How to Detangle 4C Natural Hair

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How To Detangle 4C Natural Hair

Detangle Matted Hair

One of the WORST nightmares for a 4C natural is trying to detangle your hair after a long period of utter hair care neglect. In a perfect world, life would never present challenges that take us away from focusing on our beautiful strands…but it just doesn’t work out that way. Although life happens, our hair can be a bit merciless in  understanding the reason for our neglect. As much as we’d love for it to behave without any manipulation during our busier days, it tends to do the exact opposite.

I recently experienced this first hand.  I was ill for a long period of time and the mere thought of spending almost 2 hours to properly care for my hair had absolutely no appeal. I’d put my hair in two strand twists, slapped a satin bonnet on my head and justHow To Detangle 4C Natural Hair let it be. When I finally got around to taking the twists down my hair was tangled like it had never been before! Almost every strand of hair was knotted and I was mortified. Visions of having to cut my hair off and start my journey all over again had me nearly in tears…it was that bad.

After having a 30 minute semi-meltdown, I started trying to come up with a solution to eradicate this problem and after some time, came up with one that worked extremely well for me. Before I share this detangling method, there are 2 controversial subjects that are necessary for me to give my opinion on.

Detangle on Wet Hair

Absolutely not. Contrary to what many people believe, you should not detangle natural hair after washing it. When the hair is wet, the water breaks down the hydrogen bonds in the hair (they reform again when they are dry), stretching the hair to almost double its length, making it very weak. When you jump in the shower, drench your hair in water, then try to run a denman brush or wide tooth comb through it, you will be more likely to experience breakage because your hair is weaker and more susceptible to snapping when wet. Given that we are ladies with kinky hair, we have to be extra careful because our hair is already more fragile than most. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel like my hair tangles even more while I’m massaging my scalp with shampoo – therefore leaving me with an even greater mess than I originally started with.

Finger Detangling Natural Hair

Absolutely. People always question whether finger detangling is a necessary method for proper detangling…in my opinion, it definitely is. Yes, it takes more effort and takes longer than using a comb or brush however, it will leave you with the least amount of breakage. Remember, your hair has already been neglected so the last thing you want to do is cause even more damage to your hair.

When it comes to detangling 4C natural hair, there are no combs or brushes allowed. The tighter the curl pattern, the harder it is to rake a comb or brush through it. 4C natural hair is the most coily of all hair types so imagine trying to run a stiff comb or brush through a bunch of spirals…it’s bound to cause breakage. The benefit of using your fingers is that you can be gentler with the knotted hair. Your fingers will feel the direct tension of your hair’s resistance when reaching a knot, allowing you to know when to stop pulling and to tease the hair a loose. This ultimately will allow your hair to grow much faster because you’re not pulling out as much hair as a comb or brush would.

Keeping those two principles in mind, you can now learn how to efficiently detangle your hair.

How To Detangle 4C Natural Hair

Supplies Needed

  • Hair Ties
  • Coconut Oil – coconut oil is one of the best oils for conditioning and is great for hair growth
  • Favorite Conditioner – make sure it is creamy and has a good amount of slip (slip meaning the conditioner’s consistency allows your fingers to slide through the hair easily)
  • Aloe Vera Juice – Aloe Vera juice helps close the cuticle after washing, retaining moisture and promotes hair growth
  • Carrier Oil – to seal in moisture

The Technique 

  • If hair is twisted, gently unravel twists, starting from ends to root
  • Drench hair in coconut oil and then your favorite conditioner, making sure to thoroughly coat the endsHow To Detangle 4C Natural Hair

Note: For best results and if time permits, throw a conditioning cap on and allow the oil and conditioner to loosen the hair for thirty minutes

  • Part hair into 4 sections and use the hair ties to bun 3 of the sections
  • With the remaining section, coat your hand with conditioner and gently run your fingers through the hair from the bottom up. Stop when you start feeling your hair resisting and gently run your fingers through your hair in search of knots. When you find them, individually remove strands from the knotted hair until you are left with only the knotted strand of hair. Gently, tease the strand near the knot and the knot/dead hair should easily work its way out. Continue this process until all knots are removed and you are able to smoothly run your fingers through your strands. Repeat for all 4 sections of the hair.How To Detangle 4C Natural Hair
  • After cleansing, conditioning and rinsing the hair, spray your hair with Aloe Vera juice, then gently coat the hair with a carrier oil of your choice.

You should notice that your hair is a lot more manageable and should be able to remain detangled throughout the rest of your hair care regime. If by chance, you’ve experienced a little tangling after your wash routine, I’d advise you to take a little coconut oil and gently finger detangle the stubborn strands. However, do not do this too much because as stated previously, your hair is more susceptible to breakage once it’s been stretched with water.

Make sure to set aside some time to do this method. It took me a little over an hour, which is the perfect time to watch a movie or catch up on your favorite TV show. Also try to do this method 1-2 times a month to make sure your hair stays in its best shape. The more often you do it, the shorter the detangling time.

I hope this post was helpful and I’d love to hear your feedback. Do you have a detangling method that works well for you? Share it below!

About author

Angie

Angie is the creator & Editor-n-Chief of 4chairlove.com, a 4C natural hair site encouraging naturals to embrace the hair that God gave them. Through sharing her journey, she hopes to help unveil the beauty of natural coils. You can connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

5 comments

  1. Tony B 23 January, 2015 at 08:27 Reply

    Hi Angie,

    Oh yes this is where I need t send my daughter when se’ heads for me with the comb in her hands!
    I grow quite a bit of Aloe Vera I wonder if we can use it in it’s natural form?

    • Angie 27 January, 2015 at 17:49 Reply

      Haha, yes I’ve also be victim to some pretty rough detangling sessions by the comb. Although finger detangling takes a little longer it really helps A LOT with hair health and an overall better detangling experience.

      Also, I definitely believe that Aloe Vera can be used in it’s natural form…I plan to do a post on that in the future. Stay tuned! Thanks for commenting :)

  2. Fred 24 January, 2015 at 10:53 Reply

    All I can say about this website is WOW. My daughter has C Hair and it’s GORGEOUS. I’m definitely passing this site on to her mother. Great info!

    • Angie 27 January, 2015 at 17:53 Reply

      Great! I’m glad you enjoyed my site and please do inform your daughter about it. I completely agree, 4C hair is gorgeous and I want this site to encourage others to embrace there beautiful coils! Thanks for the comment. There’s more tips on the way so stay tuned! :)

  3. Amaka 8 July, 2016 at 08:51 Reply

    Hi, u mean i can’t use comb at all, cos am gonna keep natural hair for d rest of my life, how do I do that, how about using shear butter to soften my hair.

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