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How To Detangle 4c Hair Properly Without Breakage

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 avoid hair breakage. Because the key to long hair is length retention.

This is why today I’m sharing how to detangle 4c hair properly.

Why is 4c hair so hard to detangle?

It’s not news that 4c hair can be challenging to detangle because of its tightly coiled and densely packed hair texture. It has a high level of shrinkage and easily gets tangled and knotted.

Because of its tight coils and kinks, it tends to be fragile and prone to breakage, which can be exacerbated by rough handling or using the wrong tools.

That’s why when you’re detangling 4c hair, it’s important to use the right detangling products, designed for 4c hair, and be gentle even if it takes a long time.

In order to make proper detangling easier and minimize damage, 4c hair requires a lot of moisture. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your hair well-moisturized and to soften and loosen any tangles or knots.

How often should 4c hair be detangled?

The rule of thumb is to detangle 4c hair once a week or at the very least every other week. Ideally, you want to schedule a detangling session right after you wash or co-wash your hair. That’s when it’s well moisturized and more manageable.

Detangling once a week or every other week prevents tangles and knots, while also giving your hair time to rest and recover. However, if you wear your hair in protective styles like braids or twists, you obviously detangle less frequently.

In general. you don’t want to detangle your hair too frequently, as this can cause breakage and damage.

how to detangle natural hair without breakage

How long does it take to detangle 4c hair?

The time it takes to detangle your 4c hair depends on your hair density and hair length. If you have thin and short hair like me, then detangling can take less than 15 minutes.

However, if you have thicker, longer hair it can easily take you 45 minutes to get through all of your natural hair.

No matter how much hair you have, you always want to take your time to detangle your natural curls. The more gently and carefully you are, the less you will shed hair.

And while wash day can be a lengthy process, it can also be a nice little self-care time. So spoil yourself and make every part of your natural hair journey a beautiful experience.

Should 4c hair be detangled wet or dry?

You should never detangle natural 4c hair when it is dry. Why? Because dry hair is much more prone to breakage and damage due to less flexibility.

Wet hair is more pliable and easier to work through, which causes less hair loss.

So, before detangling, you want to wet your hair and apply a good conditioner or detangling spray. This will soften and loosen any tangles or knots and make it easier to comb through your kinky hair.

how to detangle short 4c hair

How to detangle 4c hair step-by-step

Detangling 4c hair can be a challenging task for many of us, especially if you have been traumatized by African family members that had no grace.

However, with the right tools and technique, detangling your natural hair can be made easy and less damaging. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to detangle 4c properly:

1) Moisturize your hair

As mentioned before, you want to start this process with damp hair or even wet hair. If it’s wash day, perfect. If it’s not no worries.

Simply use a water spray bottle filled with warm water and generously mist your hair. Once your hair is completely damp or wet, apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner.

2) Divide your hair into small sections 

Next, you want to part your hair into smaller sections. Anywhere from 4 to 8 sections will do depending on how much hair you have.

If needed, use hair clips or elastic bands to keep the sections separated. This will make it easier for you to get through your natural hair and make sure it’s properly detangled. 

3) Finger detangle hair

After your hair is parted and moisturized, you can carefully start finger detangling it. In this first round of detangling, you only want to use your fingers or a wide tooth comb. This is the best way to get big tangles or knots out of the way, which ensures less damage and better results in the end.

4) Use a detangling brush 

Now that you got rid of any tangled mess it’s time to do your final detangling with a detangling brush or smaller comb to smooth out any remaining kinks. My personal favorite is the BESTOOL detangling brush because it has longer bristles and its elasticity makes sure that I don’t rip out any hair.

While detangling always start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots. Make sure to hold on to the hair strand you are detangling to avoid too much pulling and tension on your roots and edges.

5) Keep your natural hair stretched 

The last thing is optional but highly recommended. In order to keep your detangled hair knot-free, put it in a stretched style.

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. 

And done. After these 5 steps, your type 4c hair should be completely detangled.

What should I detangle my 4c hair with?

Now, that you know how to detangle 4c hair, the question is what to detangle it with. While I already mentioned a couple of them above, here is my recommendation for the best tools to use to detangle 4c hair:

  • A wide-tooth comb is an excellent tool for detangling natural hair. Its wide teeth allow you to work through tangles and hair knots without pulling or breaking your 4c hair.
  • A detangling brush is another great option for detangling 4c hair. The flexible bristles glide through your natural hair without pulling or tugging. Some of my faves include the Denman brush, tangle teezer, and BESTOOL brush.
  • While finger detangling is less effective but at times useful. Your fingers can work through tangles and knots more gently than any other tool which can help prevent breakage.

When detangling 4c hair, feel free to use hair products that will soften your hair such as conditioner, natural oils, or even rice water or aloe vera. Each one of these can be used as a natural hair detangler and help make the process easier while promoting hair growth.

How do you detangle 4c hair fast?

While your goal should not be to detangle your 4c hair fast, I do of course understand that not everybody has time for a lengthy detangling process. Especially if you have a lot of hair, but little time.

Thankfully, there are some techniques you can use to speed up the process:

  • Pre-poo with a conditioner or oil and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before detangling.
  • Work in sections to focus on smaller areas and prevent tangles from becoming too overwhelming.
  • Use a detangling spray to soften your curls and help speed up the process.
  • Use the right tools to detangle your hair faster and work through tangles, without causing damage.
  • Detangle in the shower to work through any knots while your hair is saturated.

While these techniques can help to speed up the process, remember to take your time and be patient to ensure that your hair remains healthy and strong.

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