Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Could it be that the Comb is not for Me?

Cree Summer played Freddie Brooks
on A Different World
(90s Sitcom)

I used to love A Different World back in the day.  Remember the episode when Freddie was going to get a professional job and she was running from Jaleesa who was chasing her with a comb?  LOL!  Ha - Maybe Freddie was on to something!  I've decided to ditch my combs and let my fingers work their magic.  Since going natural, I've always had a problem with the comb.  Every twist and curve in our hair is a potential breaking point, so I had a hard time understanding how it was possible to detangle without damage.  I did what everyone recommended: drenched my hair with water, loaded it with conditioner and detangled with a wide tooth comb.  I even used the apple cider vinegar rinse to close the cuticles before combing.  I did not lose a lot of hair during the detangling process unless I was wearing an afro or some other tangling nightmare type of hairstyle, so I can't say that process didn't work.  However, I did have a lot of shed strands getting tied up with some of the other strands.  They would form a knot and I would have to cut them.  I didn't mind cutting them, but I was starting to get annoyed with the time it took to separate those two strands and find the place where the hair needed to be cut when there were so many of them.

Right now, I'm focusing on wearing hairstyles that are not tangle monsters.  I will miss my frohawk and afro, but unless I'm trying to make a statement or I'm itching to wear a standout do, I'm going to keep it simple.  By minimizing tangles before washing, I'm able to detangle only using my fingers without the process being too cumbersome and time-consuming.  Finger detangling is a much gentler process because I'm able to feel the knots and I'm able to work them out (instead of ripping through them with a comb) and I'm often able to remove the shed hair without cutting.  However, I will keep my seamless combs in my stash for the days when I wear those standout dos :-)  

Also, thanks to a video I watched by African Export on Youtube, I am detangling dry.  She pointed out that when our hair is soaking wet, it's in its naturally curly state making detangling more difficult.  That's so true!  Why didn't I think of that??!  She detangles with conditioner and oil in her hair.  She also uses a comb and paddle brush.  I modified her process slightly to fit what I think will work best for me.  I detangle the night before washing using only coconut oil and my fingers (since I now think combs are evil).  I cover my head for the night and wash my hair in the morning while it's in twists.

Most of the time, I'm wearing a hairstyle like this, so the tangles are minimal.

Twisted Hair Don't Tangle

I occasionally wear a twistout and when I do, I retwist my hair at night and wrap it, so it doesn't get tangled during my night of wild sleeping.  The day before I plan to wash, I take out the large twists (from the style above) and wear my hair in a twistout for the day.

Big Twists = Large Fluffy Twistout = Easy Detangling

Notice how well stretched my hair is from the large twists.  I add oil to each section, detangle with my fingers, re-twist and wash.

I'm still amazed at my hair.  This is worth protecting!

I untwist, add my conditioner, re-twist and sit under my hair steamer for about 20 minutes (I will likely eliminate this step during the warm humid months).  After I rinse the conditioner out with the twists in, I untwist, add my leave-in conditioner, re-twist and let it air dry.  Usually once or twice between washes, I will untwist, spritz it with a little rosewater, oil each section and re-twist.  That's a lot of twisting and re-twisting I know, but I think it's a safer process and because I'm loving my piles of thick hair, I think it's worth it!

Knowing me, I'll probably change this process again at some point, but for now, this is my new detangling method and I decided that the comb is not for me.  I'll observe my hair over the next few months to see if I notice any difference.

~Loving Me Naturally


  1. Ok, I'm having so much hair envy right now. :)

  2. @Wendi - I don't know why! You were wearing a cute curly style that I tried to copy and my hair was a mess! If my hair would do what yours do, then maybe I wouldn't be running from the comb! LOL

  3. I agree 100% with this article. Keeping hair stretched, detangling on damp hair and fingercombing are awesome things. Using those techniques has made detanging my highly textured hair infinitely easier.

  4. Thanks for your comment. It's great to know this is working well for you (especially since it's new for me). I've been using this technique for about a month now and I think it's definitely a keeper. It's a little more work, but I think it's worth it!

  5. You hair is beautiful!

    I think we're hair twins!

    I was wondering how I can trim my hair w/out getting it straighten...I'll use the search and destroy method!

    Beautiful beautiful hair!

    I hear you about the windy city weather...its brutal and I hate it!

    I'll be keeping on eye on you

  6. Thanks Nani! The search and destroy method is especially effective if you have a few random splits. And thankfully warmer weather is just around the corner, so our hair will be able to soak up the humidity ;-)

    All the best!