Brushing your hair seems like it should be a straightforward affair, but just like with all things curly, it unfortunately isn’t. There are a million tutorials and suggestions online on how to brush curly hair and how to avoid making it frizzy when you do, but they miss one key point: you should never brush curly hair. More specifically, you should never use a brush on curly hair. The same goes for wavy hair – keep the brush away. So what should you do? How can you detangle your curly or wavy hair without causing damage and without making your hair frizzy?
There are of course ways to “brush” curly and wavy hair, but none of them actually involve a brush. The reason for this is that almost all types of brushes are far too rough for curly and wavy hair. Their teeth (or worse, bristles) are fine and often closely spaced, and when used on curly or wavy hair they get caught on the hair and cause breakage, damage, and frizz.
There are two ways that curlies and wavies can safely brush and detangle without causing damage to their hair and without making it frizzy and unmanageable: combing their hair with a wide-tooth comb or using their fingers to detangle. With both of these methods, however, there are a few rules of thumb you will need to keep in mind to ensure that you are not damaging your hair. Keep reading to learn more about these detangling methods and keep your curls and waves frizz and damage free.
Detangling should always happen in the shower, with your hair thoroughly and evenly soaked with water, and coated with liberal amounts of conditioner. The conditioner provides slip between the comb or your fingers and your hair, as well as between the individual strands of hair. This slip prevents snagging and breakage when you comb and detangle your hair, the main culprits behind that halo of frizz we are all too familiar with.
Attacking a mass of tangled curls with a comb or with your fingers, much less a brush, is not the way to go. You’ll just fund yourself having to utilize force to get through the tangles, which will damage your hair and cause it to break. Instead, divide the hair into manageable parts and start detangling in sections from the bottom. This means that your comb or fingers have to go through fewer tangles with each comb-through, resulting in less stress on the hair and less damage to it in the long run.
Hair that is sufficiently nourished and hydrated is hair that can withstand brushing and detangling. Healthy hair is less prone to snagging, more resilient to stretching (it will bounce back instead of break), and is smoother to comb through. Keep your hair sufficiently hydrated and nourished, supplement with protein treatments if necessary, and don’t use products that could dry out your hair.
If you find yourself with hair that is resistant to detangling after you’ve set down the brush, detangled with care from the bottom, and nourished your hair to perfection, it may be time to consider a detangling spray. CG-friendly detangling products, when incorporated into your routine as a preventative measure, can minimize how much your hair actually tangles between washes. They are designed to provide extra slip, and many detanglers can be used in combination with styling products as a sort of precautionary measure against tangles. This will make your detangling sessions easier both on you and on your hair, and prevent frizz, damage, and breakage.