When you begin your natural hair journey, a lot of people have a lot to say about what you should and shouldn’t do along your journey. And when you first heard that you should use your fingers, not your wide tooth comb to detangle, you probably thought this must be a joke? As naturalistas, we spend so much time trying to perfect out wash day routines, but the actions your do during your wash day is just as important as the products you put in your hair. 

What is Finger Detangling? 

Finger detangling is a method of tenderly detangling your hair using only your hands (fingers) without a hairbrush or comb. 

Is a Wide-Tooth Comb not good enough? 

Yes, it’s a lot more ‘easier’ to detangle with a wide-tooth comb, but probably because your hair was drenched in conditioner and water. But have you taken a look at your comb after detangling a section of your hair? The shedding and breakage is probably sickening to the eye… We are not saying a wide tooth comb isn’t good enough, it just probably isn’t a good tool to use to begin your detangling process. 

When you detangle with a wide-tooth comb, your hair becomes more frizzy and undefined, not good if you want to leave your curls out as a wash and go! We are not saying ditch your wide-tooth comb, we are saying don’t rely on a tool that creates hair loss and shrinkage. Rotating between a wide-tooth comb and your fingers is way more gentle on your hair. You get more curl definition when finger detangling, you get less shrinkage and breakage while finger detangling too.

Let’s take a look at why finger detangling should be your main detangling method: 

Benefits of Finger Detangling 

1. Less Breakage 

It may seem like an obvious one, but when you detangle with your fingers you can feel the tangles in your hair, which means that you can separate the tangles more gently. When you detangle with a comb, the comb rips through the tangles. 

When you use your fingers to detangle, you have an opportunity to stop when you feel a tangle or snag, you just don't get this with a comb.

2. Less Pain

Have you ever detangled with a comb and once you finished your scalp felt tender? Because our natural is naturally kinky, coily, or curly, the strands of our hair twist around each other that create the dreaded tangles! Instead, finger detangling forces you to be a lot more gentle with your curls, which means you're less likely to feel pain. 

When you see a tangle in your hair, you probably pull on it don’t you? This only causes it to get more tight until you eventually break the strand. If you finger detangle, you have the freedom to tease apart the tangles rather than just break them using a comb.

3. Longer Hair

The less breakage your hair has = the more potential you have for your hair to grow. Everyone’s hair grows the same, but you can see more growth if you reduce the chances of breakage to happen.

How to Finger Detangle the Correct Way

Whether you like to detangle with lotion, or with an oil based product, or soaking wet with conditioner, detangle in whichever way works for you. Here are some tips on getting your finger detangle game on point: 

  • Cut down your nails beforehand to create a gentler process
  • Always start from the ends of your hair and then move your way up to your roots
  • Only detangle in small sections so that you can guarantee that your hair is properly detangled
  • Don’t avoid trimming! 
  • Whatever you do, do not finger detangle with dry hair, because you have no slip to work with. It’s really easy for your hair to break if you detangle while dry.

Looking after your natural hair is all about finding what works for you. Some people use only their fingers to detangle and that works for them, and some people use a combination of their fingers and wide-tooth combs to detangle. With some experimenting, you will find what works best for your hair, consistency and practice is key.