When it comes to finding the best detangling conditioner for natural hair, there’s a few things you must know so that you can choose the best product. This includes ingredients to look for and the full job that your detangling conditioner should be doing.
Feel free to skip around this article using the table of contents because once you discover what I deem to be the best detangling conditioner for natural hair, especially fine hair, there’s more to know. All of the information in this article is beneficial for you to know for your hair journey.
On wash day, there are many hair products you’ll use on your hair but one of the most products you use besides your cleanser and your regular conditioner is a detangler. This product needs to work along side your detangling brush or wide-tooth comb so that when you are done with the process, your hair is in prime condition for styling.
Detangling Conditioner VS. Detangling Shampoo
It’s not without debate, which is better for detangling your hair – a detangling shampoo or conditioner.
I submit to you that you want to use a conditioner to detangle your natural hair. While a detangling shampoo is a great option for saving you time, it’s not the best way to detangle black hair, natural hair.
Different hair textures require different hair products.
Also, if you have color-treated hair, you need to be less concerned about time and more concerned about detangling without breakage. Color treated hair is often of a higher porosity and needs special attention to avoid breakage and maintain moisture.
A detangling shampoo is formulated to cleanse and gently condition. However, the purpose of a shampoo should not be to do these two jobs. The only purpose of a shampoo is to clean your hair.
Yes, there are other benefits a shampoo can have. For example, stimulating hair growth.
However, a shampoo that claims to detangle will still contain ingredients that are meant to somewhat “strip” the hair of dirt and oil so that it’s clean.
You don’t want that in a detangler.
A good detangling conditioner will be formulated to:
- Help remove tangles from your hair
- Smooth the hair shaft
- Prevent frizzy hair
- Infuse your hair with moisture
A detangling shampoo can only do these things to a degree because it still has to focus on cleaning your hair.
Ingredients to Look For in a Detangling Conditioner
The best hair detanglers for curly hair will have a lot of slip. This is necessary. Especially if you have a drier 4 C hair type. Yet, whatever product you use, it should work best for all hair types because all hair types get tangled at some point in time.
There are certain ingredients in a detangler that give a clear indication as to if that product has slip or not. Most of these will be natural ingredients:
- Amino Acids (Check out this article from the Sciency Hair Blog: Amino Acids in Hair Products
- Marshmallow Root (from the marshmallow plant – not the one you put in hot chocolate 🙂 )
- Glycerin (a natural humectant)
- Natural oils like avocado oil or olive oil
- Fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol
- Hair butters like Shea butter (or Mango Butter)
- Water based ingredients like aloe vera
- Behentrimonium Chloride (a conditioning and emulsifying agent that’s also anti-static)
These are just some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in a detangling product.
You may even see added essential oils to some detangling products. These are bonuses added, typically for natural scent. However, they are not necessary for you to achieve a good thorough detangling session.
The best essential oils for curly hair or natural hair have their purpose. Click that link to read about them and which essential oils you should focus on.
Just like I shared on the OLAPLEX products for curly hair, you don’t need them all.
Best Detangling Conditioner for Natural Hair
I’ve tried many many detangling products from detangling sprays to oil mixtures containing a blend of coconut oil, olive oil and more.
See this post here: The Benefits of Detangling Fine Natural Hair with Oil and Conditioner
The best conditioners for detangling will not only remove tangles. It will smooth the hair cuticle.
I’ve never used a product like the Tangle Slayer Extreme Slip Conditioner from Ominira Naturals. This is one of the best detanglers I’ve ever used hands down on my wet hair and my dry hair. I tried it both ways for testing purposes.
While this conditioner has great slip and can literally melt tangles out of your hair, the key is WATER.
The Tangle Slayer is activated with water. Slip is increased 100%.
The Detangling Process
When you go to detangle your hair, you certainly don’t want it to take a long time. You need a great product like Ominira Naturals Tangle Slayer.
You also need a good process for detangling your hair. It’s an essential hair care routine that if done incorrectly could cause additional tangles and even split ends.
I created what I call the 90/10 Detangling Method. This method utilizes your fingers and a detangling tool. 90% your fingers and 10% use of a detangling tool like the EZ Detangler, the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush or a large tooth seamless comb.
Some people recommend that you detangle damp hair. I actually used to do it that way.
The 90/10 detangling method is based on removing tangles from your hair while it’s wet in the shower and your hair is loaded with conditioner. I’ve found that this method saves me way more strands of hair than detangling damp hair or even dry hair.
Check out the demo of me using this detangling method using the Tangle Slayer here:
Even if you choose to use another product other than the Tangle Slayer, it’s the pressure from the shower stream that aids in the detangling process.
Using the water flow along with your fingers mostly, followed by your detangling tool at the end has proven successful in helping me retain more hair during the detangling process.
How to Best Use the Tangle Slayer
To reiterate, for best results you’ll want to apply Tangle Slayer to soaking wet hair while in the shower. Then, work through your hair with your fingers section by section.
There should be no need to go over a section again and again. The Tangle Slayer will do what it says – slay the tangles!
For even better results, wear plastic gloves, specifically exam gloves.
Wearing gloves will protect your hair from getting snagged on your fingernails or rings if you neglect to take them off.
Once you are done detangling your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner followed by a light weight oil like argan oil. This will temporarily seal the moisture into your hair. Next, you’ll move on to the styling process.
Recommended Detangling Tools
How you detangle and what you use to detangle your natural hair with are equally important. There are so many detangling tools, it can be dizzying to figure out which one to use.
I’ve used each of the following tools:
- Felicia Leatherwood Brush
- The Tangle Teazer for Curly Hair
- The Denman Brush
- EZ Dengler Brush
- Plastic wide tooth comb (with seams)
- Wooden wide tooth comb
- Seamless wide tooth comb
Of all the tools used, the ones I found most gentle for fine hair are the EZ Detangler Brush and the Seamless wide tooth comb.
The Tangle Teazer for Curly Hair works well also, especially at defining curls. My only issue with this detangling brush is it’s so small, it often slides out of my hand due to all the conditioner I’m working with when detangling.
If you have short hair, you may find the Tangle Teazer for Curly Hair adequate for use.
The Denman brush was a contender but in order for it to be more gentle, you have to remove a few rows of teeth (every other row). I don’t want to have to “alter” my detangling tool so I just don’t bother. The EZ Detangler brush has happily taken its place.
The reason the Felicia Leatherwood brush didn’t make the cut is it’s just not flexible enough. The EZ Detangler appears to be a knockoff of Felicia Leatherwood’s brush but in an improved fashion.
It’s the flexibility and the brush’s ability to “give” with your hair that makes it better. Felicia Leatherwood’s brush is just too structured and stiff in my opinion.
Final Thoughts on Detangling Natural Hair
It doesn’t matter if you will be rocking your natural curls, a blow out or a protective style. You always want to work with detangled hair.
The Tangle Slayer from Ominira is just what you need to quickly work through those tangles and restore your hair to a manageable state.
When you detangle with the right products and tools, you facilitate your hair’s ability to reach its hair growth potential. This is done by greatly reducing hair breakage because as we know, all hair grows (barring illness or clogged hair follicles). It’s the hair we retain that makes the difference.
So, where to next?
More Articles About Detangling
Here are some more helpful articles written around the subject of detangling: