Athletic afro american woman detangling her hair in the shower

How To Detangle Hair Before & After Washing

Detangling natural hair is an important part of every natural hair care routine & there are specific techniques & tools to help you properly comb through tangled hair & knots. Learn how to prevent tangles by using new tips & tricks. 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 & resilience of each hair strand.

Why is detangling your hair important? 

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

Cleanses the scalp 

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

Stimulates hair growth 

It stimulates the blood vessels in the scalp to increase blood circulation & 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 hair knot in its way. Our hair is most flexible & 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 & tricks to help minimize pain when trying to detangle dry hair. 

Add product 

Use a leave-in spray, detangling conditioner, regular conditioner, or other curly hair products to give your hair slip & avoid your comb or hair 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 hair brush will go through fewer knots with each comb-through, resulting in less stress on the hair & 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 & manageable detangling experience is creating small sections & 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 hair strands and make your detangling process easier.  

@patternbeauty Formulated with Sea Moss & Aloe Vera, our Detangling Nectar is a parent’s dream for a tear-free detangling experience ✨ Now available @sephora! #fyp ♬ Lo-Fi analog beat - Gloveity

How do I detangle my hair without breakage?

Combing through your hair & hearing that snap sound is the worst. A lot of the natural hair breakage we experience is avoidable & preventable with the right techniques & 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 & combs to detangle your hair, but don’t underestimate your fingers. Using the finger detangling method is a great way to detangle hair knots without damaging your hair. Other tools you can use include a wide-tooth comb, tangle teezer, & flexi detangling brush. Depending on what works best for you, try finger detangling to gently pull apart any hair knots, followed by using a proper detangling 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 & how to detangle your hair in between each wash? Since wash day comes about every one to two weeks, depending on your hair type & needs, you may need to detangle & 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 & avoid further breakage. You can detangle your hair between washes using two different methods: 

Co-wash & detangle in the shower 

You can detangle your hair by wetting your hair in the shower, skipping the shampoo, & 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 Misting 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 styling products like our Curl Custard or Detangling Nectar to assist you. Our Styling Custard can be used to detangle hair after you wash, whereas the Detangling Nectar can be used before and after. 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 the shower. The PATTERN Wash Collection has the perfect conditioning products, including our Medium Conditioner & 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 & 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, & 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 & 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 & conditioner to the section as needed 
  7. Repeat for each section 


After cleansing your hair with shampoo & rinsing it out, it’s time to detangle again! You will need to detangle your hair after washing it because shampoo lifts the hair cuticle, causes friction, & 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 & your coils will be healthier & 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 you have wet hair that is coated with a moisturizing product to give your hair the slip it needs to comb through any tangles with ease & to avoid breakage. 

Remember to be gentle, patient & 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 & conditioners that may contribute to more knots & tangles when choosing a product for your hair type.

With these techniques, tips, & 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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