I wanted to get the gel out without shampooing so I sectioned my hair into 4 parts and went under the shower. Working with one section at a time I allowed the water flow down on my hair while I ran my fingers through the hair to work out the tangles. When doing this method you need to bend your head and put it at an angle where the running water can flow through the hair in downward torrents. Its best to hold the section of hair taut while still detangling to avoid forming tangles. After detangling a section braid or twist it up and move on to the next section.This is the quickest way to detangle but I do not think I will do this often because the second methods suits my needs more.

Useful tips
1.If you encounter a tangle while running your fingers through a section do not try to pull it apart as this may tighten the knot . Pull it gently from under and slide the knot off. It really really works (Thanks Naptural85!)
2. Be really patient if not you may break your hair. If you do not have enough time leave it until a more convenient time
3. When using a product you still have to be careful. Rub the product through gently before you start detangling.
4. When using water in the second method use a spray bottle to dampen the hair. Try not to drench the hair as this may create more tangles.
5. Its always best to begin at the ends when detangling.

     I spend my detangling time watching Youtube videos or the latest chick flicks and before you know it I'm done. I just love the process of running my hands through my strands and the inevitable scalp massage that follows. Its very therapeutic. Try any of these methods out and see how your hair likes it.

Thanks for stopping by ;-)



  1. Hello fellow finger detangler - using my fingers is better than using a comb

  2. Never knew using combs could cause damage to the hair.I've tried using only hands before and gave up after a few minutes and ran for my comb,I suppose I'll try to get used to using only my hands now.

    1. Awww, finger detangling does take time and a measure of skill but the efforts are well worth it. Try again and see how well you do.


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