One of the biggest changes I made in my hair routine was handling my hair more gently. Particularly I changed how I combed my hair, the frequency I combed and detangled, and the tools I used to comb. Here are some important tips that have helped me reduce breakage and grow my natural hair to longer lengths.
- Stop combing wet hair in the shower. Hair is the most fragile when it is wet and more likely to break. Instead I comb my hair after towel drying and applying leave in conditioner. My hair is damp, not soaking wet when I detangle. (some ladies have told me that they successfully comb their hair when it is wet and loaded with conditioner, if you choose to do this please comb carefully and take your time)
- Add finger combing to your routine. Honestly I typically only comb my hair on wash day. During the week I use my fingers to finger comb and carefully remove major tangles. This has saved my hair from breaking. Combing daily can be the equivalent of giving yourself a weekly hair cut because of the breakage.
- Try low manipulation styles that don’t require daily combing. Natural hair styles like braids outs, twists, and updos that I can do without combing work best for minimizing breakage.
- Get rid of the poorly made comb. If you are using one of those combs you got in a pack for .99 let it go. You need quality tools to grow your hair out. Look carefully at your comb and notice the teeth of it. Most likely there are little lines or ridges on the teeth. The ridges or seams can pull and snag hair. One of the biggest and best investments I made for my hair was to purchase a seamless comb. A seamless comb is made from a single piece of material whether it is wood, plastic etc… this minimizes the seams which would otherwise snag your hair. Other more economical combs like the Cricket Detangler have had the seams buffed out. I suggest buying 1 with wide teeth for wash days and 1 with medium or smaller teeth for helping to remove shed hair and styling.
- Do not yank and snatch the comb through your hair. Start by detangling your ends and work your way up your strands. Finally comb from the root down to the end. If you hit a tangle or knot stop and use your finger to help release it. Sometimes applying oil makes it easier to remove. If you can hear your hair popping and making noise as you comb, your are probably doing it too roughly.
- Drop the afro pick . When I first stopped chopped off my relaxer I ran out and bought a pick. I assumed that an afro had to be picked out. A pick however is one of the worst tools for your hair in my opinion. It rakes through the hair and pulls it at the ends. Try using a seamless comb along with your hands to shape you afro.
- Leave the brush for smoothing and styling not detangling. Attempting to detangle my wet or damp hair with a brush was one of the worse things I ever did. I ended up with breakage and splits worse than I ever got from using heat. My strands wrapped around the brush bristles and would just break. I thought the brush was removing shed hair only to later realize that it was actually snatching my hair out. Personally I rarely brush my hair, I only brush my edges when I need to smooth them down and rarely if ever brush the length of my hair. (Note: I know brushing can help define curls but I would encourage you to try curl defining your hair after towel drying)