Basics: How to “Detangle” Curly Hair

In continuation to the series of Curly and Wavy hair term basics mentioned in this post: here, I am explaining another term in this post. 🙂

“Detangle” is probably not a new word for you. But when we bring ‘detangle’ and ‘curly hair’ together, the word ‘detangle’ get a whole new dimension!! 😉 Detangling is the only time that you would ever need a comb in your curly hair care routine. (“What!! Really??Why?!”..if this is what you reacted, then you should first read this post: Here). So what is the big deal with detangling curly hair? Let’s Jump straight to the answer!!


What is “detangle”?

Detangle means to remove tangles & knots from hair. Well this applies to all hair types: straight, wavy or curly.


How do we detangle curly hair?

Finger detangling is the best way to detangle curly hair. This can be followed up by a wide toothed comb. The only type of comb that you use should be a wide-toothed one.

Irrespective of the products that you use, I mean silicone/sulfate free or not, if you wear your hair curly, and want to retain frizz-free and defined curly or wavy hair, then THIS is how you should be detangling your hair.


There are two ways to detangle curly and wavy hair:

  • In the shower: After you shampoo, apply your conditioner to soaking wet hair. Then taking small sections of hair, start at the ends of hair and setangle using finger tips. Slowly and patiently remove all knots and tangles from the end and move up towards the roots. Finger comb that section of hair. Follow it up with a wide-toothed comb. Move on to the next section and remove all knots and tangles. At the end run a wide-toothed comb all over the hair to make sure there are no remaining knots/tangles. Sometimes there are tight knots that usually we pull and tug and end up breaking, if you come across such knots, add more conditioner and water to that area and with utmost patience remove the knots with fingers by taking out each strand. 


  • By Applying Oil: Another way of removing knots and tangles from hair is by applying oil. While hair is dry, divide hair into sections. Take one section and apply oil in that section. starting at the ends, slowly remove tangles from the ends and move towards the roots, follow it up with a wide-combed tooth. Move on to the next section. Once done, run the wide toothed-comb all over your hair slowly and patiently without tugging or pulling. If you have very curly hair or very thick hair I would suggest to braid or twist each section once you detangle each section. 



  • Detangling must be done at each hair wash day.
  • We must have utmost patience while detangling our hair. The more tangled our hair is, the more patience we need to have. It should be done slowly.
  • Do not delay your detangling sessions. The more you delay, the more tangled your hair gets.
  • Do not use a hair brush to detangle your curly or wavy hair.
  • Harsh or vigorous ways of detangling are a major reason of hair breakage. So be gentle to your hair! 😀
  • Certain amount of hair fall (approx. 100 per day) is natural. So, when you detangle, hair stands that have already fallen off the roots might come off. Don’t be scared. More days you go without detangling, the more hair fall you would see. Keep a check on your usual hair fall by comparing the amount of hair fall at each session taking into consideration the days between the sessions each time.



17 thoughts on “Basics: How to “Detangle” Curly Hair

  1. Hi. Thanks a ton for this post! I did not understand how to detangle from hair end to roots? I detangle from roots to the end, which causes clumps at the ends and I end up cutting those off. I am sure that leads to terrible split ends as well 🙁 I never had this problem when I had just a bon of curly hair.

    1. Hey Swathi……Yeahhh coz shorter hair tends to tangle less. Longer the hair, more movement and more the chances of getting tangled up! Since we curlies do not brush out hair on non-wash days, the naturally fallen hair gets knotted up with other strands and increases tangles.

      Detangle from ends as in apply conditioner or oil at ends….remove any tangles at the end and then move a little higher on hair’s length…Detangle there and then move up…. if we Detangle from top moving down, the existing knots tend to get tighter as we push them down and it gets very difficult to remove them and we end up having to cut them or tear them apart 🙁 you are totally right about the clumps and split ends. Try to bring into habit detangling from lower ends to the roots….

  2. reading your blog today n m feeling so good already .. starting from tmrw ..

    wht i hv understood is (plz correct if m wrong)
    1. start with washing with sulphate shampoo for last time
    2. start washing with sulphate free shampoo or cowash with sulphate free conditioner
    3. while drying hair use scrunching method with old t shirt
    4. dont comb hair

    question at this step -> now wht m confused abt it .. after this full day i am not supposed to comb my hair at all ??

    while sleeping follow one of the methods mentioned in blog to reduce tangles. Next day use conditioner n water .. now again no combing ??

    so there will b two days in between wash .. now suppose tmrw m gonna wash my hair .. when to apply hair oil ? overnight is good or for how many hours .. at this step i can detangle hair rite ? also which suplahte free shampoo i can start with which will remove applied oil ?

    Sorry too many questions .. 😀 but m feeling so good after reading your blog .. i so want to try this because all my life i hv been combing my hair after wash which made them super frizzy and bcz of which i can never leave my hair .. hv to alwas tie them which i dont like 😀 sorry fr too many questions again

  3. Thank you for such a wonderful article dear and from my side I want to say that i am using raw shea butter detangler from long for my hairs and its really effective.It will improve your hairs for sure so try it once people because It works as a great leave-in hair treatment product for dry hair that needs extra moisture.

    1. Hi Julia,

      Raw shea butter is really good for our hair. I have recently been using it along with other oils as a hair mask and as a sealant at times. I didn’t really try it for detangling. Thanks for suggesting 🙂

  4. My 10 yr old’s hair gets very badly tangled because of all the rough play, careless habits and impatient in-shower (or out of shower detangling). She braids her hair sometimes but mostly it is in a ponytail. Thankfully she loves and appreciates curly hair. Ideally, I’d like to detangle her hair every day without pain. As of now, I spritz water, apply some some leave-in conditioner and detangle with my fingers or a wide-toothed comb depending on the time available and the decibels of the screams. Livon or Hair & Care Hair Serum, are effective but both of them contain silicone. Anything else you can think of?
    Also, Divya, can we safely assume all of Garnier’s products are Paraben/Silicone/Sulphate free?

    1. Hey Priya, I would really suggest to stop silicones on her hair.. and use more of silicone free conditioners even to style her hair… I know how it can get with kids and curls…but her hair will get more gorgeous if you keep her hair moisturzied by using non-silicone products!!

      instead of using serum, add water plus silicone free conditioner, detangle and let it dry for that extra moisture and slip daily…if you want you can use fla seed gel to style her hair….

      its so nice to know that she loves her curls!!! <3 <3

      and noooo Garnier products cannot be assumed to be free of sulfates, silicones and parabens.. we can only tell after reading the ingredients list of each product 🙁

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