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  1. #1
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    Default Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    This is going to be long, and for that I apologize. I don't know how to be succinct.

    I have very straight, very fine, very dense, mid-back-length hair that tangles if I look at it funny. I detangle my hair in sections, and by the time I've detangled the second section, the first section is tangled again. Braids and buns reduce the number of tangles I accumulate throughout the day, but there are still a lot of them every time I comb my hair. The only time I remember having hair that stayed detangled was when it was shorter than shoulder-length. I'm hoping some of you might have ideas for how to get my hair to cooperate, especially ideas that don't involve oils. I'm autistic and have a sensory processing disorder, and anything with an oily or otherwise slimy texture is bad news for me. (I can't even handle lotion.)

    Other possibly helpful information:

    I always braid my hair before I go to sleep, and I rebraid it or put it in a bun when I wake up. Basically, it's only loose when I shower. My wash routine is to shampoo my scalp twice (otherwise my hair still looks oily when it dries) with Tea Tree shampoo (the tea tree oil helps keep the flakes away), rinse, shampoo the length once, rinse, and condition the length but not the scalp with Tea Tree conditioner. When I'm done with my shower, I squeeze the length of my hair to get some of the water out, and I drape my towel over my shoulders to keep my pajamas from getting drenched. Then I spray Suave Kids detangler in my hair and detangle with a wide-tooth plastic comb. When my hair is about as detangled as I think it's going to get, I brush it with a boar bristle Wet Brush (a mix of boar bristles and ... regular? ... bristles). I put my hair in a braid, flip the hanging edge of my towel up onto my shoulders so that my braid is in a little towel envelope (otherwise my hair will drip for a long time), and go about my evening. For mornings and non-shower evenings, I undo my braid or bun, detangle with a wide-tooth wooden comb, and brush with a boar bristle brush (all boar bristles, not mixed like the Wet Brush) before braiding or bunning my hair again.

    My hair has the most tangles right after I shower, but that's also when it's the easiest to detangle. Forgetting to condition or spray detangler in my hair makes the tangles worse post-shower, and skipping detangling for any mornings or non-shower evenings makes the tangles a lot worse the next time I shower. Not brushing my hair also makes the tangles worse. The boar bristle brushes have gone a long way in keeping my scalp from getting flaky. Although the brush that's all boar bristles is new, and it doesn't really feel like it gets to my scalp like the Wet Brush or my previous brush with a mix of boar bristles and regular bristles (a Flex Brush, which I loved until it broke). I never color or heat-style my hair.

    That was probably too much detail, but I've never been great at figuring out which details are the important ones, in any context. So my question is: Aside from oiling my hair, which is not an option, what can I do to make my hair more manageable? I probably shouldn't get too daring with my hair experiments until after my brother's wedding next week, but maybe there are small adjustments I can make, or at least things to start thinking about/researching.

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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    You think your condition inhibits you from seeing your hair as is? I am just asking because normally, detangling section 2 does not tangle up section 1. If put away the right way. Yes, you need to clip it back up after detangling, to keep the section "safe".
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Quote Originally Posted by lapushka View Post
    You think your condition inhibits you from seeing your hair as is? I am just asking because normally, detangling section 2 does not tangle up section 1. If put away the right way. Yes, you need to clip it back up after detangling, to keep the section "safe".
    Could you elaborate on what you mean by "seeing my hair as is"? And I don't clip my hair to section it; I just put all my hair behind my shoulders, separate small sections one at a time with my fingers, and put them in front of my shoulders when I'm done detangling them. Then after I detangle the second section on one side, I comb the first two sections combined, and so on. And the tangles are already back at that point. Is that not correct? When I get my hair trimmed, the hairdresser doesn't start clipping my hair into sections until they've already detangled all of it and are getting ready to trim it. So I thought clipping the sections was only necessary for trimming hair.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Unfortunately, the things I have found to help my fine-hair-tangle-problems are slimy and oily. Recently found Chi silk infusion serum & it works great for me, but the texture may not work for you? Itís more liquidity to me than oilyÖ so maybe? Otherwise, I can recommend more conditioner, condition twice, or donít rinse it all out. Since the texture of your conditioner doesnít bother you, you could try that one as a leave-in, thought I am not familiar with the product so not sure it will work. Another option, get a heavier conditioner, or one with dimethicone amodimethicone or any other silicone, OR get a different leave-in all together if itís not adding slip to detangle. I find tangles difficult with my fine hair. If you find something that works better for you, please share!
    maintaining between WL & HL while seasonally trimming bleached ends last bleach nov 2020

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    floating waves baanoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Oof, what a lot to work with! I love the Chi serum rosenester referred to, and also second the leave-in recommendation. I would also advise against a boar bristle brush on wet hair; I find it terrible for pulling and snagging and creating more tangles/breakage/even more tangles. A tangle teezer or wet brush might work better for you. Best of luck!
    artist, lover, general mystic ☽︎

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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Quote Originally Posted by rosenester View Post
    Unfortunately, the things I have found to help my fine-hair-tangle-problems are slimy and oily. Recently found Chi silk infusion serum & it works great for me, but the texture may not work for you? It’s more liquidity to me than oily… so maybe? Otherwise, I can recommend more conditioner, condition twice, or don’t rinse it all out. Since the texture of your conditioner doesn’t bother you, you could try that one as a leave-in, thought I am not familiar with the product so not sure it will work. Another option, get a heavier conditioner, or one with dimethicone amodimethicone or any other silicone, OR get a different leave-in all together if it’s not adding slip to detangle. I find tangles difficult with my fine hair. If you find something that works better for you, please share!
    Thank you for the suggestions! I could start by trying more conditioner, yeah. I think that's even an experiment that would be safe to try before the wedding, since I already have an idea of how my hair reacts to the conditioner I'm using.

    Quote Originally Posted by baanoo View Post
    Oof, what a lot to work with! I love the Chi serum rosenester referred to, and also second the leave-in recommendation. I would also advise against a boar bristle brush on wet hair; I find it terrible for pulling and snagging and creating more tangles/breakage/even more tangles. A tangle teezer or wet brush might work better for you. Best of luck!
    No boar bristles on wet hair, even if it's a Wet Brush boar bristle brush? I thought the whole point of a Wet Brush was that it could be used on wet hair. (Not trying to argue; just trying to understand.)

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    Member KokoroDragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Quote Originally Posted by Annapox View Post
    No boar bristles on wet hair, even if it's a Wet Brush boar bristle brush? I thought the whole point of a Wet Brush was that it could be used on wet hair. (Not trying to argue; just trying to understand.)
    Personally I wouldn't use boar bristles on wet hair. Wet Brush is the brand, not the function. The original Wet Brush is, of course, for use on wet hair. But to my understanding boar bristles should only be used on dry hair. I used to have a brush with both nylon and boar bristles (different brand) and it said right on the label to never use it on wet hair.

    My go-to brush for detangling is a spiral brush with super flexible nylon bristles. Let me see if I can fine it online...Here it is. I have the "swirl" version.

    I also have fine hair that tangles easily. It also gets greasy easily, which makes finding detangling products hard. Here are a couple things that I have found help:

    1. I always sleep with a satin bonnet. That alone has cut down on tangles so much!

    2. I cut out cones. I know they help with tangles for most people, but for some reason products with silicones always make my tangles way worse. Even detangling products. I don't know how much you've experimented with different products, but it's something to think about.

    3. I have found that my hair tangles much more in braids than in a bun. I always get nape tangles with braids.

    4. Not drying my hair with a towel made more of a difference than I thought it would. I have to use 2-3 t-shirts to soak up the water because one isn't enough. You could also get a super large t-shirt if you only want to use one.

    5. Lint is the enemy. I haven't been able to avoid lint entirely, but I keep my hair covered whenever I'm doing especially dusty tasks. I will also sometimes leave my hair in my satin bonnet if I'm staying home so lint can't get on it.

    My hair is much less tangly now, but it honestly took years to get to this point. I know it can be frustrating, but try not to let the tangles get to you too much!

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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Quote Originally Posted by KokoroDragon View Post
    Personally I wouldn't use boar bristles on wet hair. Wet Brush is the brand, not the function. The original Wet Brush is, of course, for use on wet hair. But to my understanding boar bristles should only be used on dry hair. I used to have a brush with both nylon and boar bristles (different brand) and it said right on the label to never use it on wet hair.

    My go-to brush for detangling is a spiral brush with super flexible nylon bristles. Let me see if I can fine it online...Here it is. I have the "swirl" version.

    I also have fine hair that tangles easily. It also gets greasy easily, which makes finding detangling products hard. Here are a couple things that I have found help:

    1. I always sleep with a satin bonnet. That alone has cut down on tangles so much!

    2. I cut out cones. I know they help with tangles for most people, but for some reason products with silicones always make my tangles way worse. Even detangling products. I don't know how much you've experimented with different products, but it's something to think about.

    3. I have found that my hair tangles much more in braids than in a bun. I always get nape tangles with braids.

    4. Not drying my hair with a towel made more of a difference than I thought it would. I have to use 2-3 t-shirts to soak up the water because one isn't enough. You could also get a super large t-shirt if you only want to use one.

    5. Lint is the enemy. I haven't been able to avoid lint entirely, but I keep my hair covered whenever I'm doing especially dusty tasks. I will also sometimes leave my hair in my satin bonnet if I'm staying home so lint can't get on it.

    My hair is much less tangly now, but it honestly took years to get to this point. I know it can be frustrating, but try not to let the tangles get to you too much!
    Ah, I see. I had assumed that a brand called Wet Brush would make sure all its brushes were suitable for wet hair. But that would be too logical. Does my hair have to be completely dry to use boar bristles, or is it okay if my hair is a little damp, like when I braid it wet and it's still damp in the morning when I brush it next? I used to have a brush that was flexible like the one you linked, but it broke after less than a year. How long have you been using your current brush?

    I'll keep the satin bonnet in mind, but I'm worried it won't be comfortable to sleep in, so I might hold off until I've tried some of the other suggestions. My current shampoo, conditioner, and detangler all have cones, but there have definitely been times when I used shampoos/conditioners/detanglers that didn't have cones, and I don't remember there being a big difference. I might be remembering wrong, though. I do know that my hair is easier to detangle with my current conditioner and detangler than without. Does that mean my hair is okay with cones?

    I haven't kept track carefully, but I have the impression that my hair gets more tangles in a bun than in a braid. That might have to do with the fact that it usually takes me two or three attempts to get a bun to stay without being uncomfortably tight, though. My hair is very talented at escaping from most hair toys, so there's a very narrow window where my bun is tight enough to stay put but loose enough to be comfortable.

    Does it have to be a particularly soft T-shirt, or will any T-shirt work better than a towel? I think there must be a bandana somewhere in my house, so I can probably cover my hair while I do dusty tasks.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    So to summarize the suggestions I think are the most doable so far (in no particular order):

    • Stop using boar bristles on wet hair
    • Leave conditioner in longer
    • Detangle in the shower with conditioner still in
    • Use more conditioner
    • Condition twice
    • Cover hair for dusty tasks
    • Detangle before showering (in addition to after)
    • Dry hair with an old T-shirt (or several shirts) instead of a towel


    And if those don't work:
    • Wear a satin bonnet to sleep
    • Dry hair with a microfiber towel


    I know the general rule is to make one change at a time. Does that rule apply to all of these changes, or would it make sense, for example, to try detangling before I shower and covering my hair for dusty work at the same time? Or some other combination of the suggestions? And how do I decide which change(s) to make first?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    I wonder if it’s the material that your hair is resting on that is contributing to the tangles? Wool (or acrylic) jumpers or cardigans, or towelling might make the tangles worse. My daughter likes to keep her hair in a towel until it is almost dry, but I notice that it can cause her hair to frizz and tangle. A microfibre towel might help, if you haven’t tried that already, or an old t-shirt instead of a towel.

    Your hair/tangle situation sounds a lot like my daughter’s A satin (or silk) pillowcase makes a difference, but keeping the hair braided and combing through twice a day (as you are already doing) is vital for her hair. I detangle her hair in the shower, with conditioner in, using a Tangle Teezer wet detangler (or whatever it’s called!) but the Wet Brush would work too. Then just rinsing the conditioner out of the already detangled hair is nice and easy.

    If your main reason for using the boar bristle brush is for flakes, maybe there is something else to address there. I don’t have experience with a flaky scalp but maybe someone else will chip in.

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