Do you ever still think about a traumatic hair detangling session from when you were a kid? It’s not just us right? Whew. Listen, that stays with you. Whether you want to blame it on your parents, a sibling, or take responsibility for that one day you got very impatient, it’s happened to the best of us. 

Even if you’re a pro at caring for your natural hair, it’s easy to fall into bad hair care habits or overlook the importance of proper tools, techniques, and patience. 

Since natural black hair tends to be extremely curly and dry, it doesn’t take much to develop knots and tangles. All natural hair will require some extra lovin to look it’s best, but other factors like climate or physical activity can also impact how tangled your strands can get. While sometimes daunting or annoying, detangling is a crucial process in caring for your naturally curly hair. Don’t worry! Armed with gentle hair products like a Shea Moisture Detangler, proper technique, and a bit of patience, you can easily tackle managing your natural hair. Let’s jump into some foolproof (and pain-free) ways to detangle your curls and coils on wash day and beyond.

Understanding Hair Texture: Curls vs Coils

While we sometimes group curls and coils in the same sentence these hair types are very different. Detangling and caring for your hair will depend on your unique texture and pattern. 

For example, coils tend to be drier than curls and may need to be infused with oils during the detangling process. Similarly, tighter textures may find it easier to divide your hair into 4-8 sections and work carefully though each section. You’ll likely have to experiment with tools, products, and techniques to find the best method for you and your hair type.

Thankfully there are some universal tips and tricks for easily (and safely) detangling natural hair of all types. Keep in mind you may need to slightly adjust them to suit your strands the best.

Detangling Natural Hair

Before we dive in, we have to remind you that caring for your hair should never feel like a chore. Instead, reframe detangling sessions and use that time to treat yo’self! While detangling your curls and coils put on a guilty-pleasure TV show, listen to that podcast you downloaded weeks ago, or indulge in a sweet treat. 

Diverting your attention is going to make hair detangling go by much quicker and make you feel even more productive. Ready? Grab a drink, put on some music and let’s do this.

Always Use A Pre-Shampoo 

One of the most important steps on wash day is one you might be underestimating or completely forgetting to do. Using a gentle formula like our Moisture Miracle Pre-Shampoo is an integral step to ensuring tangle-free tresses. Not only is the perfect way to detangle your strands but it also preps them for washing. Incorporating a pre-shampoo into your wash day regimen also helps to minimize breakage and better defines coils. 

Moisture Miracle Pre-Shampoo

This lightweight cream moisturizes and detangles hair using the natural benefits of Aloe Vera and Coconut Water. Gently comb through your hair and let it sink into strands for a few minutes before rinsing. This will soften hair and remove knots and tangles, especially if you’re taking hair out of a protective style.

Wash & Condition With Gentle Formulas

After gently detangling with a pre-shampoo, get hair wet with warm or cool water, never hot. Depending on your hair texture, density, and length you might find it’s easier to divide hair into sections and work through each slowly. 

Regardless of your hair type it’s important to use a hydrating, sulfate-free shampoo that will cleanse and detangle strands without stripping it of its natural oils. Harsh formulas will cause dryness, which in turn can lead to more frizz and tangles. 

shea miracle

Pick a gentle hair detangler shampoo specifically created for natural hair like our Shea Miracle Detangling Shampoo and concentrate it throughout the scalp. Follow with a nourishing Coconut Oil Conditioner that gently replenishes dry, delpelted coils, and curls. 

This rich formula combines the natural conditioning benefits of Honey and Coconut Oil, with the restorative benefits of Chocolate (Cacao) to nourish dry coils and curls while providing the perfect balance of slip and hydration for instant detangling.

Get Regular Trims

We all want that long hair don’t care vibe, but sometimes we need to say bye to those inches to be healthy. Regular trims are important to remove any dead or split ends, ensuring your curls and coils stay healthy. Plus, they help to tame increased tangles since curls can get extra knotty when ends are splitting and hair is dry or brittle. 

If your hair is already growing, getting trims won’t stop that growth so no need to worry, it will simply make sure that you’re growing out hair that won’t be so damaged you need to chop it all off down the road. 

Trimming just ¼ or ½ of an inch every 6-10 weeks will keep your ends healthy but ask your hairstylist what they would recommend based on your actual hair. We also recommend trimming slightly more in the winter months because cold, dry air tends to increase splitting.

Comb Hair The Right Way

Ends to roots, repeat it with us! Always, always comb through your delicate curls and coils from ends to roots! Combing from top to bottom can make tangles worse and lead to breakage. Keep in mind that wet hair is much more susceptible to breakage and damage so a gentle touch is necessary. 

When it comes to detangler combs make sure you reach for one with wide-spread spokes. For hair brushes sometimes it pays to have expensive taste. Instead of plastic or nylon bristles that are rough on your delicate strands, look for natural bristle brushes that have pliable bristles or ones with more spacing (venting) as they allow for better control. 

Don’t want to splurge on a fancy brush? Don’t worry, one of the best ways to gently detangle strands is already on you: your fingers. Using your fingers to rake through curls (ends to roots!) allows maximum control with minimal damage.

Apply Shea Moisture Detangler or Leave-In Conditioner

The last thing you want to have happen after all that work is to have your curls and coils become dry, frizzy and tangled again. After shampooing and conditioning with gentle nourishing formulas (like our Shea Miracle Detangling Shampoo) spritz a generous amount of leave-in conditioner to hair. 

shea miracle leave in conditioner

Our Shea Miracle Detangler Leave-In Conditioner softens and moisturizes while helping to easily detangle wet hair. Enriched with african shea butter, it instantly detangles and tames frizz for smooth curls, coils and waves, nourishing every strand for greater shine and softness.
Slowly comb shea moisture detangler from ends up to roots (using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb) before styling or drying. Remember that wet hair is much more susceptible to breakage and damage so it’s very important to always handle wet hair gently.

Maintaining Tangle-Free Hair 

Detangling natural hair isn’t just delegated to wash day. In between wash sessions be sure to use a combination of oils and leave-in conditioner to maintain healthy, shiny, and nourished hair while keeping strands tangle-free. 

Putting hair into a protective style is the best way to ensure curly and textured hair stays strong and secure. Aside from looking fly, protective styles keep hair moisturized, growing, and shielded from elements that cause tangles.

We can’t stress enough how important sleeping in a protective style is to ensure you wake up with moisturized, tangle-free strands.

We’re sure you’ve heard this a million times but it’s worth repeating, in addition to putting hair in a protective style always wear a bonnet to bed and use a silk or satin pillowcase. The friction caused by your hair rubbing against cotton can cause tangles, breakage, and frizz. 

Cotton also absorbs moisture, leaving your curls dried out by the time you wake up. 

Using a satin pillowcase and/or bonnet helps to keep your strands full of moisture as satin won’t damage your natural hair. Bonus points, satin is also known to help your skin breathe.  

Even with these expert tips, tangles in natural hair are bound to happen. Don’t get frustrated! Keep using the right products and proper techniques to ensure your hair stays as healthy and happy as possible. Trust us, it’ll pay off in the long run.