How To Detangle Hair Before & After Washing


How To Detangle Hair Before & After Washing

by Pattern Beauty

Detangling natural hair is an important part of every natural hair care routine and there are specific techniques and tools to help you properly comb through tangled hair and knots. Learn how to avoid those pesky knots using new tips and tricks to prevent damage. Plus, learn how to nourish your hair with our step-by-step guide to detangling natural hair. With the right detangling hair skills you will be able to maintain the health, strength, and resilience of each hair strand. 

Why is detangling your hair important? 

There is a method to the madness and the beauty of natural hair. Detangling your hair is important to maintain its health and length. Check out these benefits to properly detangling your hair.

Cleanses the scalp 

Combing your hair helps to clean the scalp by removing buildup like dead skin cells and products. If we don’t comb through our hair, buildup can clog the scalp’s follicles over time and cause damaged hair.  

Stimulates hair growth 

It stimulates the blood vessels in the scalp to increase blood circulation and provide the proper nutrients to the hair follicles. This is what helps to promote hair growth.  

Is it better to detangle your hair wet or dry?

The best way to detangle natural hair is while it is wet. The wetter your hair, the better your conditioning product can absorb into your hair shaft, making it easier to slip your fingers or comb through any knot in its way. Our hair is most flexible and has the most elasticity when it's wet, which prevents it from breaking, snapping, or frizzing.  

How do you detangle matted hair painlessly?

They say beauty is pain, but we believe it doesn’t have to be. There are special tips and tricks to help minimize pain when trying to detangle dry curls. 

Add product 

Use a leave-in spray, detangling conditioner, regular conditioner, or other  curly hair products to give your hair slip and avoid your comb or brush getting stuck in your hair. 

Detangle from the bottom  

“Started from the bottom now we’re here.“ Using PATTTERN’s Wide Tooth Comb or Shower Brush, aways detangle your curly hair by working your way up from the ends toward the root. With this technique, your brush will go through fewer knots with each comb-through, resulting in less stress on the hair and less pain. 

Section your hair 

If you’ve ever tried to detangle a big section of your hair at once, you know how ineffective it can be. The key to a painless and manageable detangling experience is creating small sections and working your way around your head.  

Try a deep conditioning treatment

If your hair is feeling dry or dull, apply a deep conditioning treatment to your hair. Generally, you should deep condition natural hair once every one to two weeks to restore moisture into your strands and make your detangling process easier.  

How do I detangle my hair without breakage?

Combing through your hair and hearing that snap sound is the worst. A lot of the breakage we experience is avoidable and preventable with the right techniques and tools for curly hair. Here are a few of the best ways to avoid hair breakage while detangling your curls: 

Always work on wet hair 

Wetting natural hair is a must if you want to avoid breakage. When wet, our hair is most flexible to withstand combing or brushing. 

Be gentle 

You might tend to rush or move fast when you’re combing through your hair, but it’s important to move gently as possible to avoid increased friction that can result in your hair snapping or breaking off. 

Use the right tools 

There are many different types of brushes and combs to detangle your hair, but don’t underestimate your fingers. Using the finger detangling method is a great way to detangle knots without damaging your hair. Other tools you can use include a wide-tooth comb, Denman brush, tangle teezer, and flexi detangling brush. Depending on what works best for you, try finger detangling to gently pull apart any knots, followed by using a brush or comb. 

Use a moisturizing product 

No natural hairstyle or natural hair care routine goes on without the help of proper moisture. Use a conditioning or hair detangler product to prevent breakage. Trust us that your arms will thank you for the slip it gives your hair.  

How do you detangle hair between washes?

Wondering, how often should you wash your natural hair and how to detangle your hair in between each wash? Since wash day comes about every one to two weeks, depending on your hair type and needs, you may need to detangle and re-style your hair in between. It’s important to detangle your hair in between wash days to make it easier for you to detangle when wash day arrives and avoid further breakage. You can detangle your hair between washes using two different methods: 

Co-wash and detangle in the shower 

You can detangle your hair by wetting your hair in the shower, skipping the shampoo, and applying conditioner or a co-wash before combing through.

Use a spritz bottle to detangle 

Use a detangling spray or make a DIY spritz at home. To make your very own detangling spritz, combine water and your favorite moisturizing conditioners. Then apply the product to your hair using PATTERN’s Mist Spray Bottle and comb through in between washes. 

What products are best to detangle my hair?

The detangling process can be tiring for your arms and a huge time killer, so to help ease and speed up the process there are a few products to assist you. Using the right products is essential to the detangling process to avoid breakage. Here are the best products to use to detangle natural hair: 


Use your everyday conditioner to apply to your hair in between wash days. The PATTERN Wash Collection has the perfect conditioning products, including a Leave-In Conditioner to give your hair the ultimate slip to detangle those knots. 

Leave-in conditioner 

There are so many leave-in products for natural hair, so it should be easy finding one that's right for your hair type. From sprays to creams, you can try out different conditioning products to see what gives your curls the best slip.


Use a co-wash product in between wash days to gently cleanse your scalp, detangle your hair and restore hydration into your hair. 

How To Detangle Hair: A Step by Step Guide 

We know the struggle is real when it comes to detangling your hair, so we’re here to break down step by step how to comb through your curls, coil, and tight-textured hair to achieve luscious locks. Follow these steps to step up your detangling game! 


The easiest way to detangle natural hair is to do it both before and after washing your hair to reduce the amount of breakage you might experience if you were to only detangle it after you’ve washed it. Even if you are following the No Poo method, you will not want to skip the conditioning stage as this will help detangle wet curls.

  1. Make sure your hair is soaked with water 
  2. Section your hair into 4 
  3. Apply conditioner to one section
  4. Detangle by starting at the bottom using your fingers or a detangling tool of your choice 
  5. Gently work your way up to the root with your fingers or detangling tool 
  6. Apply more water and conditioner to the section as needed 
  7. Repeat for each section 


After cleansing your hair with shampoo and rinsing it out, it’s time to detangle again! You will need to detangle your hair after washing it because shampoo lifts the cuticle of your hair, causes friction, and creates more tangles. 

  1. Part your hair into sections
  2. Apply your conditioner to each section 
  3. Comb through your hair, starting from the ends to the root of the hair
  4. Repeat for each section of hair 

Now that you are a natural at detailing your hair, you and your coils will be healthier and happier than ever. To prevent damage while detangling your hair it’s important to use the right tools such as your fingers, a wide-tooth comb, or a brush designed specifically for natural hair. Always make sure your hair is wet and coated with a moisturizing product to give your hair the slip it needs to comb through any tangles with ease and to avoid breakage. Remember to be gentle, patient, and try out different detangling methods and shampoo and conditioner for curly hair products to see what works best for you. Plus, pay close attention to the common ingredients to avoid in shampoos and conditioners that may contribute to more knots and tangles when choosing a product for your hair type.

With these techniques, tips, and tricks, your hair will be even stronger than before!  


  1. "How to Brush Curly Hair Without Disrupting Your Curls". Carlos daughter
  2. Sonya Eskridge. "5 Tips For Healthily Detangling Your Hair". Madame Noire. July 4, 2018.
  3. Ashley Hubbard. "Co-Wash: How to Do It, What It Is, and Products to Try". Healthline. May 18, 2021.
  4. "No Frizz And No Breakage: How To Brush Curly Hair The Right Way". My World Apart.


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