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How to Detangle Hair for Better Hair Days

BY Jana Russick

Can’t seem to achieve those silky, tangle-free locks that every hair commercial seems to promote? We realize it’s challenging to have flawless hair that can be brushed through with ease without a single snarl or tangle. While it’s a feat your hairstylist seems to always achieve at the salon, it’s not so easy at home. As soon as you wash your hair again, it seems like the knots and tangles are back. 

Many people struggle to know how to detangle hair and what products are best for taming locks when they get a little bit knotty. Fortunately, we have some solutions to help you smooth your strands even when dealing with split ends, dryness, and hair breakage.

In this guide, we’ll not only tell you how to detangle hair for different hair types, but we’ll also delve into different hair products, tools, and techniques for getting tangle-free locks so you can master the detangling process once and for all. 

How to Detangle Hair No Matter What Your Hair Type

Before we tell you how to detangle hair, we have to ask you a question: Ever heard of trichonodosis? If your answer is “no” or “huh?” allow us to explain. 

Trichonodos is when the ends of hair strands start forming knots. This makes it hard to brush through hair, causing larger knots to form that can then lead to damaged hair and breakage. Knotted hair can occur naturally but is often caused by over-combing or the roughly treating hair. It can also be a byproduct of dryness and frizz.

Tangles are an equal opportunity annoyer of all hair types. Whether you have lots of curly tresses or straighter or wavy strands, let’s take a look at some ways to break through the tangles without breaking your hair.

How to Detangle Hair Curly and Coily Hair

If you have coily or curly hair, you likely have to deal with dryness and frizz. And anyone with a degree of a curl pattern will tell you that trying to rid their fragile hair of these annoyances can easily lead to trouble. (Like when you find yourself trying to brush the frizz out of your locks only to see it turn into puffy, matted hair.)

Needless to say, brushing curly dry hair is a bad idea, especially if you’re using a traditional hair brush. To prevent curly hair from drying with tangles in it, use a detangling brush specifically made to delicately handle your locks. Follow these steps to properly brush out your curls:

  • Divide wet hair into four to six small sections depending on the thickness of your curls
  • Apply your detangler of choice to each section of the hair
  • Work brush up from the ends to the roots 

Following these steps will help detangle your locks without losing the shape of your curl pattern. This process is great right after you get out of the shower, but if you’re short on time, using a wide-tooth comb to tackle smaller tangles and knots works in a pinch.

Pro Tip: Find out if your shower water is damaging your hair

Detangling Products for Curls and Coils

Shampooing too often can cause your lovely curls and coils to dry out even more, and with dryness often comes tangles. Is there a way to achieve that soft, just-washed feeling without having to go through the whole shampoo process? Yes, with co-wash.

Co-washes are cleansing conditioners that gently remove debris from the scalp while helping hydrate and detangle locks. Since those with coily and curly hair should only be brushing and detangling locks when hair is wet, adding a co-wash to your haircare routine can help you detangle your hair on days when you’re not washing it. 

Function of Beauty’s custom co-wash helps cleanse hair without drying it out or stripping it of its natural oils. It’s made to be lighter on the roots than traditional conditioners and can help reduce breakage and enhance hair’s strength. But how, you may ask? With a formula made from naturally derived and synthetic ingredients, including;

  • Jamaican Black Castor Seed Oil: Softens and moisturizes locks
  • Shea Butter: Gives co-wash a creamy texture that nourishes hair
  • Avocado Oil: Helps penetrate and moisturize the hair shaft

And as an added bonus for those with color-treated hair, this co-wash is also made with hydrolyzed quinoa to promote vibrancy and prevent color washout. So not only will you be preventing tangled hair, you’ll be protecting your curls and coils from color loss.

How to Detangle Straight or Wavy Hair

Yes, straight hair and straight-leaning waves tend to be a bit easier to manage. But you still need to know how to detangle hair. When you come across knotty hair, you need to use the right tools and detangling products to keep your locks looking smooth. 

Tools like paddle brushes work better on loose waves and straight hair because these textures can easily slip through the bristles without causing frizz-inducing friction. But before you brush through your locks, make sure to add a leave-in treatment to make your strands smoother. Unlike regular conditioners that you wash out after shampooing, leave-ins are lightweight conditioning creams that you can use to detangle hair and add softness.

Function of Beauty’s custom leave-in treatment adds hydration and shine to locks while preventing dreaded dryness. It can be applied to wet or dry hair to smooth out unappealing knots, tangles, and flyaways. And since it’s so lightweight, it can be used to detangle thick to fine hair textures.

Do Some DIY Detangling

From co-washes to leave-in treatments to hair masks, there are numerous detangling products for various hair types and textures. But what about when you want to take matters into your own hands (or your own kitchen) and make a DIY hair detangling remedy? Luckily, there are also plenty of do-it-yourself hair mask recipes you can apply one to two times a week (or more often if you have dry hair) to make getting rid of knots and tangles fun, easy, and sweet-smelling. Here are two of our favorites:

Açaí, Coconut Oil, Avocado, and Agave

This hair mask is full of vitamins and essential fatty acids that can help penetrate deep levels of the hair strands. This can give your locks extra moisture needed to comb through tangles. Follow these simple instructions to create this hydrating mask: 

  • Mix 1 tbsp of agave nectar, half an avocado, 1 tbsp of coconut oil, and 3-4 tbsp of açaí puree in bowl until smooth
  • Apply evenly to hair and leave on for 15 minutes
  • Rinse out with shampoo 

Banana, Agave, Coconut Oil, and Olive Oil

The natural oils, vitamins, and potassium this DIY hair mask is packed with will help add hydration, shine, and prevent frizz. The end result is ultra moisturized locks that are super easy to brush through and smell delicious:

  • Mash one banana in a bowl
  • Add one tbsp of agave oil, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tsp of coconut oil and mix until smooth
  • Apply evenly to hair (avoid roots if you have oily hair)
  • Leave on for 30 minutes and rinse out of hair with shampoo

Pro Tip: Check out these other DIY hair masks

Surround Your Hair With Satin

Want to be proactive about keeping hair tangle-free? Try using a satin pillowcase! This ultra-luxe fabric is soft on hair, preventing breakage and tangling from forming. Invest in a satin pillowcase. It’s softer on hair than cotton sheets and can even help maintain your hair pattern for curly-haired folks. You can take it one step further by wrapping your hair in a satin scarf at night:

  • Fold the scarf diagonally into a triangle
  • Place the longer side of the triangle at the nape of your neck
  • Pull sides up around your hair and tie into a knot on top of your head
  • Pull the tip of the triangle to the top of your head and tuck all the hair under the scarf
  • Tuck the tip of the triangle under the knot and enjoy a good night’s sleep

This trick not only keeps hair free of tangles, it can also hold your hairstyle intact so you can enjoy flawless second-day hair. 

Learn How to Detangle Hair Like a Boss

Even though straighter hair types seem to have it easier when it comes to detangling, everybody struggles with keeping hair knot-free. Because of this, it’s important to find good tools and products to help detangle locks. For those with curly or coily locks, brushing wet hair with a detangling brush and using a co-wash in between shampooing can help keep locks detangled. For those with straight or wavy tresses, using a paddle brush and lightweight leave-in treatment is a great method for removing tangles

Are tangles a major issue you deal with when it comes to your hair? If so, take this hair quiz and select beauty goals like anti-frizz, strengthen, and fix split ends to help maximize the look of your soon-to-be tangle-free locks.