Why Do I Need to Detangle My Hair Before Washing?

If you have natural hair, you know how important it is to detangle it before washing it. Detangling helps to prevent knots, tangles, and breakage that can damage your hair and make it harder to style. But how do you detangle your hair correctly? What are the best tools and techniques to use? And when should you detangle your hair? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more, so you can have a smooth and easy wash day. Here are some of the topics we will cover:


– Is it better to detangle your hair wet or dry?

– What happens if you don’t detangle natural hair?

– Should you detangle before or after deep condition?

– Is it better to detangle hair with fingers?

– Can you detangle hair too much?


Let’s get started!


 Is it better to detangle your hair wet or dry?

To understand the difference between moisturized and wet hair, you must observe your hair when it’s dry. Dry natural hair is usually stiff and makes a cracking sound, while moisturized hair is soft to the touch, strong, and flexible, with no cracking sound. Spraying your hair with water alone will only hydrate it. To moisturize properly, spritz your hair with water (use a spray bottle) and then follow with a water-based conditioner or hair cream. Note that oils do not moisturize the hair. They can, however, provide slip while detangling and sealing in moisture, depending on the oil.

However, wet hair is also more fragile and prone to breakage, so you must be careful not to pull or tug too hard on your strands. You must also use a conditioner or a detangling product that provides enough slip and nourishment for your hair. Some products that can help with detangling are mineral oil, conditioner, and various oils like coconut, almond, jojoba, and argan¹.

If you prefer to detangle your hair when dry, ensure it is well moisturized and not crunchy or tangled. You can use a spray bottle filled with water, a water-based product, a leave-in conditioner, or a water/oil mixture to add moisture to your hair². You must also be gentle and patient, as dry hair can be more resistant and knotty than wet hair.

What happens if you don’t detangle natural hair?

If you skip detangling natural hair regularly, you may end up with mats, knots, tangles, and single-strand knots (SSKs) that can cause a lot of trouble for your hair’s health and appearance. Some of the outcomes of not detangling natural hair are:

– Breakage: When your hair is tangled, it is more likely to snap and break when you try to comb or style it. It can lead to split ends, uneven lengths, and thinning edges.

– Shedding: When your hair is tangled, it can trap the hairs that naturally shed daily, creating more tangles and making them harder to get rid of. When you finally do detangle your hair, you may see a lot of shed hairs coming out, which can be alarming and frustrating.

– Shrinkage: When your hair is tangled, it can shrink and lose its length and volume. It can make your hair look dull and lifeless. It can also make it harder to style and moisturize your hair.

– Scalp issues: When your hair is tangled, it can prevent air circulation and moisture from reaching your scalp, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and dirt that can cause scalp irritation, inflammation, dandruff, and infections.

Should you detangle before or after deep condition?

This is another question that depends on your personal preference and hair type. Some people like to detangle before deep conditioning because it helps the conditioner soak better into their strands. Some people detangle after deep conditioning because the conditioner makes their hair softer and makes it easier to comb through each strand.

There is no right or wrong answer here, as long as you are gentle with your hair and use enough product to provide slip and protection for your strands. However, some general tips are:

– If you detangle before deep conditioning, wash out any product buildup from your hair before applying the conditioner to prevent any interference or blockage with the absorption of the conditioner.

– If you detangle after deep conditioning, leave the conditioner on for at least 15 minutes before washing it out to give enough time for the conditioner to work its magic on your strands.

– If you have very thick or coarse hair, you may want to detangle before and after deep conditioning. This will ensure that you remove any major tangles before applying the conditioner and smooth out any minor ones after rinsing out the conditioner.

  Is it better to detangle hair with fingers?

Finger detangling is a technique that involves using your fingers to separate and remove knots and tangles from your hair gently. Many natural hair enthusiasts swear by this method, as it is more gentle and less damaging than using a comb or a brush. Finger detangling can also help you feel and assess the condition of your hair and prevent over-manipulation and breakage.

However, finger detangling is only for some, as it can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you have very long or thick hair. Finger detangling may also not be enough to remove all the tangles from your hair, especially if they are very tight or stubborn. In that case, you may need to follow up with a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to ensure your hair is thoroughly detangled.

The best way to decide whether to finger detangle is to try it out and see how your hair responds. You may find that finger detangling works well for you, or you may prefer to use a tool instead. You can combine both methods by finger detangling first to remove significant knots and then using a tool to smooth the rest.

 Can you detangle hair too much?

Yes, you can detangle hair too much, and this can cause more harm than good for your hair. Detangling too often or roughly can lead to breakage, split ends, frizz, and loss of curl definition. Detangling too much can also strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture, making it dry and brittle.

The frequency and intensity of your detangling sessions depend on your hair type, texture, length, and style. Some general guidelines are:

– Detangle your hair only when necessary, such as before washing, styling, or trimming your hair. Avoid detangling your hair every day or multiple times a day, as this can cause over-manipulation and damage.

– Detangle your hair gently and patiently, using enough product to provide slip and protection for your strands. Avoid pulling, tugging, or ripping through your hair, which can cause breakage and pain.

– Detangle your hair in sections, starting from the ends and working up to the roots to prevent more tangles and knots.

– Detangle your hair with the right tool for your hair type and texture. Choose a tool with wide spaces between the teeth or bristles, such as a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush. Avoid using fine-tooth combs or brushes with metal or plastic bristles, as they can snag and rip your hair.


We hope this blog post has helped you understand why you must detangle your hair before washing it and how to do it properly. Detangling is an essential part of natural hair care, as it helps to prevent damage, maintain healthy growth, and enhance the beauty of your curls. For more tips and products to help you with your hair care journey, check out these articles on Gabfest!


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