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Thread: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

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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.

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    Member rosenester's Avatar
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    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!
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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 ☽︎ gently growing towards tbl

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

    Since you mention one section tangling while you work on another one, I wonder if part of the problem is the "inactive" hair getting jumbled around by your motions while you're working on detangling it. Rather than letting the "inactive" sections simply drape down your back, have you tried some method that would allow it to stay up? For example, you might put your hair in two buns, one a "tangled" bun and one a "detangled" one, and pass sections of hair from one side to the other as you work. I feel like I'm not explaining this very well, but this is the method I use when I'm applying henna.

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    Glitter fairy Chromis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    Well you see, this occurs because our hair is full of tiny tiny wizards. Their experimenting builds up a static charge (all that magic wand zapping you know!) and that causes our hair strands to slither and wind around one another imperceptibly.

    *ahem*

    I have hair a lot like yours actually. I have given up on trying to brush it and only comb the length. I still have a boar bristle brush and I use it on just the scalp when I want it especially smooth and glossy, but it is always more tangles if I use it on the length, no matter how well I detangle before. I use first a wide tooth comb, parting half my hair over each shoulder and then putting them all on one side because otherwise there are somehow snarls in the middle. Just one side down the back is no good for me, has to each be over a shoulder. Then I repeat with a finer tooth wooden comb mostly because of lint. Some of our blankets are to blame for this, but replacing them involves making decisions and also money, which always lands up going to other house things that are more important. Satin pillowcases help a ton at least! Lint is horrible for making tangles and 9/10s of my tangles have a wee nucleus of lint in the middle.

    I can't really comb my hair when it is wet and absolutely can't brush it wet. Some folks can, but they might also have superpowers. Oiling it lightly helps quite a bit and if you do it very sparingly, it won't have that oil slick feel. Natural detangers work the best for me when it is really ornery (humidity!) especially ones that have things like slippery elm and marshmallow root. I got mine from a ren fair up here in Canada, but NightBlooming on Etsy has a really nice one called Selkie that would be easier to get in the US.

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  10. #10
    Member -Aithne-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Why won't my hair stay detangled?

    I hate putting stuff in my hair, too. It makes everything feel oily and yucky, like my face, everything *sympathy*

    When I wash my hair...I use a big plastic wig bush (the teeth are far apart so it doesn't hurt or pull too much) to detangle my hair right after I put conditioner in. I use the Pantene conditioner from Costco. I put it up with an acrylic fork into an equilibrium bun and wait five minutes. This really helps. One minute with conditioner and five make your hair feel *so* different! I rinse my hair out in the bath by swishing my head around in the bath water (boy, does that sound stupid XD *blush*) and then I wring it out (I know this is bad) by twisting it. Then I comb it again with the big plastic wig brush. I then use this new hair drying thing that was recommended to me by someone with beautiful wavy blonde hair here (It was RoseNester! Thank you! I love it! I got a pink one with bunny ears.). It was called a "turby Twist?" It's a microfiber towel (I love it. I'll have to find that thread and thank her). I put it in the hair drying thing by slightly twisting it and laying it flat down the middle by the closed seam. I fold it over one and twice just right on top and twist it and secure it according to instructions. After about five minutes I take it out and put it in a doubled over ponytail with a microfiber drying scrunchie (this keeps the back of my shirt from getting wet because I hate that, too). I do my stuff and then when I go to sleep, I put a folded towel over my pillow and behind it. I leave 4-6 inches between my pillow and the headboard...I'm also short.

    On normal nights and after I wash it...I do a loose circle around my head with my hair and while laying down dump my hair behind my pillow. Caveat: I don't move at all in my sleep. If I go somewhere in the middle of the night, I just pull up my hair and put it back behind my pillow again.

    Come morning, I take out my porcupine brush. It has soft white boar hair and nylon bristles topped with this round stuff. The nylon bristles go to your scalp and don't scratch. Those bristles make the boars hair touch all your hair, too. I really love this brush It makes my hair really soft and shiny and gets rid of frizz on most days I put *all* my hair over my left shoulder so that it's all in the front and do one stroke from the top and then remember to start from the bottom (This happens every day! I guess I can't remember...). I then grab my hair about five inches from the bottom and brush it on my knee. Then I move up 3-4 inches each time. I do my whole head at once. Then I get a sandalwood rattail comb and comb it into a ponytail and put it up with an acrylic stick.

    Later I mess with it while learning other bun styles. I only brush once a day when it's dry. I don't get many tangles (one or two smallish ones) and my hair seems to be about like yours? Fine and normal amount. I don't get big tangles unless I deviate from my routine...or try some really stupid hairstyle (which sometimes I do :/ I know it's not going to work, but I do).

    I hope some of this might help you. I used to get horrible tangles. Good luck with your hair journey

    TLDR: I think the most important parts are combing with conditioner in it, brushing it all at once (parting gives me tangles), and putting my hair up first thing in the morning.
    Last edited by -Aithne-; September 21st, 2022 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Forgot some stuff...
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