Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural

Finger Detangling



Some people do it in the shower. Some people do it with oil. Some people use tools such as combs or brushes. I’m talking about detangling natural hair, and everyone’s got their own technique as well as favorite products for the job.

Many naturals, though, swear by finger detangling. But when I started doing it, I just wanted to swear at someone. How were they all just gliding their hands through all those kinks and curls? And then they had the nerve to say it only took forty-five minutes, tops! I’d give up and grab my comb, but as my hair got longer, I had to face the music.

It took hours to finger detangle. My shoulders hurt. My neck hurt. I couldn’t keep organized, and my hair still felt tangled in places. Needless to say, it took a long time to tailor all the internet advice to my own technique, and I’m still improving upon it years later.

How I Do It

First things first: I must work in sections. It keeps me organized, and it keeps me from being overwhelmed.

Secondly, I discovered it was better to work on my most fragile areas first. I’m much gentler and more patient at the start of a session than when I’ve been at it for an hour and just want to be done. I do my least tangly textures last because they won’t break as easily if I get tired and speed it up a little.

Much, much later I got the mechanical motions down–how I hold my hands to be gentle yet thorough in removing shed hairs, how to flatten and separate strands between my fingertips, and how to incorporate the harp method.

Later still, I found Urban Bush Babes and gave up going over the ends first in favor of starting from the roots. I then traded in raking for criss-cross parting, going horizontally followed by vertically. (TheChicNatural demonstrates a similar technique.) Once the grid is complete, I move on to the next section.

Keep At It

Finger detangling does not come naturally. It takes practice, a lot of diligence, and quite a bit of mental cursing. But getting mad at my hair was not an option, and I am stubborn when it comes to mastering a new skill.

How about you all? Are you still working on your detangling skills? How long did it take you to get the hang of it? Share in the comments. For even more detangling tips, check out my Dear Newly Natural series.

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Author: pursuitofnatural

I'm an illustrator! The Pursuit of Natural started as a blog on the hijinks, lowjinks, and lessons learned from going natural, and it's my home base for all things art, natural hair, and more.

20 thoughts on “Finger Detangling

  1. when it comes to untangling my hair its like i’m facing a dragon lol…..the only thing that helps is if my hair is damp and i have a proper big teeth comb, that whole finger detangling crap only makes my head tender and fingers hurt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear ya. We have to do what works and stick with what makes the process easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a newly loc’d natural partly because of the detangling. I would always wear my hair in a rolled or flat-twisted halo in order to keep my hair all in the same direction so that detangling would be easier. Obviously this limited my style options. So I just loc’d my hair to avoid detangling all together. I always say that I still have “detangle anxiety” when I’m about to wash my hair because I procrastinate. But I don’t have to detangle anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That featured image is pretty Awesome! Super creative.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Dear
    I nominated you for the mystery blogger award

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Finger detangling is so important to me, I don’t think my 4c hair can survive without it.


  7. I usually finger detangle in sections and under running water w/o product. My goal isn’t to get every single tangle out, its mainly to tackle the big ones and then I go in with a wide tooth comb.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent point! It’s important to stop detangling when you’ve got all the major tangles and shed hair out. I used to overdo it until I understood that at a certain point I was just pulling out hairs that didn’t need to come out.

      Thanks for your thoughts!


  8. I’ve heard of this but never felt I’d be patient enough to do it. It’s good I read your experience with it & for the sake of getting long & healthy hair. I’ll give it a shot! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Dear Newly Natural Me: Let It (Combs) Go | Pursuit of Natural

  10. Pingback: Criss-cross Finger Detangling | Pursuit of Natural

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