While growing up, most of us remember the days of having an older relative or friend detangle our hair using combs, brushes or other detangling devices. Some of us would agree that our experiences were painful, annoying or just plain simple. The more curls or waves your hair has, the more difficult it will be to detangle. Therefore the process of detangling hair is one to take into consideration if you would like to retain length with your hair. Hair with curls has a tendency of getting tangled or knotted easier, than hair without curls. Curly hair is also generally drier and weaker than straight hair. Every bend or twist in the hair strand is a weak point therefore a lot of care must be taken when detangling this type of hair in order to retain length.
When should I detangle my hair? - It is important that you set aside a sufficient amount of time to detangle your hair before you begin doing so. Haste always makes waste in this situation and if you are rushing to go out, you would most likely not take your time when detangling your hair. It is also necessary to remember that hair is dead and will most likely break when it is wet or extremely dry. Water temporarily breaks certain bonds and linkages of the hair. It is from the connectivity of these bonds and linkages that the hair gains its strength. This is to say that when these bonds and linkages are in place, the hair is at its strongest. Similarly, very dry hair is brittle and can break easily. For this reason, we must establish a middle ground between wet and dry for detangling our hair. This may be difficult to develop at first but as you experiment and be patient with your hair, you will be able to create the best conditions for detangling it.
How do I go about detangling my hair? - It is a norm for us to use combs or brushes when detangling our hair. However, these devices, if used incorrectly can actually damage our hair by placing pressure on it by pulling it, stretching it and exposing it to stripping, ripping and tearing. If you would like to retain length and the health of your hair, it would be best to detangle the hair using your fingers first. You should start from the ends of a section of hair, working your fingers downward, placing your fingers at a higher point in the section each time. You can also detangle your hair by separating the tangles with your fingers on both hands, pulling the sections gently apart. Your hair should be slightly damp while doing this.
The detangling process is similar for detangling hardened hair. If the core tangle is due to your hair being hardened from product build-up, it is best to first wet the hair with water. When the hair is immobilised by gel, hairspray or any other product you can use water to rinse as much product from the hair as possible without combing the hair. This should soften the hair so that it becomes supple. Then you will be able to manipulate your hair, moving your fingers through it with minimum resistance and thus less breakage. Do not try to detangle all your hair at once. You should section it into smaller sections as these are easier to manage.
Only a few tips on detangling were presented here. More of these tips will be addressed in the article next week.
For more information on
detangling hair, you can check out the book ‘Grow it!’ by Chicoro and ‘Ultra Black Hair growth II’ by Cathy Howse. These books go into more detail about the detangling process and are great references also for persons who would like to retain hair length.