How to detangle 4c hair

Ladies, it’s summer 2022 and my hair has come a long way since the inception of and my big chop in March 2020. To be exact, it’s grown many inches, thanks to a very strict 4c hair care routine and one protective style after the other

However, with “long”, healthy, and thriving hair come new challenges. Especially, if you have natural 4c hair. And one of those challenges is how to detangle 4c hair without breakage. As you may remember, the key to long hair is to avoid hair breakage.

This is why I pay a lot of attention to how I detangle my 4c hair after braids. And you should too!

How often should I detangle my 4c hair?

Regardless of your hair type, the detangling process can take up a lot of time. Because you have to make sure you removed all the hair knots without causing split ends. 

And if you have type 4c hair, a detangling session can easily take up to 30 minutes, depending on your curl pattern and hair density. Therefore, it’s understandable that you don’t want to do all that daily. 

The rule of thumb here is to properly detangle your hair once a week or at the very least on wash day. Detangling your hair consistently will lead to less damage and thus more hair growth over time. 

Is it better to detangle wet or dry 4c hair? 

Even though I’m answering this question in detail below, I figured I’d mention it briefly beforehand. Never detangle natural 4c hair when dry. Why? Because your hair is much more prone to napping when it’s dry due to less flexibility.

Therefore, you want to make sure that your 4c hair is at least damp before you detangle it. 

how to detangle natural hair without breakage

How to detangle 4c hair step-by-step

1) Divide hair into small sections 

The best way to detangle short 4c hair is to first part it into smaller sections. Most women will do four sections, but I suggest you do more than that. If needed, you can use hair clips or elastic bands to keep the sections separated. Sectioning your hair will make it easier for you to comb through your hair and apply your hair products later on. 

2) Wet your hair

As mentioned before, you want to start this process with damp hair or even wet hair. For that use, a spray bottle filled with warm water and generously apply moisture to your 4c hair. Remember that the most important thing with curly hair is to keep them hydrated in order to avoid breakage. 

3) Finger detangle hair

Now that your hair is parted and moisturized, you can carefully start finger detangling it. In this first round of detangling, you only use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb, depending on your hair texture. Don’t worry if your 4c hair is giving you a tough time, you will use products in the next step.  

4) Apply detangling product

After getting rid of big knots in your hair, the next step is to use products that will help you detangle with ease. Of course, you can go ahead and purchase a hair detangler, specifically for this process. However, you can also simply use mineral oils, deep conditioner, or aloe vera gel. Whatever you would use to pre-poo your natural hair.

All of these will do the job just fine and save you some coins. And if you have more time on your hands and like planning out your wash days, you can even use rice water, which will infuse your hair with some much-needed nutrients and help with length retention. 

5) Use a detangling brush 

So far all you’ve done was finger detangle or use a wide-tooth comb. Obviously, that’s not enough. For your final detangling you want to use a detangling brush or comb. In my post on the best detangling brushes for 4c hair, you will find the best tools out there. My personal favorite is the BESTOOL detangling brush. However, if you prefer something smaller, the tangle teeter will do as well. 

Remember when detangling your hair, that you always want to start with the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots. 

6) Keep your natural hair stretched 

The last step is optional but highly recommended. In order to keep your detangled hair knot-free, put it in a stretched style. What is that you ask? Well, it’s a natural hairstyle that keeps your curls and coils elongated, so that they don’t get entangled again.

Some easy styles are 2-strand twists or chunky braids. It’s a great way to keep your hair detangled overnight and have it ready to be styled in the morning. 

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