by Kara, pictured above
I haven’t combed my hair in almost two years and my hair is the longest it has ever been. If someone had told me two years ago I’d do this, I would gasped and fully expected my hair to be loced by now. But two years has gone by without a comb passing through my hair and my loose natural hair is thriving.
A couple of years ago I was inspired by YouTuber Summyr1988 who was following the Curly Girl Method. For those of you that are not familiar, in short the Curly Girl Method was created by a hair stylist called Lorraine Massey who believes that using styling tools, sulphate shampoos and silicone conditioners are not beneficial for the curly girl and her delicate tresses. I was mesmerised by the health and curl definition that Summyr1988 had achieved with her hair, so of course I had to try this method for myself. I didn’t actually know it at the time but I was already following steps to the method. I had already eliminated sulphate shampoos and conditioners with silicones from my normal regimen as I found those ingredients did not work for me.
So how does a natural hair sister with 4a/b type hair not comb her hair in two years and not have a matted birds nest living on her head? These are the rules I follow;
Detangling My detangling process has been a huge contributor in length retention, I traded my wide tooth comb for lots of gentle finger detangling action! Using my fingers has decreased unnecessary breakage, as I always used to notice short broken hairs on the back of my shirt or in the bath. If you have fine hair like me, it may be useful to try this. Using this method I have found that I am able to retain the length of my hair. Using styling tools can apply a lot of undue force and friction to the hair causing the strands to become weak and fragile.
Detangling Conditioner I have found the perfect detangling conditioner for me is thick, creamy and smooth when applied to my hair. Giovanni Smooth As Silk is like a dream as it is just the right consistency and sinks right into my strands, offering enough slip so my fingers can glide through nice and easy. Finding the right detangling conditioner is a must if you want to begin finger detangling. Look for conditioners that suit your hair and aren’t too expensive to buy.…you are just going to end up washing it out anyway!
Stretched Styling To decrease the likelihood of tangling I like to keep my hair in stretched styles the majority of the time. After finger detangling my hair in sections I put it into loose twists so as not to allow the hair to become tangled. My hair will stay like this until I am ready to moisturise after washing. I then sometimes wear my hair in medium sized plaits or twists and leave it in for the week, styling the plaits and twists as the days pass.
The only disadvantage with not using a comb is not be able to achieve that super smooth sleek finish, but to be honest I was never that kind of girl.…I quite like the messy distressed look. I am still learning how to style my hair without a comb after many years of using one and I am slowly getting there.
Will I go back to using a comb? I am not sure, I have had urges too especially as I want to flat iron my hair soon. I do love the curl definition that I am achieving by just using my fingers as the curls clump together better. I think for now the comb and I are on a break until further notice.
Kara is a London-based health professional who teaches individuals with physical and mental health disabilities how to live independently. She is also an active natural hair vlogger. You can find her on YouTube at NaturalCurliesTV and Instagram @NaturalCurlies