Although we love our curls, we do come across some challenges from time to time. They usually involve detangling. No matter how religiously we condition if the girls wear their hair in a loose style eventually we encounter some hair tangles. Remember the matting and crying we experienced after a sleepover that involved swimming last year? Loose hair, swimming, and dry hair can complicate the detangling process. Our natural response is to freak out when we see the bunches of tangled hair. Despite the difficulty of the task ahead, it is important to stay calm. In this post, I want to go over the steps you can take to release matted or knotted hair without causing damage. First, let’s talk about ways to prevent it from occurring.
How to prevent knotting/matting and tangles in natural hair
1. Deep condition hair weekly.
2. When wearing hair loose for the day, put it in a bun or loose braid at night.
3. Use a Swurly silk hair band to prevent curls from tangling and knotting around an elastic hair tie.
4. For smaller braids, we suggest rubberbands that can be easily cut out with a seam ripper.
5. Protective Styles are your very best friend, they keep the hair from being snagged, pulled or damage by buttons, necklaces, and collars.
6. Sleep with a Swurly 100% Silk Sleep cap on to prevent the friction caused from rubbing the hair against inferior fabrics! They are now available in an adjustable style to perfectly fit your child’s head.
Even with the best intentions matting and knotting occasionally occur. We usually find more tangles when the hair is worn loose and down, coupled with the fact my girls love to roll around on the carpet flipping. They also enjoy constantly walking around with blankets over their head. Sigh. I’ve also noticed swimming can dehydrate their hair and cause more matting. Don’t let panic ensue. Remain calm, adding anxious energy will only heighten the situation. If you are in a high swimming period check out these tips.
How to Detangle Hair:
1. Section hair into 4-6 sections. Use clips or silk bands to divide the hair into segments.
2. Apply a cheap conditioner with great slip. This is what we use; saturate the hair with it.
3. Use a wide tooth comb and slowly work your way up from the ends of the hair to the scalp in each part.
4. After you have the sections detangled with a wide tooth comb go over the section with a wet brush again from tips to root.
5. If a matted area or knot is discovered, work extra conditioner or oil into that area. Separate strands of hair that are freed by the soft manipulation of your thumb and pointer fingers massaging the product in.
6. Once you’ve isolated the knotted strands, continue to work from the bottom of the hair up until all the strands are released from the knot.
7. Last resort: If you have a strand that you absolutely cannot release with this technique trim it off. It’s better to remove a few inches than ripping up the hair shaft and allowing the damage to travel up.
8. Once you have detangled a section twist it, or loosely braid it and then it out of the way.
9. Repeat on all areas of hair until all the hair is detangled.
10. Style it. May I suggest a protective hairstyle?
If you are utilizing protective styling, you only will need to detangle once or twice a week. Best practices would be to detangle hair with oil or conditioner prior to every wash. It’s an extra step that we don’t always have time for, I’m doing the most folks. However, when we’ve applied the technique, we find that it is a much easier detangling session after washing. Please be sure your child is fully engaged with some form of entertainment or the whining will ensue.
I do not have the length of hair that my daughters can achieve. Nor can I pull off pigtails, French braids or cornrows like they flawlessly do. They rock protective styles 95% of the time, I rock a wash and go when I wear my natural hair. Besides, I don’t roll around on the floor or put blankets on my head so my strands level of protective needs are lessened.
My regimen includes diffusing on wash days. Comparatively, I rarely use heat on my girl’s hair. In fact, Misha has never had a blowout, silk press or any form of direct heat to her curls. Giana has only had a handful of blow-outs by myself or a trusted professional. This past Sunday, I asked her how she wanted her hair styled. My heart skipped a beat when she said she wanted it styled just like me. How sweet! To mimic my diffused wash and go look, we picked out her curls and I did an Afro inspired photoshoot.
I gave her a deep part on the side, just like I wear my hair. Using a similar technique as to what we use for detangling we created this look for her by dividing her hair into sections. Next, we added oil and picked the hair out from the tips to the roots. While I played in her hair she inquired “what is an afro? We started to talk about the 70’s hairstyle, it’s symbolism to empowerment and how my mama (granny to her) used to wear her hair in the style. Giana’s eyes lit up with curiosity. When I finished styling her hair, she beamed at her reflection in the mirror. I beamed too. Then she suckered me into applying teal eyeshadow and mascara to complete her mod look. Hollering big hair don’t care!