Last week in part 1 of this 2 part series I delved into the topic of finger detangling and discussed my finger detangling 10 step process. As I mentioned in Part 1, finger detangling has been extremely beneficial for my strands leading to the retaining of more length due to less breakage and split ends and more density overall. Here I will discuss additional tips I have useful in aiding in an easier and successful finger detangling session as well as the pros and cons of this method.
*Some tips are reiterated from “Finger Detangling: My 10 step Process”
If your hair feels extremely dry and brittle please retain in attempting dry finger detangling. Your hair must be moisturized or you will not have a successful experience with this method. Now if dry and brittle is the state of your hair I would suggest spritzing your hair with water the night before and placing your favorite natural oil or butter, then once 90% dry, continue with your regular nighttime routine of a satin scarf or pillow case. I like to call this tip a “quick sealing intervention”. The next day your hair should be moisturized and ready to go.
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
Oils & Butters
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.
Root to Tip
Yes, 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.
Also shed hairs have a tendency to cause even more tangling and single strand knots upon hair that has not finished its anagen and telogen phase or growth and resting phase. Detangling end first can create more tightness within existing tangles and shedding hair by working your way up the strands, which in return increases your susceptibility for single strand knots while consuming more time as well. 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.
Bottom to Top or Top to Bottom
Along your hair journey when you’re really beginning to become familiar with your crown you are able to realize in most cases your strands as a whole do not respond cohesively. I have noticed the nape and sections toward the nape tangle the most. So I have found during my detangling sessions this area is the best place to begin. When I begin my detangling sessions it seems I have all the energy in the world but once hours go by my energy and patience is on stable ground. Over the years I have found tackling the most difficult sections first helps to distribute the same level of patience throughout the entire detangling session as my energy begins to dissipate.
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.
As I mentioned before in Part 1 “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.”
Knots & Tangles
When you hit that dreaded knot or tangle, try and grasp the strand as close to the knotted area as possible. I have found the success rate of saving a strand without breakage is much more a reality if you work closer to the base of the problem. Manipulating further away from the base of the problem will only increase tension as you are pulling and working to free your strand.
The use of oils and butters while dry finger detangling add the necessary slip to achieve a successful experience with this method. As I mentioned in Part 1 slip is an impertinent part of this process! Without it you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Concentration of oils or butters on Rooted Areas and Tips
Concentrate oils 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 rooted area which deals with sweat 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.
Wide Tooth Comb
If you are new to the game of finger detangling, a wide tooth comb can be quite helpful until you master this method. Once you have finished finger detangling a section of your hair. Starting from tip to root gently comb through the finger detangled section. If you can comb with ease then you are beginning to master finger detangling.
You will be surprised at how time seems to fly by when detangling your hair if some form of entertainment is in involved such as music or movies. Listening to your favorite jams or watching your favorite movies can take your mind off of the tedious act of finger detangling, causing more patience. I would not suggest detangling your hair while watching a scary movie, regardless if you are using your fingers or a comb, being spooked off your chair while detangling is just setting your self up for unnecessary hair lost.
Without patience the entire finger detangling process along with all these tips are just in vain. Patience is the most important factor when in regards to finger detangling or hair in general. You may as well sail off to sea with a big a@s hole at the bottom of your ship because eventually your hair is going down. Without patience you will break strands that you most likely will be able to detangle which defeats the whole purpose of finger detangling.
By using your fingers you are literally able to feel tangles within your hair that you may be able to detangle due to sense of touch where as a comb may simply cause breakage no matter how careful you are.
Retain More Length
Due to gentler manipulation through finger detangling you greatly increase your chances of retaining more length.
Changes in Density
Finger detangling causes a domino or chain like effect. Less breakage equals retaining more length, which changes the density of your hair leading to additional thickness.
With all of the advantages finger detangling bestows upon your hair, with those advantages comes sacrifice and it will manifests in the form of time. Finger detangling takes plenty of patience and since you are giving your strands more of your undivided attention this translates to more work therefore more time.
Dreads are hands down one of the most beautiful styles you can rock but if this is not for you, unintentional dreading can easily become your reality with un-proper finger detangling etiquette.
*These are tips I have created over the years but as always these tips will vary for everyone. Want additional information on finger detangling checkout out Part 1 of this two part series as well as a previous article in which I discuss…To Comb or Not to Comb that is the Question: Comb VS Fingers.