How To Detangle Natural Hair Without Pain, Breakage, or Hassle

June 28 2022

The detangling process for natural hair is very different from just running a brush through your hair and calling it good. Curls need special attention and care that other hair can do without. Unfortunately, it can be a little hard to know where to begin if it isn’t something you are used to doing, especially if it is for someone else. At Just 4 Girls Salon, we want nothing more than for every little girl to have the opportunity to feel bright and confident with her hair, so we want to help you learn the process of painlessly detangling a child’s hair.

When to Detangle

There are a couple of different timeframes where detangling can come in. It all depends on what works best for the hair you are working with. For example, if you are trying to detangle hair after the shampooing stage, but it was matted beforehand, you’re going to have a tougher time getting those mattes out. In this case, detangling during the pre-poo stage is best, as it is the time when the hair will have the most moisture while keeping the mattes from getting tighter with washing. You can also choose to detangle during the deep conditioning stage, or the styling stage depending on what works best.

Keep it Lubricated

Depending on where you look, some places will tell you not to use water while others will say it's okay. The important thing is to make sure the hair is lubricated. If you decide to wet the hair, don’t saturate it- just use a spray bottle to give the hair an extra slip. You do, however, absolutely want to use a lubricating oil or conditioner for the process. Since natural hair is already naturally dry, the added moisture will help keep away unwanted breakage. Leave-in conditioners, detangling spray, coconut oil, and shea butter are all good options for this process


Sectioning hair is an important part of natural hair care for styling and detangling alike. This is because it gives you more control over the hair. It is much easier to detangle in sections than in one solid group. These sections don’t necessarily have to be perfect, just start with a middle part and separate them into as many sections as is necessary for the hair you are working with. Once you have a section finished, be sure to keep it together and separate from the other sections. This will help keep the workload to a minimum and not let the newly detangled hair become tangled again.

Work With Your Hands

There are plenty of detangling tools you can use. Wide-tooth combs are a fan favorite, and there are brushes specially designed for curls that are not quite so dense and tight, just avoid using a boar bristle brush on your wet curls. Working with your hands though, and using your fingers to detangle, gives the distinct advantage of being able to feel the mats and knots that form in hair- meaning you’re less likely to rip through them. This leads to less breakage and more defined curls, as well as less pulling on your little one’s scalp. It may take a little longer than it would with a different tool, but it will be worth it if you are working with delicate tangled hair. You can always go back through with a comb as well if you want to ensure that all the tangles have been caught

Be Gentle- Work from the Bottom Up

Working from the bottom up is the best way to ensure you have the most control possible over the hair and are preventing as much damage as possible. Knots and tangles are easier to work through as you come to them, as opposed to how it can be when you start from the top and end up making them tighter than they were before. Gently and patiently working with the hair ensures that, even if the process is a little tedious, your child’s hair will remain healthy and free of damage.

Make it a Positive Experience

Detangling hair can be a slow process, and children can get antsy. It is important to instill confidence and love for their hair in them at a young age, so using this time to create a positive experience and bond with your child can help them grow into their hair with pride. You can treat it like a day at the spa. Turn on her favorite cartoons or music, let her have a snack, and once it’s all said and done, you could even treat her to a face mask, or paint her nails. This will also make the process less painful for you, because if your child is content then you have less to worry about.

If the detangling process is something you find intimidating, Just 4 Girls Salon offers excellent service for any little girl in need of hair care. You can go call us, or visit one of our two locations found at 568 Fayetteville Rd SE in Atlanta (678) 927-0554 or 1295 W Spring St STE 101 (inside Smyrna Market Village) (678) 391-4622. Online booking is also available for each location.