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4 Hair Tools that 4B/4C Naturals Should Avoid

• Oct 7, 2013

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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Let’s be real.  Not every loose 4B/4C natural solely uses her fingers as her tools.  Wide tooth combs and the ends of rattail combs are just a few other necessities that may be in our stash.  That being said, are there certain “natural hair” tools that we should probably avoid?  The answer is yes.  Here are four of these tools:

1. Tangle Teezer 

tangle

This tool was (and still is) so talked about in the natural hair community that many ladies jumped on the bandwagon – including me.  However, as quickly as that craze started, YouTube videos and hair care forums flooded with the talk of breakage and split ends from the Tangle Teezer.  What’s more?  A large portion of that talk was coming from those with 4B/4C natural hair.  With that, I quickly put my Tangle Teezer into hiding.  It just is not designed to “teeze” our kinky “tangles” without doing a bit of damage over time.

2. Denman D3 or D4 

brush

Before the Tangle Teezer bandwagon, there was the Denman D3 (and D4) one.  I admittedly jumped on that one – for a short minute – too.  Unlike the quick flood of complaints that followed after the Tangle Teezer, there was no flood after the Denman – it was more gradual and subtle.  Nowadays, it becomes pretty clear across the hair care boards and YouTube that the D3 and D4 is more so used for curl definition, which 4B/4C naturals lack.  Additionally, some of us who have tried the tools complain about snagging and breakage.  However, not all Denmans are created equal; there are the D31 and D41, which have wider spaces between the nylon pins and may be better choices … but, I’m good.

3. Velcro Rollers

velcro

Velcro rollers work by gripping to the hair via tiny (usually nylon) loops.  Just the sound of that does not sound too kind for our kinky tresses.  Now, imagine separating those tiny loops from your hair once dry.  While these rollers posed no real problem on my relaxed hair, I can envision them doing great damage on my 4B/4C hair.  Additionally, I don’t have to look far to read a few horror stories from those with my hair type who have been bold enough to use them on their natural hair.  I’ll pass and stick with my smooth snap‐on magnetic rollers.

4. Alligator clips

clips

These are the metal clips with the teeth, hence the name “alligator”.  Do you really want an alligator latching onto your hair?  (Okay, that was a lame attempt at humor.)  So, back to the alligator clips, whose teeth can easily tangle with our kinks and tiny coils.  They are generally used for placing the hair into sections or as part of hair accessories (e.g., a flower hair pin).  It is probably better to go for the smooth duckbills clips (especially plastic ones) instead.

Ladies, have you tried any of these hair tools? 

About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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Tai
Guest
Tai

I actually like the Tangle Teezer to detangle my fine 4c hair. I only do it once a month or every 6 weeks since I’m always in a protective style. It also helps that my hair is loaded with conditioner when I use the tangle teezer, it gets rid of my shed hair like no other.

Somewherebeyondthesea
Guest
Somewherebeyondthesea

I agree. I use the tangle tamer (Tangle teezers cousin) and it works fine for my 4a,4b hair. And my hair is fine with medium density.
You never know what will work for your hair unless you try it.
There are so many factors on whether something will or will not work for someone. Like how often were they using it. How were they using it. What were they using it with…yada, yada, yada.

JustSayin
Guest
JustSayin

I agree! I have 4b/c fine hair and it works just fine for me. I had less breakage from it actually

Yonnie
Guest
Yonnie

I recently bought a tangle teazer after they used it on my hair in the salon. I use it mostly for the detangling closer to my scalp and I use the paddle brush to detangle the rest. I might reconsider after reading this though.

kb
Guest
kb

I think women w/type 4 and fine should avoid combs! I use my fingers, and only comb once a week if that.

kb
Guest
kb

4 and fine hair

Vonnie
Guest
Vonnie

*looks at list* Nope, don’t have or never had any of these products, I’m good.….

MsKat
Guest
MsKat

I have a slightly looser curl pattern and my hair is short right now. That being said, I have a tangle teezer, and I use it sometimes to detangle after a shampoo; when my hair was longer I only used it to style my hairpieces (I enjoy a clip on ponytail sometimes, and have a wig for emergencies). It’s great for that. I had a denman, and for years and years I used it for detangling after shampoo, but not for dry styling; I eventually gave up because you have to replace them ever so often, because the rubber base… Read more »

Iva
Guest
Iva

Re #2. The Denman is super easy to modify, i.e. remove some of the teeth, and the modified denman works really well for me. It’s cheaper/easier to find than the four row one although I really like paddle brushes as well.

Teetee
Guest
Teetee

I love my Denman I modified it so it only has five rows now that and a wide tooth comb work great.

Ray
Guest
Ray

Yep I think mine has 4 rows, and I use a wide tooth shower comb. I use my fingers too I think it’s just part instinct to use them to a degree, but let’s be real, fingers are not going to grab and remove all shed hair like a comb or even a denman can. And nother distributes conditioner like the deman, my hair becomes instantly soft and supple with a couple rakes of the denman, every strand is coated. I only use the denman once a week the rest of the time it’s fingers and shower comb. I have… Read more »

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I don’t quite have the tangle teaser I think I have its competitor. Its a good product. I don’t use it all the time and I do have the Denman brush. It was hard to use while blow drying my hair when it was shorter, but now its a better now that it is a little longer. I’ve never used Velcro rollers and I use the chi clips. They are great. Really hold your hair in place when you are sectioning your hair.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

In regards to the anti comb sentiments here… It’s not the tool that’s the problem. It’s how you use it. If you are not gentle with your hair, it doesn’t matter if you use fingers or a fine tooth comb, you’re going to pull hair out. Further, it doesn’t matter what tool you use, if you have a matted wash n go or knots in your hair, you are going to have breakage. I have kinky 4c hair. I have about 75% or more shrinkage from a wash n go. I finger detangled ONLY on my hair for more than… Read more »

darkchildlovethyhair
Guest

You are so right.

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

Jesse I have to disagree. When you are dealing with fine 4c hair it tools other than your hands can cause some unintended trims. I use to use the Denman in the beginning of my journey but realized it was snatching out my hair. I still use the occassional wide tooth comb but only after finger detangling really well. Even going slow in small sections ill hear a snap and have to put it down. I’m not anti tool as I think you ladies with thicker hair need them. Everybody should finger detangle first no matter which tool you use… Read more »

TS
Guest
TS

I cant live without my denman, but i remove every other row of teeth

ayisha
Guest
ayisha

I have never tried any of this tools on my 4c hair, THANK GOD
I have only two tools for my hair, a rat tail comb and a wide tooth comb, am good to go.. I am extra gentle when it comes to may 4c fragile hair.

xyzebra
Guest
xyzebra

Conditions do matter (how coated the hair is, moisture level, etc.) but I agree with this list and I did give the Tangle Teezer and Denman a real try. I even modified the Denman by taking out rows. I believe that over time they were shredding my hair. I now stick with fingers, a wide tooth comb and an a flexible plastic afro pick.

Yas
Guest
Yas

To each his or her own. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to avoid a comb. Sometimes, it’s really depends how you use the tool. Personally, I like the tangle teaser–my hair is 4a/4b. I don’t have time to finger de‐tangle for 3–4 hours; then wash and style for another 3–4 hours. Some girls do, but I don’t. While it is not a perfect tool (nothing is); I prefer to work with this option because it produces the least amount of damage as far as tools go and saves me a load of time. I find the Tangle Teaser works best when… Read more »

Coco
Guest
Coco

I have not seen any natural use velcro rollers.

What on earth.

MsKat
Guest
MsKat

I was natural when my mom used them on me… and had fine, mid back length hair… That’s why they hurt so much! First chance I got they disappeared, never to be seen again. They even hurt when you use them after a press & curl. Horrible little things.

Kayla
Guest
Kayla

Yikes! Yeah, those things don’t look friendly at all! I would discreetly dispose of them as well. :p

Tai
Guest
Tai

My tools of choice are my fingers, my seamless wide tooth comb, and my black power pick for styling. I gave the modified Denman a try, but even with gentle handling I noticed over time my the ends of my hair became very tapered and thin. I trimmed the weak ends and put the Denman brush down. My 4C, hair retains length much better now.

ro
Guest
ro

I like to use a wide tooth comb. I feel there is less breakage as opposed to the Denman especially the ends.

Maria V.
Guest

I agree with the first 3. Had to learn the hard way!

However I do use duck clips which are similar to alligator clips and I’ve never had any problems.

ADRZ
Guest
ADRZ

i only use fingers. but brush hurts! I might have to throw it away… I really don’t use comb unless I have to seperate up my braid out and make it look bigger.

I only use it on special occassional , no else

Elle
Guest
Elle

These things obviously work for some, regardless of hair type, density, strand thickness, length, porosity, tangle issues, etc. There’s always a list of do’s and dont’s that either reaffirm, terrify or alienate some natural, their choices and the reality of their hair.

I don’t have problems with combs or brushes, as long as they’re burr‐free/seamless. I’ve used plastic, silicone and carbon alligator clips, I haven’t seen metal in years. Velcro rollers always looked like they poked holes in any hair.

Kay
Guest
Kay

Damn, I have an alligator clip in my hair right now…

Keas
Guest
Keas

I love my denman I never use it on my dry hair tho. I use it to help me define my curls so my hair is usually well detangled by this point or to help me detangle with LOADS of conditioner in my hair!

Georgette
Guest
Georgette

I have fine multitextured hair. Im not in the “4bcaz etc…curls pattern” dats not define my hair and it s not helping me. I discover that i have fine medium hair and i use every product dats kind of texture. Tangle teezer works for me its helping to reduce breakage and retaining lenght. I think we havd to stop doing article on curls patterns but more of the thickness of her hair… like “what to avoid if u are thick hair”

Sabrina Antoinnette < link to instagram profile
Guest

I appreciate this article and agree with most of the items on the list, but like your idea Georgette. There is no magical “type” for any of our hair and I guarantee that we all have traces of various curl patterns amongst our strands. It would be great to have a similar article on tools for fine vs. thick hair. I am multi‐textures, so my golden rule is if I can’t physically feel my strands I can’t use it. I typically work only with my hands, an ultra wide toothed bone comb (rarely use and only on detangles hair), and… Read more »

Sabrina Antoinnette < link to instagram profile
Guest

gosh! Autocorrect — pardon the botched grammar and missing words on a couple of occasions :-/

linnie
Guest
linnie

I never tried the tangle teezer or the denman‐neither one looked like it was a good thing for natural hair. I started off using a wide toothed comb but soon gave that up too. I like to detangle my 3c‐4a hair with my fingers. My hair is full with thin strands and combs yank out too much of my hair.

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

A modified knockoff Denman tore my dense, kinky coily Afro‐textured hair up years ago. I detangled with it after shampooing on sectioned, “conditioner‐coated” hair. It was a hot, tangly, struggle‐filled mess.

I switched to finger‐detangling soon after and my hair is much happier (less breakage, less “snap, crackle, pop!”, etc.)

TeteLorraine
Guest
TeteLorraine

Sorry.…my hair LOVRS the tangle teaser. I finger detangle and use the reaser. NOthing else does what the teaser does for my hair. Everyoned hair is different…even those who supposedly habe the same ‘hair type’

Toia B.
Guest

Agreed! I use mine exactly the same way, after finger detangling to finish the job. Love it.

Brina
Guest
Brina

My hair loves the tangle teaser. I use only when my hair is wet, I first use my fingers, then wide tooth comb, then the tangle teaser. Especially when i have left my hair in a stlye for two weeks or longer to help get reid of the shed hair.

Toia B.
Guest

Same here Brina. That thing is a BOSS for shed hair! Love my Tangle Teezer.

the mane captain
Guest

I am anti-tools,so I agree with all you have to say. I have slow growth and hair that likes to snap with the slightest touch, so putting a comb, let alone a brush through my hair won’t work. The tangle teezer alone looks scary just looking at it. yikes!
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Love JAH
Guest
Love JAH

The denman is used for styling…clearly, the hair should be moisturized properly before styling…a lot of naturals are so funny with anti this and anti that… I think it’s hilarious I’m starting to believe common sense ain’t so common…

leneybean
Guest
leneybean

I love my denman brush. I use it for detangling but I took 3 of the rows out so its not too mad. Also, my hair is transitioning so I’m getting a lot of breakage no matter what. But even when I was natural it was a go to.

Tira
Guest
Tira

I use this scalp massage brush. The spread of the “bristles” helps to guide my fingers to anything that tries to tangle. it’s perfect for my wash and go, my coils dry quite defined. there’s no seal to worry about causing any unintended snag in the hair shaft.[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/SBS-345898.jpg[/img]

Jamz
Guest
Jamz

where did u get this? and what is ur hair type? i have 4c hair, should i give this a try??

Kan
Guest
Kan

I’m sorry I can’t get with the finger detangling lots of naturals swear by. I tried it two or three times and I wanted to assume fetal position several times in the process. It was just too discouraging watching the sun rise and then set while I was still trying to finger my way through the kinks. I discovered that if I just use a product with lots of slip, work in sections, keep the sections moist and work from tips to roots with a large tooth comb, I lose very little hair and it only takes about 30 minutes… Read more »

CB
Guest
CB

I only use my Denman for brushing my deep conditioner into my strands. It doesn’t break my hair. I am 4B/4c (if that is what yall go by i.e. hair typing shenanigans ), I use it in my final stage on wash day (Deep conditioning). It helps get the extra hair that my finger misses out. It works well for me. For others, it might not.

Ayane
Guest
Ayane

I call bs on the part about 4b/c naturalistas not being able to have their curls defined. Also I have majority 4b hair and my denman detangles perfectly. Articles should be more based on hair thickness and porosity.

Lillian
Guest
Lillian

The Ouidad comb, though expensive, works well for my 4b hair. Less breakage and less time spent detangling.

Sandra
Guest

Used to use alligator clips.. Thank God I stopped

http://swajero.wordpress.com/

Shedira Swanston
Guest
Shedira Swanston

My tangle teezer is my everything, but come to think of it, I’ve been trimming quite often lately due to split ends and splits in the hair shaft itself.….If we shouldn’t use these tools, which tools SHOULD we use?

ProtectivePrincess
Guest
ProtectivePrincess

@ Shedira Swanston — I have a head full of the kinkiest 4c type hair. Nothing has really worked well for me, not even finger detangling. I recently purchased a Hercules Sagemann seamless comb. It has no seams so or imperfections to rip the hair. This has been the safest so far. You can find them on this site;
http://www.hotcombs.net/combs/

Shedira Swanston
Guest
Shedira Swanston

Thanks so much!

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Took me a while before I found out what you call a ‘Denman’ brush falls under a different category for me known as: ‘My Hair Hold, My Hair Snaps in Half’. I didn’t know that ANYONE could use that piece of crap in their head for anything.

Alexia
Guest
Alexia

THE TANGLE TEEZER

I have 4abc, fine‐to‐medium, dense hair. I’ve never had a bad experience with the Tangle Teezer, and that’s most likely because I reserve it only for emergencies, and I only use it on wet hair soaked with conditioner. Maybe we should just be using it for that reason?

LBell
Guest
LBell

I’ve been anti‐tools for the better part of the last two years. I blame this article for making me pull my Denman D31 out of the closet in a fit of defiance. 🙂 To transition from coilier styles to styles that require smoother stretched hair (that’s NOT straight) I have had to accept that, especially at this length, finger‐detangling alone just isn’t going to cut it. How-EVER…I also know that I can’t just use tools on my hair without some kind of prep. Both times I used a comb this year my hair wasn’t sufficiently lubricated and that’s why I… Read more »

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[…] Via BlackGirlLong Hair […]

Toia B.
Guest

I personally don’t care for the hair typing system but I suppose I have what would be classified as 4b/4c, super kinky hair. I swear by my Tangle Teezer! My hair is detangled in almost half the time it took when I used a wide‐toothed comb. As one of the ladies mentioned, it works especially well to get rid of shed hair after I’ve been wearing a protective style for a bit. Everyone is different but I have found with many I’ve spoken to that the reason why they may get “popping” & “snagging” with the Tangle Teezer is because… Read more »

Coi
Guest
Coi

I have that red denmen brush, it works fine on my kinks. Maybe the issue isn’t tool, but lack of knowledge on how to properly use it.

Ms. Prince
Guest
Ms. Prince

I so agree with you. I use the penmen brush as well and my hair as been growing so good.

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I use the Denman and the alligator clips as well. Regarding the clips, I found these great plastic ones, with rubber as the grips. They are necessary when I section my hair.

Que
Guest
Que

I use the Denman brush, I have 4c hair. I modified the brush by taking every other row of bristles out, perfect!

lady kay
Guest
lady kay

I agree with you! I avoid all four of those tools. They just aren’t good for my 4b hair.

steel magnolia
Guest
steel magnolia

I bought the Denman & almost bought the Tangle Teezer; it seems that I dodged at least one bullet.

mygrace
Guest
mygrace

I have 4c hair. I’ve used the velcro rollers and that d brush years ago.…and you are right on. The velcro had my hair still stuck to it when I took it off…LOL and that Demon brush had my hair in it when I looked back…LOL…so I stay away from those…and I have not heard anything great about that tangle teaser, when I look at my hair I can tell that the tangle teaser is not for me.

mimi
Guest
mimi

Wouldnt that be shed hair in the brush?

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

How do you write a post about what not to use and then not tell us what to use? HELP! We use the tangle teaser all the time and love it.

Lillian
Guest
Lillian

Ouidad has a great detangling comb that is wide toothed and looks like a double comb, if that makes sense. It is expensive and heavy but effective.

Beth M
Guest
Beth M

I faithfully use my Denman brush for detangling my 4B hair, I think it’s more about the technique then this not being a good product. I never used any of the other ones, I always thought that tangle tweezer thingy sounded crazy.

Raven
Guest
Raven

I can’t speak for the tangle teezer, but I’ve never really had an issue with my Denman brush. I’m not sure if this is a situation that we shrug off and say “to each his own” or if it’s just an issue of using the tool properly. Of course, I can’t brush my hair with it in huge sections; rather, I’d separate my hair and within those sections I would brush an even smaller portion. As for the alligator tips, I’ve only had issues when I try to pull them out of my hair rather than unclinching them and doing… Read more »

Patricia Heard-Hopson
Guest
Patricia Heard-Hopson

I never heard of the tangle thingy but I do use the Denman and I agree it is all about technique. The Denman has been a life saver and it chases away the fairy knots in my 4b/c hair.

nimi
Guest
nimi

I have never had a problem with the denman im 4b/4c and as long as u use it right (ends to roots) it does no wrong

Alex
Guest
Alex

I first got the tangle teezer in 2011 because my coils are too small for a wide tooth comb which I used throughout the first leg of my journey (’10-’11) because it was widely recommended. Since using the tangle teezer my hair has been 1. easier to manage than with a wide tooth comb and 2. the longest it’s ever been (my hair is past my shoulders now). I mainly use the tangle teezer when my hair is soaked and coated in conditioner. Personally, I think the key for any 4type of hair is only manipulating our hair when it’s… Read more »

Brad Pforr
Guest

This can be a really useful chemistry web page.

Kim Louato
Guest

I?m impressed, I have to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that?s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is one thing that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very completely satisfied that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for one thing regarding this.

LuvnMoHair13
Guest
LuvnMoHair13

I have been natural since I was 17 years old. Main reason was because I made my first HUGE mistake with a tool…used a hot comb! Broke all my APL hair to 2 inches! After that I thought I knew what NOT to do. My second HUGE mistake with a tool was just this year at the age of 29!! I broke off my shoulder length using THE PICK! I “thought” I was de‐tangling but really I was snapping off the back of my hair 🙁 I went all the way back to TWA? The third time is the charm!… Read more »

amelia
Guest

I have used a Velcro curlers and realized they do not work.lol, I wish I would’ve read this before I bought them. I have also used the denmen brush in it didn’t work either. I found that finger detangling works a lot better for me it also helps with curl definition.

caribbeancurl
Guest
caribbeancurl

TOTALLY agree with all 4…especially the clips because a lot of them come disguised with the artifical flowers etc that makes our natural styles pop but those clips..those clips..dangerous!!!

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I just bought a Denman brush for my daughter’s hair. I used it tonight and she never said a word or cried about me pulling her hair. This is a game changer. Her hair is long, thick with different textures throughout. It’s a big job to wash and detangle. This brush got the conditioner through the root to tip. I can’t remember the last time I detangled her hair from the roots. I’m not sure how people brush or comb their hair and expect not to see any hair in the brush or comb. Hair has to shed no?

Michele A
Guest
Michele A

I love my tangle teazer!!! Next to my Ouidad detangling comb its my favorite tool. I have serious 4c hair and finger detangling is a joke…it would take hours. The tt totally gets my coils to clump together and I always use it for that reason after properly detangled, oiled and conditioned hair. It truly about technique and different strikes for different folks. And seriously, alligator clips…if you open them up all the way before you pull them out you shouldn’t have a problem. I hate articles like this because it totally sets false limits with our hair and falsely… Read more »

Steph
Guest
Steph

I totally agree with you. I love my TT brush, it’s actually the only thing I use on my myself and my daughters hair. I have 4b/c and she’s more of a 3a and it works great for both of us. No breakage or damage.

Miss Thang
Guest
Miss Thang

The tangle teezer is amazing. Please do not discourage people from using it. It is the only tool I use after finger detangling my conditioner soaked hair.

MsThickHair
Guest
MsThickHair

Be careful of FAKE Tangle Teezers!! Ms Chinwe, I strongly disagree with number one about the Tangle Teezer because many of the naturals that have been reporting breakage and splits are the ones that have been purchasing theirs at lower than original prices from small online stores that populate Amazon and Ebay. Unfortunately, the combs they are buying are usually a dupe of the Tangle Teezer which comes from manufactures in China who have figured out how to recreate it at a lower price and a lower quality; thus, leading to shredded natural hair. Everyone needs buy their TT from… Read more »

LB
Guest
LB

I just recenty bought a tangle teezer and so far it works great by itself. I also own a modified Denman brush (removed every other row of teeth) and it worked great, but only if I went through my hair gently with a wide toothed comb first. I have noticed that I shed half the amt of hair with the tangle teezer as I did before. The trick is detangling the ends first and slowly working your way up the section.

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[…] 4 Hair Tools That 4B/4C Naturals Should Avoid […]

Eddie
Guest
Eddie

TBH using a regular comb helped my 4c hair tremendously
I suffered from puffy ends for almost two years, I used to trim every other week, which stunted my hair growth
Hope this helps others

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