How do I untangle knotted hair?

Q: I normally keep my hair in finger coils or braids done at the salon.

When I take down the style at home, I am unable to detangle it. It is full of knots and impossible to comb.

How do I wash it?


A: Type 4 hair, which is highly textured, loves to coil around itself. It also tends to get dry quickly and the strands become difficult to loosen once you remove your protective style. There are three elements to successful detangling and washing your hair at home.

First, do not just forget about your hair because it is in a protective style. Remember to moisturise it regularly to prevent the strands from drying out. Spray it regularly, a few times each week. Alternate with using a light oil on your strands.

Sleep on satin to protect it. When you decide to take down your style, use a good moisturising oil like avocado, castor, macadamia or even corn oil, and a slippery conditioner. Allocate enough time.

Natural hair is time consuming - there is no shortcut. Put on a movie, relax and take one tiny section at a time. Be gentle with your hair and use only your fingers to carefully pull the hair apart. If you cannot finish in one session, put your hair in big plaits or a bun and cover it with a scarf or a hat until you resume the following day.

Finally, do a pre-shampoo treatment with either yoghurt or ghee mixed with conditioner. Wash it in sections, alternating these three different cleansers each month: a conditioning co-wash, a clay mask and a clarifying shampoo. If your hair still feels too tangled and dry, try incorporating an oil rinse in your wash routine. When styling, keep your hair in large twists or matutas as you work on each section.

These pointers should drastically reduce tangling and breakage in your hair.