View Full Version : What's so bad about fine-toothed combs?

Glass Spires
January 3rd, 2014, 10:35 PM
When you see posts about detangling your hair, you usually see a few different points pop up repeatedly-- never detangle with a brush and only detangle with a wide-toothed comb. Trying to avoid damage, I've attempted to detangle with a wide-tooth comb a few times, and it fails miserably, because my hair is just too fine. Usually the knots or tangles are small enough to slip between the teeth of the comb, making the 'detangling' about as useful as aimlessly running a hair fork through it.:doh:Because of this, I usually use a fine-toothed comb, but I can't help but wonder--what's the problem with fine-toothed combs, that you should avoid them?

January 3rd, 2014, 11:14 PM
I think for people with coarse or thick hair fine tooth combs may snag and or even shred the hair. But you're right – I have fine hair as well and wide tooth combs are only good in the shower to distribute conditioner. I would never use one to detangle. That being said, I don't like fine tooth combs either because they tend to get caught on tangles and snap them. I bought a good boar bristle brush (Denman) and brush my hair in small sections, from the ends up to the scalp.

January 3rd, 2014, 11:16 PM
Not all things apply to all people. Thicker individual strands tend to require a wider tooth comb. Makes sense. If you use a fine tooth comb on that same head of hair, you may just be doing too deep a detangling at once, therefore turning tangles into tight knots or simply pulling too much on the strands. It really goes back to the same questions about how frequently you should wash or whether silicones are bad. If you hair likes/dislikes something, your hair routine should reflect that. Sometimes those things change over time and sometimes they don't, so whatever is working for you right now should be just fine. Happy growing.

January 3rd, 2014, 11:26 PM
Hmm... I think the difference for me is that it's easier for me to be gentle with a wide toothed comb because it deals with fewer tangles at a time, while a fine toothed comb would get stuck more easily and risk to rip the hairs (my ends kind of bend in different directions and therefore tangle more than the rest of the hair). Finer teeth also often have sharper edges and could therefore possibly harm the hair more. What is often considered best is a wide toothed comb without seams or sharp edges but I think it depends on your hairtype.. If you don't have any problems with your finer comb getting stuck or causing any other problems I wouldn't worry too much. If you do, you could maybe try a tangle teezer or something similar!

January 4th, 2014, 12:46 AM
Finger detangle first, then final detangle and smoothing with a fine toothed comb. Not so good for fixing tangles...I finger detangle the snarls the comb catches on...but coarse hair here.

January 4th, 2014, 01:03 AM
Coarse hair here, boar bristle brushes and fine tooth combs snag my hair like crazy. I use the Tangle Teezer now, no wide tooth comb as it also pulled my hair too much.

January 4th, 2014, 02:37 AM
My comb has double ends. One is wide teeth and the other is "styling" teeth.

To detangle dry hair I use the fine teeth from the ends up towards the roots. Closer to the roots I switch over to the wide teeth (weird, but it works for me). Sometimes I switch back and forth depending on what kind of resistance I am getting. I just go by feel mostly. Once the tangles are out I use the wide teeth to comb it all back for washing.

On wet hair I use some finger combing and then the wide teeth, just from the nape area down. Once it is fully dry I use wide teeth again to part it and style it. In the mornings I just finger comb a little bit.

My hair is very fine and very thin. Wide tooth combs don't work for detangling on my hair. By the time I go to detangle my hair it is very stringy, and for the wide teeth to catch onto anything I would have to start at the roots, and that would just push a bunch of tangles down to the ends.

January 4th, 2014, 02:38 AM
I don't think it's as bad if you're in the 1s. But I would not attempt a FTC on a wavy texture. I used to detangle with it as a teenager, and it's not appropriate for wavy hair! BTW, I have F hair as well, and that doesn't seem to matter as much, a wide-tooth comb detangles just fine after washing (but my hair is detangled properly with a brush before a wash, the way it should).

January 4th, 2014, 06:24 AM
My hair is thick enough to eat fine toothed combs so they're a no go for me, I prefer my tangle teezer these days. I used to swear by a denman but they're too much hassle to clean and aren't good for straight up detangling.

January 4th, 2014, 06:58 AM
I have very fine hair too, but curly, so a fine comb is out of the question for detangling (but I use it for styling to lay the upper hair layer smooth in an updo - I don't let it think in more than 1mm though).

I have the same problem with the wide comb being to far apart for most tangles, but there is a really stupid trick to avoid that: Just tilt the comb so the distance between the teeth shrinks. On very tangly hair I nearly hold it vertically.

In my opinion one reason to never - yes, some can get away better with it than others, but I include ALL hairtypes in this statement - use a fine tooth comb as detangler (on detangled hair it's a whole different matter) is that if you come across a single knot from above while detangling (if you don't it's not called detangling) is the moment you notice the resistance of a knot, the fine teeth have already spread all involved hair wide and thus pulled the knot tighter AND damaged the individual strands of hair through stretching! (For one hair is weaker than a lot)
You don't want that to happen.

If you don't like wide tooth combs I would (and sometimes do) use a brush, tangle teaser or finger combing.

Of course you can still choose to use it and try minimizing the damage (just like some people are fine with bleaching and growing their hair even though
bleaching with great care still wields some amount of damage) but I wonder: Why bother?

disclaimer: of course this is my opinion, feel free to disagree.

January 4th, 2014, 07:18 AM
I think the fine tooth comb comes from using it not a wide tooth comb first and it pulls the knots out. You want to use wide tooth comb to detangle then go over it with a fine tooth comb.

January 4th, 2014, 07:52 AM
I have straight, fine hair and run into the same issue.
On dry hair, I usually run the wide tooth comb through first to get the majority of the tangles out, then I will use my paddle brush to detangle the rest of the way.
On wet hair, I use only my wide tooth comb to detangle. I have never liked using fine tooth combs, just feels too rough on my fragile strands. :)

January 4th, 2014, 08:12 AM
Perhaps the difference is in the terminology. I use a wide toothed comb to detangle and a fine toothed comb to comb after my hair is detangled. The fine tooth catches a few tangles left after the wide, but it would be a nightmare to detangle with the fine!

January 4th, 2014, 08:18 AM
My partner with his 1a/F/i hair always uses the fine tooth end of my comb, straight out of the shower too - which to me is some kind of :magic:, with mine (2b/M/ii) even though it's quite slippery and not tangle prone that would just be a ludicrous thing to attempt! For me I find that the wide tooth end creates a nice smoothed look as well as gliding through easily, I've tried using the fine tooth end to "polish" it but it honestly makes no visual difference as I guess it gets totally detangled with the wide end, but I can see how different hair types would need different detangling, and what might be damaging or unnecessary for me won't be the case for everyone.

January 4th, 2014, 08:18 AM
I have fine hair and don't use a fine OR wide tooth comb. I have the same issue you mentioned with knots going right through the wider teeth, and fine tooth combs seem to actually create tangles for me somehow. Essentially, wide tooth combs do nothing and fine tooth combs do too much.

Instead, I use a 'medium' tooth comb like this one (https://www.etsy.com/listing/170208025/evolatree-elegant-natural-handcrafted?ref=sr_gallery_33&ga_search_query=horn+comb&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmadehorn+comb) for everything. :shrug: It works for me. I still end up finger-detangling some knots to avoid breaking my hair, but this comb helps me find them (a wide tooth doesn't even find them, just glides right past) without causing lots of damage.

Like everything else here, YMMV-- if the fine tooth comb isn't causing damage for you, then keep using it!

Agnes Hannah
January 8th, 2014, 07:12 AM
I have very fine hair too, I use a wooden wide toothed comb or my kent wide toothed comb to detangle, but I do it slowly and in sections at a time. The wooden comb can be tilted at an angle to bring the teeth closer together. I use my fine combs for smoothing down and polishing when I have finished my styling. I tend to brush after i have oiled, I think HeidiW did a video on this and I follow it. I comb before showering to detangle also.

January 9th, 2014, 08:53 PM
I don't use fine-toothed combs anymore because my hair is thick, coarse, and wavy--I used to, and then I'd get annoyed at my frizzy/poofy hair. It was partly because I didn't know my natural texture was borderline-wavy, and very likely that the heat-damage from all the straightening in high school was making the frizz worse.

And now if I use a fine-toothed comb on my healthy almost-waves, it doesn't frizz at all. It just gets stuck a few inches past my scalp. :P Plus, it hurts like a mofo to have an often-small comb pull at EVERY SINGLE TANGLE it finds.

January 9th, 2014, 09:19 PM
I have "can't decide if it is fine or coarse" hair, and I prefer a wider tooth comb. But I comb with a head full of conditioner in the shower to detangle and finger comb randomly. I smooth once a day with a small BBB I was given.

January 9th, 2014, 09:30 PM
I have fine thin straight hair and I only use a wide tooth comb (from the body shop) and rarely I use my tangle teezer if I need to detangle before a shower. They both worth perfectly fine for me. I can only see myself using a fine toothed comb for the face framing hairs/bangs area but it's not necessary so I don't. I feel like fine tooth combs pull on the hair more. When I had shorter hair I used a wide tooth comb in the shower to distribute detangler as well but I gave up that habit as I found it unnecessary. I own a wooden toothed paddle brush but I never use it. I haven't brushed my hair in years :poot: