Detangling: A Breakthrough

I finally feel like I’m starting to make some real progress with my kiddos…after just one successful wash day. Yes, we have had a detangling breakthrough. I know, I know, I’m getting ahead of myself but it could well be the sign of things to come. Minimal tears. Minimal knots. Maximum curly mum happiness! I really think we’ve cracked it this time!

So my daughter had a bit of a hair disaster akin to a rat’s nest lurking in her head. We’d done a week and a half of a high puff and basically, it did not end well. I had to cut out a few knots, which pained me significantly.

Like it was so bad, that I couldn’t sort it out in one sitting. It was too much stress and she’s really loud when she cries. The boys were also a bit of a tangle but they have less hair, so generally less stress but still stress nonetheless. After, I’d gotten the nest sorted, I knew that our next wash day and detangling session were crucial.

I basically went out into the Natural Hair and Curly Girl community for help and got some great tips that I’m collating into a spreadsheet to organise and investigate later. But the Eureka moment was watching a Naptural85  tutorial (duh – why didn’t I go to her earlier?).

And watching it with my daughter was a genius move on my part. It was like something clicked with her too. I love Naptural85/ Whitney’s style, I love how down to earth she is but most of all, I love that she was not having any of her daughter’s attitude. “Ridiculous!”

I don’t have half the products she had but I improvised with what I’ve got and made it work.

  • Doing The Work In Front Of The TV

Pexels: Rene Asmussen

I’ve been doing this for a while but it was good to see that even the pros have to resort to a bit of distraction to get the kids into this.

  • Protective Styling

I’ve decided that I’m going to have to give free flowing styles for my daughter a miss for the foreseeable future. We were doing that before, then foolishly tried the high puff and realised it’s not for us right now.

  • Detangle time

I’ve talked about braid mank/ gunk/ dirt clots on this blog before and so glad that Whitney mentioned it. Dirt, lint, dust all gets trapped in braids, especially at the roots. My daughter’s hair was pretty thoroughly detangled before the protective style so wasn’t too hard to deal with when taking it out but, regardless of this, the roots are always a problem. Naptural85 used the Cantu Care For Kids Detangling Conditioner and we’ve used a few Cantu products with varying degrees of success.

I’ve never found a branded detangling spray that truly works but I’ve also only actually tried random ones I’ve found in Home Bargains or B&M. I’ve always expected them to do the heavy lifting in detangling but this tutorial shows that they aid in detangling and are helpful at the roots to deal with minor tangles, not a cure all for knots. With that new knowledge in mind, I decided to give the Mielle Tinys & Tots Sacha Inchi Detangling Conditioner I’ve had lurking in the cupboard another go.

And honestly, working it into the slightly matted section at the roots of an old protective style worked so well. Plus it smells dreamy. I actually bought this by accident. I thought it was a wash out conditioner but turns out it’s actually quite useful and definitely did help. I’m planning on buying the Cantu spray that Naptural85  uses because I am easily swayed and have been influenced by this influencer! Really though, I’m convinced she knows what she’s talking about and I’ll need something after the Mielle is finished, so why not take an experts advice? Finally when the protective style is fully taken down and the hair is detangled, place it into twists. This ensures you don’t undo all your hard work, making sure the twists are loose at the roots.

  • Shampoo In Front Of The Tv

Another great tip is to continue the next step in front of the TV. Yes, even shampooing. I’ve used conditioner and deep conditioner in front of the TV/ out of the bathroom so why not the cleansing step too? Whitney doesn’t seem to bothered about using a particular brand so I used the Mielle Tinys & Tots Sachi Inchi Cleansing Shampoo. It’s not as gentle as you would think considering it is formulated for kids and I think it does seem to strip the hair quite a lot but in these circumstances, that’s kind of what I wanted. The loose rooted twists are then easily manipulated in order to get right in there to wash the scalp. Then finger detangling as the twists come out. You will notice there is lots of finger detangling at every stage.

  • Deep Condition


I’ve read about so many different routines that have the Deep Conditioner at varying stages. Before shampoo, after shampoo, before conditioner, after conditioner, a step all by itself. So it doesn’t surprise me when she does this after the shampooing but before the conditioner. She used the Shea Moisture High Porosity DC which I don’t have – shocker! I used the Maui Moisture Agave Hair Mask instead. I’ve only just started using this but I really like it so far. Thick, creamy, fruity smelling and formulated for dry hair. Exactly what we need!

There is more finger detangling and also a quick pass with a wide toothed comb to evenly distribute the product although Whitney says she uses a brush. She’s quite clever doing this as she is detangling while giving the DC time to work. I would usually detangle with the conditioner in so I really like this simple adjustment to our routine. I was going to be a real fangirl and get the Felicia Leatherwood brush she uses but alas, could I find it? And if I did, was it at a reasonable price? No. No it was not.

  • To Condition Or Not To Condition

She says her DC is so good that it’s conditioning the hair too so the actual conditioner step is not needed on this particular day. I’m not  an expert with the Maui Moisture product so I wasn’t sure if it would be enough so I used the conditioners we had to hand as well. I say conditioners as the one I wanted to use got washed down the plughole. The EDEN Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi Conditioner is so thick it’s almost impossible to get out of the bottle so with a rather enthusiastic squeeze, I lost quite a lot in the bath. We made this up with the Morrison’s Wild Raspberry And Jojoba Conditioner. More finger detangling ensues.

Overall, it was such an easy wash day and I think this will be our routine going forward. Obviously, I’ll make adjustments for the time and products we have. However, it feels like I was going in the right direction but this has pushed me over the edge into success.

When I reached out for help, it was also suggested to me that the LOCO Method may be better for retaining moisture so I’m trying that also, you can find out a bit more in my last post – Snapshot & Length Check. I hope when we next take down the protective style and sort out the boys wash n gos/ top knots/ high puffs (they alternate between the three), we have the same super positive results.

And In Conclusion

Pexels: Jill Wellington

It’s all about great products and techniques and I’m really confident in this method. We are finally going in the right direction. I know it’s not groundbreaking or massively different from what I was doing but I’ve gained so  much confidence after watching Naptural85’s video. It’s reassuring seeing she’s going through the same struggles with her kids but finding solutions. This was a really simple process, even if the 1000 words above say different. I’ve seen it work with one of the OGs of DIY Natural Hair Care. More impressively, I was actually able to follow a YouTube tutorial and it worked out well. Perhaps this will be my last post about detangling the kids hair because I’ve won. Lord, I hope so!

Let’s keep growing together!

xx Lee xx

Who do you go to for hair advice? What works for you or your kids in detangling?


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