Finally you have managed to successfully drag the comb through your hair, and everything appeared seemingly okay until you looked at the floor. Clumps of your precious hair littered the floor. For a few fleeting seconds you actually entertained the awkward thought of gathering and glueing the strands back to your scalp.
African hair, no doubt, is endowed with many glories. The vibrant dark shade, the lovely springy coils, and the awesomely voluminous thicket of tresses make Afro hair uniquely beautiful. However, with this beauty comes some peculiar challenges.
The zigzag pattern of Afro coils makes it relatively difficult for the natural oils secreted by the scalp to travel down the hair strands. This makes african hair prone to dryness and frizz. With these also come the problem of knots and tangles.
Loosening up knots and freeing tangled or matted hair is generally referred to as detangling. Detangling is very necessary for keeping the hair healthy, neat and easy to style. However, detangling when done the wrong way serves the exact opposite of what it is meant to achieve. Clumps of hair are ripped off, hair strands weakened, with split ends and hair breakage becoming common. Not to mention, the terrible pain that accompanies detangling your hair the wrong way.
In this article we will be discussing how to properly detangle African hair without breakage.
Hair Shedding or Breakages?
Shedding happens to all natural hair types, Afro or Hispanic, straight or curly. It's normal for the average human hair to shed between 50 to 100 strands of hair daily. However, there is a major difference between shedding and breakage. You can differentiate between the two by examining the strands of hair that had fallen out. If there is a small, whitish bulb at the root of the strand, then there is probably no cause for alarm as the hair just underwent the natural shedding process. If the bulb is absent, that is a telltale sign of hair breakage.
It's necessary to detangle matted hair, as knotty strands do split easily. The detangling process, however, has to be done gently and carefully. Forcefully detangling the knots is one of the immediate causes of massive hair breakage.
Tips to detangling African hair without breakage
Apply a conditioner: Although many hair experts hold different views on what they each consider the best method for detangling natural hair without breakage, most agree that for the thick and tightly coiled Afro hair there is need to apply a conditioner before detangling such hair types. A leave-in conditioner will soften and moisurize the dry and kinky African hair, thereby minimizing damage.
Wet or Dry: Even though wet hair is easier to handle, the question of detangling your hair wet or dry will depend on how porous your hair is. For those with highly porous hair it's better to wait for your hair to get half dry before you comb it through. To minimize breakages it's better not to detangle hair when soaking wet.
Work in sections: Part your hair into smaller sections, detangling each one after the other. This will make the hair more manageable, and the detangling process quicker.
Oil generously: Natural oils such as coconut, Rosemary, castor oil are very good for softening dry hair, in addition to enhancing hair growth, help to soften knots and make detangling easy. Apply natural oil to your hair before attempting to comb it through.
Detangle with Fingers First: use your fingers to rake through your hair and detangle as much knots as possible before you run a comb through your hair.
Comb through: After finger detangling, use a wide toothed comb to comb the hair, working through the sections. Start combing from the tip of the hair strands, and work upwards to the roots. next you want to take a comb to the section. Using a wide tooth comb, start from the ends and work your way up the root.