What's Better for Your Hair: Combing or Finger Detangling? ☝🏿

What's Better for Your Hair: Combing or Finger Detangling?

With all the new regimens, month-long challenges, and novel products constantly being released, we naturalistas are able to enjoy a wealth of hair care knowledge that has never existed before. A few years ago it was impossible to find information online about how to do your own box braids. Now, I can't even count how many braiding tutorial videos are on YouTube. Better access to information about natural hair care has obvious benefits: it allows us to celebrate our natural beauty and indulge in self-love while rocking amazing hairstyles! However, sometimes it can be overwhelming to sift through all the advice -especially when some of it seems contradictory.

​Take, for example, the issue of detangling natural hair. For the longest time the afro pick was the universal tool for getting tangles and knots out of kinky/coily hair. In fact I remember my Mom using an afro pick for all sorts of purposes. After detangling, she would use it to create parts, and while she was styling, she would even use it as a clip to keep stray hairs out of her way. Despite the incredible usefulness of the afro pick, it (and other similar combs) face growing competition from another school of thought: the finger detangling method.

Finger detangling is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of passing through your strands with a comb to remove knots and tangles, you instead create small sections of hair and gently pull each apart until, theoretically, every strand has been separated from its neighbours. If done properly the results of combing and finger detangling are pretty much the same, but not everyone agrees that these two methods are perfect substitutes.


METHOD
COMBING
FINGER DETANGLING
PROS
  • Much faster than finger detangling
  • If done thoroughly, makes hair shinier
  • Adequately prepares hair for all kinds of further styling
  • Doesn't require as much skill or patience
  • Effective for all hair lengths
  • Fingers can feel knots and remove them more carefully
  • Avoids breakage, split ends, fairy knots, and mid-shaft splits
  • Encourages healthier hair growth
  • Allows you to know your hair more intimately
CONS
  • Combs create friction and static, which can create frizz and even breakage
  • Less gentle on the individual strands
  • Can thin hair out and/or cause it to look unhealthy if done improperly
  • Because the comb must pass over the ends more often, combing can cause split ends and mid-shaft splits
  • More time-consuming
  • If done carelessly, could cause excessive damage and even matting
  • Provides less stretch than combing
  • Not recommended for very long hair

As you can see, it's a bit of a tossup between the two. It's up to you to know what your curls need and to decide which option is best to maintain healthy, happy hair. Of course no one is forcing you to pick one, either. Many naturalistas (including me!) alternate methods depending on the circumstances. Regardless of what you choose you'll need the right tools to get started.


TOP DETANGLING COMBS
Denman Brush
Denman
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Anti-static
Eco Combs Detangler
Eco Combs
  • Gentle on scalp
  • Can be used on wet or dry hair
  • 100% recycled materials
Crave Naturals Detangling Comb
Crave Naturals
  • Unique detangling technology
  • Doesn't rip out hair
  • Boosts scalp circulation


TOP DETANGLING PRODUCTS
Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner
Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner
  • Smoothes hair cuticles
  • Appropriate for thick coarse curls and loose wavy curls
  • Great to use after taking down longterm protective styles
Aunt Jackie's Knot on My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy
Aunt Jackie's Knot on My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy
  • For wet or dry hair
  • Softens hair
  • Restores moisture balance
Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
Leaves hair feeling smooth and soft
Removes dirt and product buildup by deeply cleansing scalp
Moisturizes and protects hair


Do you prefer to comb or finger detangle your hair? Why? Share in a comment below!

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