Detangling Fine Natural Hair with Conditioner and Oil

Last updated on November 10th, 2023 at 11:57 am

Detangling is a very important part of hair care. For those of us with fine natural hair, it’s critical we do it correctly. In this post, you’ll find tips on detangling fine natural hair with conditioner and oil.

Detangling fine natural hair

There are a number of articles on the subject of detangling here on Fine Natural Hair and Faith. For instance, check out Finger Detangling 101.

There’s many methods for detangling. These include:

  • strict finger detangling
  • detangling with combs and/or brushes
  • a combination of detangling with fingers and combs and/or brushes

Never Detangling Dry Hair

Before we get into detangling fine natural hair with conditioner and oil, let’s quickly examine why you never want to detangle hair when it’s dry.

Hair’s ability to stretch without breaking (tensile strength) is at its best when hair is damp. When you detangle dry hair, (especially dry fine hair) it’s more prone to breakage. It doesn’t matter if you are doing so with fingers or tools like combs and brushes.

Detangling with Conditioner

detangling with conditioner

One of the best ways you can detangle your fine natural hair is with conditioner. Conditioner adds a lot of slip to your hair so that you can detangle with a much smaller risk of breakage.

You can apply a little conditioner to your hair (in sections) and work out tangles rather easily. The conditioner also moistens your hair some so that it’s able to stretch a little while working through the detangling process.

Detangling with Oil

detangling fine natural hair

Oil is not “wet” like conditioner so it doesn’t allow your hair to “stretch” but it does provide slip. Sometimes all you need is a little slip so that you can glide tangled and knotted hairs apart.

When using only oil, spritz your hair with a little water for moisture. The key is to use a small amount of moisture, not to saturate it. Alternatively, a spray moisturizer like The Mane Choice Sweet Oil Endless Moisture Restorative Spray also works well.

Conditioner + Oil

Using both conditioner and oil can provide you with benefits from both.

To detangle, on wash day, here are the steps that I go through:

  • Section hair in 4 (and working section by section)
  • Apply some oil (usually coconut) and then a little conditioner to add a bit of moisture
  • Finger detangle as much as possible
  • End with using the E-Z Detangler to remove any remaining shed hairs

Using an oil like coconut oil to detangle your hair before washing can also provide you with the pre-poo benefit of protecting your hair from hygral fatigue. Dr. Crystal Agh talks about it in her book 90 Days to Beautiful Hair. You’ll find it in the line up of the Top 5 Hair Care Books I shared on in a previous post.

In conclusion, when finger detangling fine natural hair, I high recommend only detangling on wash day (unless you go more than a week without washing…although I wouldn’t go beyond 2 weeks). At the very least, use either conditioner or oil but never detangle dry hair.

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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