If like me you have hair that tangles a lot there are a few things that you can do to reduce the incidence of tangles:
Someone asked about seamless combs on the Neno Natural Facebook page so I thought I would also answer it here.
Combs are made in a metal mold.
Normally the two halves of the comb - along the spine and up and down the teeth - have a raised edge, this is the seam. A seam is sharp-ish and will by this nature cause some hair breakage.
Seamless combs do not have this raised edge. They are the best type of combs to use because they have the seam removed by having it flattened leading to less hair breakage. When you are shopping for a comb you not only want it to be wide-toothed (i.e. large gaps between the teeth), you also want it to be seamless.
That is a seamless comb. Neno Natural combs are seamless and you can get a set of 3 combs for a great deal on Amazon.
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.
Once my hair reached shoulder length my sister told me that I NEEDED to be washing it in twists to prevent hairs from breaking. I like the idea, it makes sense that you will incur less breakage if your hair is clumped together, however, I hated shampooing my hair in twists. I'll explain why in a moment.
These are your three options for when to twist your hair:
1. Twist hair after detangling but before shampooing
This, in my opinion, is not the best time because:
Who might this method be best for?
I would say people with bra length hair or longer. I am not there yet. In this case you could make the twist loose enough at the base to ensure that you can still reach in to wash the scalp properly. Importantly, if your hair is this length you can get by with just 2 to 4 twists so undoing to apply conditioner and then re-twisting isn't a big deal.
2. Twist hair immediately after applying conditioner
I think this works. All the above negatives don't apply.
3. Twist hair after conditioner has been in hair for 30 minutes
I think this also works.
Personally, as my hair is just below the shoulders I prefer 2 or 3. I usually use method 3. I think 3 is best if your hair was very dry to begin with. All the good stuff in the conditioner will have had a chance to penetrate your hair; I think my hair is (probably) least vulnerable to breakage if I do a proper detangle and twist using method 3.
What's your opinion?
Overall, air drying natural hair is the safest option. You can't get heat damage from the hair, however, some air drying methods are better than others!
I don't have a loose curl pattern. I have kinky 4C hair on 80% of my head except for the back where it is actually wavy, it's not curly at all.
I did my first wash and go in December 2012, roughly 18 months into my natural journey. When my hair was wet it was easy to moisturise and seal but by the next day my hair had shrunk very, very tightly and it was more tangled than usual.
Remember that the chances for incurring breakage are highest when you're detangling very tangled hair. There's no point in keeping hair healthy by air drying and then incurring breakage due to the resulting tangles!
My conclusion is that air drying hair that hasn't been styled into twists or plaits is not the best option for thick, course kinky hair. It makes handling the hair much harder two or three days later.
So, what is the best way to air dry?
Loose curls and fine hair:
Thick, course or very kinky hair:
What is your experience with air drying?
Finger combing involves fluffing your hair and detangling using just your hands and fingers. It makes sense that handling hair (e.g. when you comb or style it) will lead to some hair breakage, so the less you comb the better...in theory...
I have done less and less combing over time based on this theory and until last night I hadn't combed for a month!
I went cold Turkey, no combing at all, fingers only! Bad idea. Here are the pros and cons:
PROS / ADVANTAGES OF FINGER COMBING
1. Less breakage per session, fingers can untangle stubborn knots a lot more effectively than a comb.
CONS/ DISADVANTAGES OF FINGER COMBING
1. Hair gets more tangled over time if you only use fingers. Fingers can only untangle so much and after you're done some strands will remain wrapped around each other.
2. Lots of shed hairs will stay tangled within your hair and this leads to nasty knots and even more tangling. These knots also make your hair look messy and unhealthy.
3. If you wash and go without plaiting or twisting in a zero-comb regimen, your hair will get massively tangled as it dries. A bit of combing would help to reduce this.
What is the best way to approach finger combing and detangling?
Always finger comb or detangle first.
In fact, you can get by with finger combing only for styling purposes, that said, before or during a wash routine use a wide tooth comb too for the best detangle. Comb gently and very slowly, no rough and rapid movements.
If you're adamant that you want to finger comb only, here's are a couple of tips:
How about brushing?
I hadn't used a brush on my hair since I went natural in March 2011 (20 months ago) because I was too scared of breakage; but I did so last night and it was a-okay. A simple brush like the one in the picture won't hurt you if you don't use it too often.
If you want a real break from handling hair get a completely protective, low manipulation hair style e.g. plaits, braids, a weave or a wig.
I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx