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Cipriana’s 10-Step Finger Detangling Routine

Avatar • Feb 13, 2012

4. Release

After hair is stretched for a minimum of 6 hours I will release my loose twists from the bantu knots or braids, prepping for the next step.

5. Oils & Butters

Once hair is released I place a quick layer of my favorite oils onto my strands by gently grabbing my hair into sections and really concentrating on the ends since they are the elders of the strand and are more susceptible to breakage during detangling. I also pay special attention to my roots. I find that since my hair is in protective updo styles 24/7 the center sections of each twist are far less tangled then the rooted area which deals with sweat that increases tangles within the new growth which is not part of the protective style. The new growth is the strongest part of your strand but due to increased tangling in this area, concentrating your favorite oils or butters on the rooted area aids in easier detangling.

6. Section

Trying to battle my hair in its entirety is a losing battle that I do not even want to think about. Sectioning your hair not only adds peace of mind, but it increases the ease of the process. After hair is released I proceed to section my 150 twists into an additional set of 8–10 large twisted sections.

7. One Twist at a Time

Instead of taking out all of my 150 twists at once I tackle detangling one twist at a time. As I mentioned before not only will sectioning your hair make the detangling process easier but the more condensed sections you create as you detangle will ensure that you thoroughly eliminate all tangles.

8. Separate

After untwisting I will take the untwisted section starting at the root and work my way gently to the tip separating as I work my way down pulling in an outward motion. The section will still be tangled after separation, this step simply loosens and preps the section for the more intricate part of my finger detangling method.

9. Vertical

When the section is separated. It is now time for some thumb action. Well really any finger will do but for the way I handle my section when detangling, the use of my thumbs is most convenient. I will place the small section of hair between my index finger and thumb (with both hands) and starting at the root use the thumbs almost like a pick, and work my way down. Yes, in my finger detangling method I am committing one of the biggest taboos by starting at the root but since we are not using a comb, starting at the root is a more efficient option if you were wearing a protective style, especially since you can literally feel the tangles that a comb would simply break.

As I mentioned before the center and end sections of each twistout or braidout are far less tangled then the rooted area. Detangling ends first can create more tightness within existing tangles and, in turn, consume more time. I would only recommend detangling root first if you were previously wearing a protective style. If you are finger detangling a fro or blowout or other ‘out’ style, I would suggest detangling ends first as if you were using a comb.

10. Horizontal

The same vertical detangling method is repeated horizontally. This acts as the safety net in completely guaranteeing the section is thoroughly detangled.

Repeat: Repeat steps 2–9 on each section

Ladies, what does your finger detangling routine look like?

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caribbeancurl
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caribbeancurl

I would love to see a video of his becasue i cannot phathom this beiing succesful on my EXTREMEly thick. Question though…do you detangle, wash, then detangle again? I am trying to figure out how to wash hair without it tangling again..and yes i do wash in braided/twisted sections.

Monisola
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Monisola

After two years of trial and error..I detangle before I wash my hair. I do not detangle afterwards (I shower in loose braids)…any tangling that occurs during the wash is minimal (inconsequential) and will be detangled the following week. Natural hair is (almost) never perfectly straight without intertwining hairs. That is what curly hair is…instead we try to prevent really truly knotted hair that will break.

Olie
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Olie

great tip!

Dunia
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Can I just say what a relief to find soeomne who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

Monisola
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Monisola

Thank you! Finally a real break down. SO often on these sites advice is given but not broken down, which could lead to misunderstandings and dangerous hair care practices. Thanks so much for the thorough explanation.

Tameka
Guest

This is pretty cool. I finger detangle all the time. In fact, I never use anything other than my fingers to detangle my hair! Thanks for posting! Check out my blog you might like it! lifeofablackgirl.wordpress.com

Naomi
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Naomi

Great article, I do this too after my hair has been hidden away in any protective style. I do add conditioner and oils after I have done the whole finger detangling thing and glide a comb through before washing. Its good to see that with a little more patience I could actually cut it- comb- out of my routine.

Lola
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Lola

I still don’t understand the horizontal and vertical detangling

Wathair
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Wathair

Thanks for breakingit down but I would also like to see a video to get a better idea.

Gem
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Gem

I would like to see a video too.

Ibnokathier
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Your hair looks amazing. I’m so sad that I falied in coming to see you during my break. I still have the cutest present for your princess, but I’m scared it might be too small now due to my failure. We need to get together soon!!!!

hyspin
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hyspin

video, Video, VIDEO! 🙂

please.

HomeGrownHairGirl
Guest

I think a video tutorial would be best to describe this method. Especially, because there are many steps!

I am confused about the vertical and horizontal thing, too…

HGHG

HummingLoon
Guest

I saw a tip on this from male style icon on here recently, so I’ve started finger detangling in the shower. Since I moved to Holland, my hair is less pliable and I lose a lot of hair in the shower. So far, with finger detangling, I don’t lose any more hair than I do using a comb. The big advangage is that it’s faster and doesn’t stress my scalp. I’ll have to try the oil for slippage and detangle from the roots. The oil especially already sounds like it will be effective. From what I understand… and do: The… Read more »

Natalie
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Natalie

Scary. I would not want to deal with that much hair or the dry detangling process. I always detangle after a DC, I don’t have the patience to dry detangle. I usually apply a conditioner leave it for 30 minutes with or without heat then finger comb in sections then comb through (only time I use a comb and I really miss it) twist my hair into sections and rinse, I only shampoo once a month, then a black tea rinse. My hair is only 8″ reaching to my bottom lip, I just want shoulder length hair, about 14″ that… Read more »

Amayou
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Amayou

Ditto, I’d love to see a tutorial on how she accomplishes it. Of course not the whole thing because I’m sure it takes hours if not days, but if she could do a small section that’d be greatly appreciated.

mangomadness
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mangomadness

I love finger-detangling for my medium length (10–11 inches), afro-textured hair. Before shampooing, I section my dry stretched hair into 12 parts, apply conditioner and/or oil to a section, finger-detangle and then two-strand twist it. It takes about 45 minutes to an 1 hour to do my whole head.

Here are some finger-detangling tutorials from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ21h_fzF34

Jc
Guest

The first video you linked is my go to video when people ask for a video. I had never seen the other two and they are both really good too, great choices!:)

Melanie
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Melanie

When I saw 10 steps and 150 twists, this method freaked me completely out! How long does this take? I think a video would help explain, as this sounds extremely complicated and tedious. I have many questions, but my first is at Step 1 (dry hair): how do you get to dry hair without detangling? Feels chicken/egg-ish (I need to detangle my hair to dry it but I need it dry in order to detangle???). Help.

mangomadness
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mangomadness

how do you get to dry hair without detangling?”

You detangle before shampooin–Your hair is “dry” (not soaking wet like after a wash).

imani
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imani

i recently started using finger detangling combined with using a good detangling spray before i wash my hair to loosen all knots and snags. I finger detangle once the detangling spray has sat in my hair for a few minutes and i follow up with a wide tooth comb bc i shed like CRAZY!Its almost scary the amount of hair i shed everytime i finger detangle. I justify not panicking or bursting into teasr by reminding myself i dont comb my hair all week to avoid too much manipulation.On a rare occassion i try mid-week to spray and detangle but… Read more »

Luisa
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hey, karen so coincidental. i just came back from getnitg a trim (bags included) and was talking with my stylist about maybe coloring my hair. mind you, no dye has touched my hair for at least three years and i don’t have any greys even tho i’m firmly ensconced in my thirties (knock on wood). my stylist said that if anything, i should do highlights, but once i start, i won’t be able to stop. that was enough to convince me to leave my color as is, even tho, like you, i’m tempted to give myself a reason to try… Read more »

jen127
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jen127

sounds like you use A LOT of oils. Doesn’t it stain your clothes?

Jackie
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Home Care
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