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5 Tips To Reduce Breakage With a Detangling Brush

There’s no denying the fact that detangling curly hair can be daunting.
23 Feb 2021
No matter how fine or coarse your curls, the natural coily shape of each strand makes it a lot easier for hairs to overlap, interlock, and knot up. Or even worse—curls that aren’t properly separated can become matted. What you use to detangle your hair can make all the difference between a successful wash day and a downright unpleasant experience.

There are quite a few tool options for detangling. One of the more common is a wide-tooth comb. While wide tooth combs are effective at removing knots, a better solution, particularly for coily hair, is a detangling brush. Luckily there are an abundance of choices that work for different textures. What makes a detangling brush for curly hair different from a regular brush is generally the type of bristles it’s made of, the density and separation of the bristles, and in some cases, the mechanics of how the brush glides through your hair.

Hoping to learn more about detangling brushes? Continue reading for everything you need to know.

How do detangling brushes work?

There are a range of detangling brushes that work for different types of curls. The best detangling brushes for natural hair and curls are made of either semi-flexible plastic or sturdy nylon bristles. There should be a bit of flexibility in the bristles. A stiff tooth on a brush can rip right through your curls, taking pieces of hair right with it. Instead, as you gently pick at tough knots, the brush should easily flex with the strands until the tangle is gone.

The more spaced out the bristles, the better. Traditional brushes with compact, tight clusters of bristles are often made for smoothing hair, which brings strands together. You want the opposite in a detangling brush.The spaced out bristles will leave room for the separation of your strands as the brush moves through your hair.

Some detangling brushes fan out as you sweep it through hair, so there’s more separation happening with each stroke. For those with tighter curls, this style of brush is ideal as it quickly melts knots with minimal hair breakage. There are also some brushes that have little balls at the ends of each tooth. These help to separate stubborn tangles as well by getting in between and breaking up clusters of overlapping hairs.

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Is it better to untangle hair wet or dry?

It’s always best to untangle curls when they’re wet. Although hair is more fragile when wet, moisture helps make detangling more manageable. Curls, in particular, tend to be a lot drier than other textures, so raking a brush through dry curls without hydrating them beforehand can lead to unnecessary shedding and damage. Proper detangling should start in the shower with a water and conditioner cocktail.

Applying hair treatments before you even step in the shower as a pre-shampoo treatment is another way to make the process a lot smoother. Once you’re done with your shampoo and conditioner, do another round of detangling with a leave-in conditioner like the Sacred Tiare Leave-In Conditioner before you apply any styling products.

How do you detangle without excess breakage?

It’s best to have multiple detangling tools on hand before you begin. Your curls may be looser in the front and tighter in the back or vice versa, which means that you may need a different style tool for each section. Once you’ve rounded up your detangling brushes, here’s how to brush curly hair without losing healthy strands in the process.

1. Work in sections. Trying to tackle your entire head at once can be overwhelming. Plus, haphazardly raking a comb through your strands leaves your curls vulnerable to breakage. Instead, separate your hair into at least four sections. If your hair is really thick, work in even smaller sections.

2.Thoroughly moisten the hair. It’s best to wet each section as you go instead of dousing your entire head in water at the onset. By the time you get to the back half of your head, it may be dry, and then you’ll need to re-wet it. While water is needed to create some flexibility throughout the hair, a coating of the Hair Milk 4-in-1 Combing Creme will help give strands the much-needed slip that will help your tool of choice glide through effortlessly.

Keep a spray bottle with water, and a bit of regular conditioner like the Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil mixed in on hand to spritz sections as you go. Or simply use a leave-in formula. Make sure that each section of hair is almost fully saturated with water and or conditioner before taking a brush to it.

3. Finger comb first. This step may sound a bit counterproductive, but it’ll make your process flow a lot smoother. Start by running your fingers through each section of your hair. This will help loosen up larger knots and will give your brush some space to work its magic. What’s even better is dabbing a hair mask or moisturizing hairdress on the tips of your fingers before you start.

4. Start from the bottom. Many stylists will agree that the best way to clear knots with a detangling brush is to start from the bottom of each section and work your way up to the root. This prevents hair from being yanked directly from the scalp. Hold the hairs close to the scalp with one hand while brushing in small strokes while you make your way to the root.

5. Don’t rush. You may want to get your detangling over with, but slow and steady always wins. Breezing through a detangling session can cause excessive tugging and can even break hair off and cause split ends.

Now that you’ve learned exactly how to detangle hair, freshen up on what to do after you leave the shower with these tips on how to dry natural hair without damage.

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