Ah the age-old burning question…how exactly do I finger detangle? Well all jokes aside perhaps not an age-old question but a burning question never less as I have been asked this question time and time again. So lets get down to it! How exactly do I finger detangle so efficiently that I am able to run a comb through my hair after my finger detangling process without any tangles or knots along the way…Trial and Error. Yes my friends, to simply put it, the method I used today was founded through trial and error but these hardships led me to a path of finding my own finger detangling process that has reaped the most benefits for my hair. Though the benefits of today were quite a different story years ago.

To put it in lament terms I had no clue how to finger detangle and I soon learned if not done thoroughly and properly, finger detangling can lead to minor to extreme cases of dreading and breakage which in my case the latter took toll and the dreading was so extreme it eventually lead to another big chop.  After that fiasco I came to understand that there is much more than just “finger detangling” especially for kinky hair textures and not taking all the proper measurements and precautions regarding finger detangling can attribute to frequent headaches and problems instead of beneficial solutions.

Today finger detangling for my strands has contributed in drastic changes of more length, density and far less split ends but not too long ago today’s successes were yesterday’s failures. Stay with me as I discuss my 10 step finger detangling process and hopefully turning failure into just a seven-letter word and not a personal experience.


10 Step Finger Detangling Method


1. Dry

The curlier the hair the more fragile because at every curling point along the strand is a potential point of breakage now by adding water to the equation this quickly creates tension to the strand once you hair has absorbed the water. Tension naturally occurs with wet hair pulling the strand from the weight of the water. Now all your potential points of breakage are even more fragile due to tension from water weight. Depending on porosity, individual strand density and texture, dry detangling works differently for everyone but I have found that my extremely fine and kinky textured hair responds successfully to dry detangling.


2. Oil Strands:

When some individuals think of dry finger detangling they think in literal terms of “DRY”. How you define dry finger detangling is of course entirely up to you but my definition equates to the use of no water, which means oils are in heavy use and a necessity in my detangling process. Without oils my dry detangling experience would be an experience I would not want to repeat again. Therefore oiling my strands is the first step in my finger detangling process. Oils and butters add slip, which is impertinent to a successful dry finger detangling experience.


3.  Stretch

The finer and curlier your hair is the more beneficial it will be for you to stretch your hair beforehand. Stretching will create less shrinkage which will enable you to remove tangles more easily due to the strands not curling right back up on themselves which makes fishing out knots more difficult and creates even further tangles.  The night before I plan to dry finger detangle I usually stretch my 150 loose twists with bantu knots or braids. Remember the bantu knot or braid should be firm but not tight especially when you are stretching tangled strands.


4. Release

After hair is stretched for a minimum of 6 hours I will release my loose twists from the Bantu knots or braids, prepping for the next step.


5. Oils & Butters

Once hair is released I will place a quick layer of my favorite oils onto my strands by gently grabbing my hair into sections and really concentrating on the ends since they are the elders of the strand and are more susceptible to breakage during detangling and also the rooted area as well. I find that since my hair is in protective updo styles 24/7 the center sections of each twist are far less tangled then the rooted area which deals with sweat that increases tangles within the new growth that is not exposed to a protective style such as twists or braids.  The new growth is the strongest part of your strand but due to increased tangling in this area, concentrating your favorite oils or butters on the rooted area aids in easier detangling.


6. Section

Trying to battle my hair in its entirety is a losing battle that I do not even want to think about. Sectioning your hair not only adds peace of mind to this process but ease as well. After hair is released I will proceed to section my 150 twists into an additional set of 8-10 large twisted sections.


7. One Twist at a Time

Instead of taking out all of my 150 twists at once. I tackle detangling each twist one twist at a time.  As I mentioned before not only will sectioning your hair make the detangling process easier but the more condensed sections you create as you detangle, will only ensure that you thoroughly eliminate all tangles.


8. Separate

Like tearing a piece of bread you are essentially simulating the same action without literally tearing your hair. After untwisting I will take the untwisted section starting at the root and work my way gently to the tip separating as I work my way down pulling in an outward motion. The section will still be tangled after separation this step solely loosens and preps the section for the more intricate part of my finger detangling method.


9. Vertical

When the section is separated. It is now time for some thumb action. Well really any finger can be used but the way I handle my section when detangling, the use of my thumbs is of the most convenience.  I will place the small section of hair between my index finger and thumb (with both hands) and starting at the root use the thumbs almost like a pick, and work my way down. Yes, in my finger detangling method I am committing one of the biggest taboos by starting at the root but since we are not using a comb, starting at the root is a more proficient option if you were wearing a protective style previously before finger detangling, especially since you can literally feel the tangles where as a comb would simply break tangles you may be able to remove due to sense of touch.

As I mentioned before the center and end sections of each twistout or braidout are far less tangled then the rooted area. Detangling end first can create more tightness within existing tangles by working your way up and in return consumes more time. I would only recommend detangling root first if you were previously wearing a protective style beforehand. If you are finger detangling sans protective style I would suggest detangling ends first as if you were using a comb.



10. Horizontal

The same actions to achieve vertical detangling are repeated in a horizontal manner. Horizontal detangling acts as the safety net in completely guaranteeing the section is thoroughly detangled.

Repeat: Repeat steps 2-9 on each section


Stay tuned for Part 2 as I share the pros, cons and many more additional tips I have acquired through trial and error to create an EXTREMELY successful dry finger detangling experience.

*We will have a dry finger detangling video tutorial on my process coming soon. So for those of you who would rather wait for the video to attempt my method the choice is yours but one of the reasons why I give such detailed instructions is the inclusion of the deaf natural hair community. With family members of the deaf community I know on some level how frustrating it can be to have endless video tutorials at your fingertips without getting the full gist of the info provided. A few Individuals always comment that they would rather wait for the video and hey I don’t blame them a visual is double the information but with a large natural hair deaf community we want to ensure our information is accessible to many.