View Full Version : Brushing & detangling. Wet or Dry?

May 31st, 2011, 08:17 PM
I've never been abled to get a straight answer about this--people always give me contradicting answers. :p And I don't mean which one will make your hair poof less, just which damages less. So, whatcha think? :D

May 31st, 2011, 08:26 PM
For me I detangle when its dry- hair is weak when its wet so its more likely to get damaged if you detangle then. But! Curly girls de-tangle when wet with conditioner in because then their hair drys with nicely defined curls. Also the conditioner offers more slip so the tangles just slide out. Sooo, I would say detangleing when dry is best unless your hair is covered in conditioner. I dont know if there is a difference between the two :shrug:

May 31st, 2011, 08:29 PM
i detangle before i get in the shower. it probably wont tangle after that but if it does i just take a wide tooth comb and run it through gently

May 31st, 2011, 08:30 PM
I brush out my hair before showering, and then detangle dry, just 'cause I've heard from many people that wet hair breaks easier. However, I do detangle wet if I conditioned my hair that day, because then the comb just slips through without any problem.

May 31st, 2011, 08:33 PM
Hair is more fragile when wet so generally it is advised to detangle when the hair is dry. Some however prefer to do so in the shower or bath when the hair is full of conditioner. I generally brush out most of the tangles before I wash my hair and then I brush it out completely when it is damp, I have found that works the best for my hair. But I think it depends on the type of hair you got and what works best for the individual.

May 31st, 2011, 08:34 PM
There are safe ways to detangle when either wet or dry, so it's really not an issue of which is 'better', per se, but it's a personal preference thing, in my opinion.

I like to de-tangle my length when it's dry, using my fingers first, then my wide-tooth comb. I prefer to use my fingers, because then it's easier for me to feel the pull of a tangle, and my reaction time in being able to stop myself from ripping through it is better. Although, being a CO-er, I have less tangles now at lower-mid-thigh length, than I did when I used shampoo at tailbone length and shorter. Go figure. :rolleyes:

A lot of people do detangle when wet, though if you must, I would recommend doing it in the shower while you have conditioner in, to help a bit with slip and prevent undue breakage.

May 31st, 2011, 08:37 PM
Have to do it when it's wet and full of conditioner, safest on my hair, nice and gentle. It tangles even more and snags when my curls are in

May 31st, 2011, 08:38 PM
I think the right method for you (or anyone) would be the method that is easier. While damp (towel dried) my comb glides very easily, like there's no tangles. Dry it takes a while...Being gentle enough you can detangle either way without damage.

Another note is not to stretch your hair if you are detangling damp/wet.

May 31st, 2011, 08:58 PM
I detangle my hair with my fingers while there is still conditioner in it in the shower. When I get out of the shower I usually find the tangles haven't returned but I still gently run a comb through it to make sure it lays neatly.

May 31st, 2011, 09:02 PM
Thank you for the replies! :D I'll see what works best, then.

May 31st, 2011, 09:05 PM
I detangle with a wide toothed comb when wet (very gently!) and a soft brush (the blue jojoba infused one) or with my fingers the next morning when it is drier.

May 31st, 2011, 09:12 PM
I detangle constantly. Absolutely before a shower, with conditioner during. I use a wide toothed comb when it's almost dry and then normaly braid the naughty little mess.

Now the naughty little mess likes to chew up hair ties and spit them out, or just spit them out so I detangle with my finger gently when it's dry before re-braids, sloppy buns (if I am angry with it) or what ever it goes up into. If the mess is left down it can decide to be very nice and pretty or as you have probably already deduced a MESS.

May 31st, 2011, 09:14 PM
I detangle before washing my hair then again right when I get out of the shower with wet hair. If I waited until it was dry I doubt I would even be able to get a comb through my hair and ripping through a million tangles is way more damaging than getting through a few when wet.

May 31st, 2011, 11:42 PM
I also detangle with my hair wet and slathered in conditioner. The comb slides through so nicely.

May 31st, 2011, 11:51 PM
Wet and full of conditioner! It tangles easier when it's dry and waves start to settle.

June 1st, 2011, 12:13 AM
I detangle when wet, let air dry, and then detange again.

So naturally I choose cheese.

June 1st, 2011, 01:16 AM
I brush out my hair before showering, and then detangle dry, just 'cause I've heard from many people that wet hair breaks easier. However, I do detangle wet if I conditioned my hair that day, because then the comb just slips through without any problem.
Me too!:hifive:

June 1st, 2011, 01:23 AM
I used to brush/detangle when it was wet. Then i came here and learned better. My curls are much nicer and I hope my hair breaks less and therefore 'grows' faster!

June 1st, 2011, 01:29 AM
I detangle at all stages, before I shower, while I have conditioner in, again about half way through the drying process, again when it is dry before I plait it, *again* in the morning before I put it up and lastly when I take my updo out.

However, I am much more 'aware' of being gentle to avoid damage when it is wet with no conditioner. From the point of view of least damage - it feels like wet with conditioner is the best. I get more snags from dry hair to be honest.

June 1st, 2011, 01:35 AM
Actually, just a tad damp is what works best for me.

June 1st, 2011, 01:37 AM
I know that it is better to brush hair when it is dry, but I don't.
it takes so long to dry I don't have patience to wait, so usually I let it dry for about 2 hours, and then brush it when it is still wettish. (not damp but not wet either)

June 1st, 2011, 01:54 AM
I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' answer to this - it depends on length, hair type, how tangled the hair is and technique. My hair is past SL and wurly so combing clumps (leave-in conditioner not a styling product) when dry makes the ends catch, but my fingers/ comb slip through easily when under the shower. Having said that I damaged my hair badly by brushing whilst wet, but I was doing so vigorously and repeatedly as it dried. :o

June 1st, 2011, 01:55 AM
I detangle when my hair is towel-dry and I comb it several times while it's drying. I use a wide-tooth comb.

June 1st, 2011, 02:13 AM
Overall, the answer is that there is less damage to hair when you detangle dry. However, it really depends on your hair type. Some hair types detangle more easily when they are wet and smothered in conditioner because they tend to tangle and snap more easily when they are combed dry. So that's why you were given contradicting answers

June 1st, 2011, 04:40 AM
I comb before showering and then again once ive washed the conditioner out and then its left alone until totally dry and then I use my BBB.

Its O.K. to detangle when wet just be more gentle as its very stretchy and more prone to breakage but with careful handling you should be fine. I would never brush hair wet though, i use a shower comb not wooden when wet, as I worry the wood may split and rip my hair.

June 1st, 2011, 05:23 AM
I always detangle with conditioner in my hair as it makes it more slippery. I do brush/comb when dry but I do proper after-shower de-tangling when wet. :)

June 1st, 2011, 06:49 AM
Wet and slathered with conditioner.

June 1st, 2011, 09:17 AM
I prefer to detangle when dripping wet. Half wet is a snarly disaster, so if I miss the correct moisture "window" I have to either re-wet it, or wait until it's completely dry, to get the job done.

June 1st, 2011, 10:11 AM
Well, I prefer to detangle when dry. Wet detangling always gives me breakage. :(

June 1st, 2011, 10:42 AM
I've switched from wet detangling to dry recently; before washes only. So far it's not bad and my hair does not tangle more, so that's great.

June 1st, 2011, 11:29 AM
LOL, I just cast my vote, and 30 people voted for wet and 30 for dry. :p I picked dry. My hair breaks easier if it's wet (or even damp) but hardly at all when dry. So, unless I have a really bad tangle, I always wait for it to dry first.

June 1st, 2011, 12:01 PM
Dry. Never wet.

I lose less hair than 'average' (according to the almighty internet) & I definitely notice much, much more hair coming out when I very gently finger-comb my hair in the shower if uber-slathered with conditioner. I actually got a clogged drain by doing that for a while & I've never had to pull hair out of the drain. Ick.

June 1st, 2011, 12:14 PM
It's better to detangle while wet for chemically damaged hair, at least. I didn't vote, because it's not a simple yes/no thing. It all depends on what type of hair you have. The only thing I'm pretty sure of is that it's better to detangle both wet and dry, than to detangle semi-dry hair.

June 1st, 2011, 12:38 PM
I always do it after my hair dries because when it's wet it stretches out if I hit a tangle and it freaks me out. I detangle when it's dry with my tangle teezer, which is a total god send

ETA: I have very straight hair. I've heard that for people with curly hair it is way easier to detangle with conditioner soaked wet hair

June 1st, 2011, 12:50 PM
I put dry but I actually do it damp.

I will detangle before I shower, and finger comb while I have my conditioner in. But once I get out of the shower, I let my hair dry until it's just damp and then I'll detangle. If I have time (which I never do) I'll wait to detangle until it's completely dry.

June 1st, 2011, 12:55 PM
I always brush and detangle when my hair is wet. I apply a leave-in conditioner first, then go through my hair with my fingers. Then I brush. If I wait for my hair to dry BEFORE I brush, I will just cause more damage and breakage by trying to detangle dry hair.

So I brush when it's wet, tie it up, and leave it until the next wash. *Sometimes* I brush in between, but very very gently.


elbow chic
June 1st, 2011, 01:23 PM
I've done it both ways but am trying to get away from wet-combing or brushing. I can't say it damaged my hair but I'm willing to take advice from my longhaired elders.

Lately I'm combing before showering, then showering with as little manipulation as possible, then airdrying and not combing again till I HAVE to.

It's frustrating because it can take many hours for my hair to dry and it looks very unkempt till it's been at least combed again.

I can't be seen in public with my air-drying uncombed head. :laugh: So it hardly ever gets completely dry before I comb it again, but hey, I'm trying.

June 1st, 2011, 01:34 PM

I brush it out before I wash it and always try and leave it until it dries. The damage is one thing (I have no proof of this but it's obviously possible), but my hair becomes very unmanageable when brushed wet, just ugh...

June 1st, 2011, 01:40 PM
I detangle with my Tangle Teezer when wet. I don't comb or brush again until I am ready to style.

June 1st, 2011, 01:59 PM
I brush, comb, finger-comb, whatever while it's dry-- my hair is straight enough I can get away with it, and it's fine enough I don't want to deal with the big knots when it's wet. On a shower day, I get it as knot-free as I can, then hop in the shower, slather it with conditioner, and detangle it again (with a wide-toothed comb). I try to ruffle it as little as possible while it dries, so I don't put new knots in-- it tangles really easily when it's wet.

June 1st, 2011, 02:21 PM
When very, very wet and with conditioner. I never have tangles after a wash, so it's more like putting it in place. The worse time for my hair is when it's in that damp stage.

June 1st, 2011, 03:18 PM
I always detangle when wet, used to do it when dry, but it damaged my hair way more than when wet.. And when wet I can get somewhat control over my bangs at the same time :p

June 1st, 2011, 03:40 PM
Both (so I voted "cheese"). I usually detangle my hair dry, but I generally feel like it needs a comb run through it post-shower, so I add oil to the semi-wet hair as an additional lubricant and comb it that way. You definitely need to be gentler combing wet, but the key is doing what works for you with the least breakage.

June 1st, 2011, 03:40 PM
I was told to detangle before washing or oiling or handling my hair. I also detangle when I get up in the morning before I put it up on a bun.

Wet hair is fragile, so I never do it whet. But for some reason I remember clearly someone telling me to do it before washing...

June 1st, 2011, 04:47 PM
I think if someone is going to take advice from "wiser longhairs" they should at least find someone with similar hairtype, or someone who clearly studied enough to understand how all hairtypes work. I still think the best is try to see how it works on your hair both ways.

June 1st, 2011, 09:18 PM
I notice that my hair never really tangles. I can sleep on. It won't stay up half the time. If my hair does look a little rough in the morning, really as long as I get mine wet it looks good as new. :shrug:

I know that doesn't help much. But, I am a fan of running my fingers through my hair when it's loaded with conditioner.

Athena's Owl
June 1st, 2011, 09:23 PM
wet with the water from the shower running down the section i'm detangling. works beautifully.

June 1st, 2011, 10:04 PM
Definitely when wet. My hair's breaks more easily when it's dry and it also dries full of tangles unless I detangle before.

June 2nd, 2011, 01:11 PM
As a curly girl, I finger comb while wet. It works for me.

June 2nd, 2011, 01:27 PM
I voted cheese; I detangle very gently when my hair's damp, about 60% dry, with my fingers and a wooden comb. Really it depends on hairtype - brushing curly hair generally just isn't a good idea. :couch:

June 2nd, 2011, 01:48 PM
If I try to comb while my hair is wet I find TONS of tangles. If I wait until it's dry, nothing. Lol, my hair is confused!

June 2nd, 2011, 01:55 PM
I honestly do a little bit of both. I need to detangle a bit when it's wet, just so it shapes up nicer when it is drying. I don't do it a lot though, and wait until it is damp rather than wet. Then every 10 minutes or so give it a few passes with a wide tooth pick. When it is dry I do more serious detangling and combing and then brushing.

June 2nd, 2011, 02:00 PM
If I try to comb while my hair is wet I find TONS of tangles. If I wait until it's dry, nothing. Lol, my hair is confused!

I usually detangle/comb/brush as I described in the above post. But yesterday, I was exhausted after a long trip and just let it air dry with no detangling or combing. It laid so nicely and was completely tangle free with my flipping and slight finger combing (or pushing it out of my face, really). I was honestly shocked when I looked in the mirror hours later. Where did the tangles and the awkward bent pieces go!?!?:ponder:

June 3rd, 2011, 02:02 PM
I find that my hair doesn't need tons of detangling, but I used a wide toothed comb to straighten it out and I blow dry down the shaft so it stays that way. :)