The Best Way To Detangle Your Relaxed Hair

If you ask most women what their least favorite part of hair care is, several of them will probably say detangling. Yep, even with relaxed hair detangling isn’t always an easy chore.

For relaxed hair the difficulty with detangling comes into play when the new growth starts coming in. Then you have two different textures to deal with. For years I would end up with really tangled hair when I had more than 8 weeks of new growth. 

With all of that new growth my hair would start wrapping around itself and if I didn’t fully detangle my hair every week the knots would get tighter and harder to loosen without causing damage. 

My hairstylist at the time wasn’t a happy camper because she would need to do some detangling when I would go in for a relaxer touch-up. That meant I had a longer appointment, she was rushing a bit and not so careful to work through the tangles.

As a result, my scalp would be irritated so if any relaxer got on it my scalp burned. This caused some hair damage, but it was relatively minor damage considering. After a few times, I decided I needed a better method or process to detangle my hair at home.

Through some trial and error, I came up with a method or process that got my hair fully detangled each week and didn’t cause me to lose a lot of hair or length.

getting tangles out of relaxed hair with fingers.
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My method was to start detangling with my fingers, do most of the detangling with my fingers, and then follow up with my comb.

You may be thinking why would she use her fingers to detangle? Well, I’ll tell you. By using my fingers to detangle first I would be able to work out the knots and tangles that using a comb would make worse or not even catch. 

With my fingers, I found that I could really feel the tangles and gently work through them. When using my comb I was tearing through the tangles, breaking my hair, and ultimately damaging it. 

I initially started out mainly just using my fingers to detangle my hair but I soon realized that it wasn’t enough. I needed to also use a comb. This helps to get out any lingering tangles and even identify any tangles I may have missed. It also helps to remove shed hairs which when left in our hair can cause tangles. 

I only use a wide-tooth comb when detangling my hair but I’ve seen others in the relaxed hair community use a tangle teezer or detangling brush and have great results. It all comes down to what works best for your hair.

When I was coming up with my detangling process and even refining it I kept the following dos and don’ts in mind
  • Do start detangling from the ends and work up to the roots. Combing from the roots down can make the tangles worse and even tighten them leading to breakage
  • Don’t detangle on bone-dry hair. Apply some product that can help to melt or soften the tangles and allow your fingers to easily slip through your hair
  • Do be extra careful if detangling on sopping wet hair. The hair is really fragile when wet
  • Don’t use a fine-tooth comb or another tool that doesn’t easily glide through your hair
  • Do detangle in smaller sections. The smaller the sections the more thorough you can be
  • Don’t rush it. Depending on how tangled your hair is, it can take a while so make sure you allow enough time

finger detangling relaxed hair.

Here's how I detangle my relaxed hair
  • Section my dry hair into four to six sections. I secure each section using a ponytail holder or hair clip
  • Take one section and apply a natural oil, detangling spray, or conditioner with some slip. I don’t detangle my hair when it’s dry or soaking wet
  • Start detangling the section by starting at the ends and working my way up
  • Apply more product if more slip is needed or some of the knots are harder to work out.

Share your detangling process in the comments below.


  1. Finger detangling has been my go to recently and it does help with less breakage.

    1. It really does. I find I'm more gentle and take my time when finger detangling since I can actually feel the tangles.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Michele. Are there any specific products you use when finger combing?


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