Detangling Hair: Do's and Don'ts for Curls


Detangling hair, especially curly hair, can be tedious. It is however, one of the most important steps you can take to keep your hair healthy and strong. That being said, there’s a right, and a wrong, way to detangle your curls.

Detangling hair all boils down to how you treat it in the process. “Being too rough on curly hair—combing, pulling, and stretching—can lead to shredding of the cuticle [hair’s protective outer layer],” says Ouidad Curl Advisory Board member Helen Wagmeister, a certified trichologist and hair stylist at Cosmo & Company in West Palm Beach, FL. A damaged cuticle makes curls more prone to breakage and knots, and can leave hair looking frizzy and dull.

For strong, damage-free curls, let your detangling hair M.O. be “do no harm”—here’s how.

1. Start detangling in the shower.

Always detangle curly hair while it’s wet, never dry. Coat hair with conditioner (choose a formula with plenty of slip), and working in sections, use a wide tooth comb to gently loosen tangles.

2. Detangle curls before you shampoo.

If your curls are especially prone to tangling, work through knots before you lather up. “I like to detangle curls before shampooing with  VitalCurl Balancing Rinse Conditioner,” says Ayanna Augustine, senior stylist at Ouidad’s New York flagship salon and Curl Advisory Board member. “Detangle first, then wash and condition.”

3. Go bottoms up.

When detangling your hair, start with your ends and work your way up to the root. Combing from top to bottom can make tangles worse, and lead to breakage.

4. Keep curls tangle-free.

After cleansing and conditioning, prep your curls with a moisturizing primer as the first step in your styling routine—this will help prevent knots as your hair dries. “The Advanced Climate Control Detangling Heat Spray    really helps to prime the hair—there’s a lot of slip to it,” Wagmeister says. The best hair detanglers nourish strands with natural oils (Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, Macadamia Nut, Coconut, Argan, and Safflower), which is how our formula helps keep curls healthy and free of tangles.

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