The Best Way To Detangle Curly Hair When Wet - Turbie Twist

The Best Way To Detangle Curly Hair When Wet

Things have changed since our mothers dealt with our hair on wash day. Here's the best way to detangle your curly hair when it's wet.

Textured-haired consumers spend, on average, $247 a year on hair products. Products for styling, and especially detangling, are important to those with curly and coiled hair.

Thankfully, gone are the days of tugging a brush painfully through your natural, curly mane. How and when you should detangle curly hair depends on a few different factors, such as hair texture and type. 

Most importantly, detangling should be a gentle process as not to damage your hair with all that tugging and pulling.

Not sure where to start? Read on to find out the best practices for detangling those beautiful, bouncing curls!

How Often Should I Wash my Curls?

The frequency of washing can depend on quite a few factors.  The more oily your scalp is or the more active you are, the more you will wash your hair.  Whether you live in a dry or humid climate is another determining factor in choosing your number of wash days. 

A good place to start is to make sure that you are washing and detangling your hair at least once a week.  From there you can determine the perfect number of wash days for your specific hair type.

The Great Debate: Wet vs. Dry Detangling

So much about hair care revolves around your specific type of hair.  Creating a one-size-fits-all will never work because all hair is so unique! However, understanding your hair type and contributing factors (climate, activity level, etc.) will allow you to make an educated choice for curl detangling.

Coarse or Tightly Curled and Coiled Hair

With this type of hair, it is usually best to use a wet detangle approach. Hair should also have a good amount of conditioner in it to aid in detangling. Severe detangling should be taken care of with fingers and hydrating coconut oil before wet detangling.

Thick Hair With Looser Curls

This type of hair can get away with a light spray of hydrating oil, such as argan oil, before detangling. A brush can be worked from the ends to the roots, taking care not to tug too hard and break the hair. 

How to Wet Detangle Curly Hair

The absolute best way to detangle hair is in the shower. Hair is more flexible when wet and can withstand more combing. Having plenty of moisture and conditioner in your hair will make this process easier.

Hair is in its most fragile state when wet. The cuticle swells leaving it open to damage. Follow these steps to protect your natural hair.

Conditioner Is Your Friend

Conditioner is slippery and coats the hair, allowing your fingers or comb to glide through the stands. It lubricates the hair, giving it extra protection in the detangling process.

Be Gentle

Being rough on your hair while detangling can cause damage to the outer layer of the hair (the cuticle). Breakage makes your hair more susceptible to knots and can also cause frizz. Working in small sections can help to alleviate some of this breakage because it is gentler on the hair.

Finger Combing

Using your fingers to detangle your curls is arguably the best method. When you use your hands, you are less likely to power through those tough knots. It helps you resist the urge to tear through tangles and cause more damage.

How to Dry Detangle Curly Hair

If you can't wash your hair, but it needs to be detangled, don't worry! Hair is actually at its strongest when dry, but detangling in this state takes a little extra care.

If you start with wet hair but want to detangle your hair while dry, be sure to take steps to dry your hair with care. Using a microfiber towel is the first step to gently drying your hair. 

Same Tools but Different Methods

A lot of the same tools can be used to detangle dry hair. Finger combing is still the preferred method followed by a wide-tooth comb or a Denman brush.

When finger combing tightly curled or coiled dry hair, you want to be sure to coat your fingers with lubricating hair oil. This allows your fingers to glide through the tangles easier.  

Those with longer, looser curls can use a brush to detangle dry hair. Be sure you always start at the ends of the hair and work your way up to the roots.

Take Care

Combing through dry hair has its risks. While the hair is strong while dry, it is also easier to snap or break the cuticle when brushing. Strong hair means less flexible and malleable hair.

Tools for Detangling

Detangling brushes, combs, and fingers. Oh my! The possibilities seem endless when it comes to detangling tools for curly hair. Some tools are better than others when it comes to getting out those knots.

Natural Is Best

When choosing a detangling brush, make sure to stick with something that has natural bristles. Boar bristle brushes are a great example of this. Avoid brushes with synthetic bristles with nubs on the end!

Denman Brush

These types of brushes are another option for detangling your curly mane. They are flexible and have more spacing which allows for more control. These are also great if you style using a blow dryer.


If you are going to use a comb, go for something that has widespread teeth (this mimics the fingers!) Combs have the strength to get through the tough tangles and if done right, can save your hair from excess damage.

Tangle Prevention

Of course, prevention is a must when thinking about keeping your hair tangle-free! Having a silk or satin pillowcase prevents friction-induced frizz and tangles. Hair and skin slide easily over its smooth surface, saving your hair while you sleep!

Another way to prevent tangles is to sleep with your hair in a loose ponytail on top of your head. This prevents the hair from moving around with you while you sleep, keeping everything where it should be!

Let's Get Detangling

Now that you know the best practices to detangle curly hair, check out these 10 Tips for Healthy Curls. Browse our other articles about keeping your hair beautiful and find the best products to help you do so!