The above photo is an example of what NOT to do when detangling your precious strands.
Detangling hair is one of the most important processes to healthy hair and retaining length because many strands are broken or damaged during this process. Before I proceed, I must warn you, "Never Detangle Your Hair If You Are In A Rush." You will always do more damage than good if you rush through the detangling process. Bring your patience.
Some causes of hair damage during the detangling process are:
- Stripping of the cuticle layer by use of detangling brushes and combs.
- Shed hair that wraps around other strands creating tangles.
- Knots formed by styling and frizzy hair.
- Detangling hair from root to tip instead of tip to root.
The best way to retain hair/length and limit damage is to first finger detangle the hair when it is dry. Hair is less vulnerable when dry and tangles can be easily seen and manipulated.
Hair is weakest when wet, this is because water breaks down the natural hydrogen bonds in the hair. Hydrogen bonds link the keratin chains of each strand. When hair dries the hydrogen bonds are restored (Hair is the strongest when the hydrogen bonds are linked or when the hair is dry). This explains why reshaping styles like roller sets, twists outs or spiral curls are most effective when the hair is styled while wet. When the bonds break as a result of water, the shape of hair changes, as the hair dries new hydrogen bonds are formed and the hair is reshaped.
Since hair is strongest when dry. Finger detangling the hair while it is dry is important because it not only allows you to easily see tangles and knots but your hair is less likely to break during this process. Finger detangling hair when dry will save more time and strands during the wet detangling process because the hair is mostly detangled. NOTE: This is a win win situation because hair is weakest when wet so the less manipulation the better.
Crazy fact: Even though hair feels dry to the touch it is never completely dry because hair is hygroscopic. Meaning it attracts water from the atmosphere. Ever wonder why your hair frizzes when it is humid? This is why.
To learn more about Finger Detangling wet hair and techniques, click (Finger Detangling Curly Hair).