I think it is fair to say, detangling is probably our least favorite part of our natural hair routine.
I don't know about you but I actually LOVE the act of washing and conditoning my hair. It feels as if I'm cleansing any stagnate energy from the past few days and I feel lighter, mentally and physically,
after washing my hair. But, that whole detangling process...mannn, that can go.
Please keep in mind when you have natural hair extensions, you still have to be gentle and thorough when detangling. We have some Do's and Don'ts that will hopefully make things easier for you on wash day and even some tips on what to do during the week to keep wash day as quick and easy as possible.
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DO: Detangle With Conditioner
If you want to just cut out the BS and make your whole life easier, then ALWAYS detangle with a good conditioner with a lot of slip. Your arms and your hair extensions will be happy you did.
Detangling with a good slip conditioner (And no we do not mean a leave-in conditioner. We are talking about a real, rinse out conditioner. We listed our favorites below) will do a lot of the hard work for you. Conditioners are designed to moisturize and break down the tangles in the most gentle way. When applying the conditioner, apply using downward strokes instead of going upwards. Gently use your finger to work the conditioner onto every strand.
DO: Wash Your Extensions Once A Week
The most convenient time to do this is in the shower on wash day. Nahara's Curls recommends to wash your natural hair extensions once a week. Doing this will keep the extensions moisturized and the curls clumped.
When curls are clumped (intentionally, not dreaded or matted due to neglect) they are less likely to roam and find other strands to "become friends with".
We say "become friends with" because curls like to be clumped together with their neighbors (hair strands in their area). When they are directed by us (when we are defining the curls) they are told who to clump with. When they don't have that guidance, then they are lost and instead of clumping with the neighbor, they clump with hair strands in the next city or state! That is not good and causes more tangles.
Your natural hair extensions also look their best with a weekly washing. They stay shiny and manageable. Who doesn't love that!?
DO: Use the Right Detangling Tools
What you use as a detangling tool is probably one of the most important decisions for your extensions. It can determine whether you spend 10 mins detangling or 1 hour detangling! I think we all are aiming towards the 10 mins.
We all have heard that finger detangling is the most gentle way to detangling natural hair as well as natural hair extensions. This is true, but when it comes to natural hair extensions we believe that finger detangling is a good start. But, you do need to use a good detangling brush to get through that tangles that your fingers might have missed!
Detangling brushes are great because they have a lot of "teeth" and ends up smoothing out tangles quicker and more gentle than a wide tooth comb. That makes detangling go by a lot quicker. Stay away from detangling brushes that have very thin "teeth", similar to "The Wet Brush". The teeth are not strong enough to thoroughly detangle our extensions, unless you are rocking our "TULA"
DO: Detangle Thoroughly
This is also a very important step! You don't want to skip it.
You can't detangle only the top section of your hair and leave the underneath tangled. The tangles don't just go away. They will always be there and now they have more time to get even more tangled throughout the week. This is why detangling with a proper conditioner and detangling brush is a MUST.
You want to detangle until there are no more tangles in the hair and you can easily run the brush through and your curls are bouncing back up.
DO: Your Hair Needs To Be Dripping Wet
This is why it is best to detangle on wash day, in the shower.
You want the hair to be dripping wet because at the end of the day water is the best moisturizer and helps tremendously with the detangling process. If you feel like you are doing all the other things right and its still tangled, then add more water. You'll be amazed at what water can do to tangles.
Keep the water luke-warm to warm. If the water is too hot, it will dry out the curls.
Now for the DON'TS
This is where we break down the habits that are causing you to have unnecessary tangles.
DON'T: Detangle With Only A Leave-In Conditioner Or Only Water
Water is the ULTIMATE moisturizer, but when it comes to detangling it does need some help from a rinse out conditioner.
Leave-in conditioners are great, and we do need it when it comes to natural hair extensions, but they are not designed to rid the hair of week old tangles. They are there to keep the hair hair moisturized throughout the week and protect the hair from natural elements, like wind and sun. That protection ends up helping your hair from creating excessive tangles. And most leave-ins don't provide the same amount of slip as a rinse out conditioner.