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Finger Combing Natural Hair: How It Can Save Your Strands

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Finger combing is one of the best things you can do for your natural hair.

Don’t worry I know what you’re thinking because I have been there myself.  It sounds like a lot of work, it sounds complicated and it’s just another thing to add to your already long list of hair things to do.

I get you!

When I first heard about finger combing I immediately thought there is no way that this will work for my type of hair and I just don’t have the time to do it.

Well, those first thoughts are completely rational but you have to try to look beyond that if you want this to work for you.


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Finger combing


What Is Finger Combing?

Finger combing is a simple method of gently combing your hair using just your fingers without the use of any hair tools such as a comb or a hairbrush.

The reasoning behind this method is that using a comb can be a little harsh on your hair. You can’t feel the pull on your hair until it’s too late and the hair strands start snapping.

Finger combing is much more gentle and will allow you to feel the tension on the stands of your hair before it snaps, therefore, causing less breakage.


Related post: How to detangle hair the easy way


What Are Some Of The Pros Of Finger Combing?

There are many benefits of finger combing some of the main ones being:

1. Less Breakage

As you will be able to feel what is happening to your hair the chances are that you will be less likely to pull on strands of hair meaning that you won’t experience as much breakage.

You can very easily notice breakage in your hair when you can see some strands that are noticeably shorter than others.


Related post: How to reduce natural hair breakage


2. There Is More Potential For Your Hair To Grow Longer

The less breakage that you have the more potential there is for your hair to grow.

Remember everyone’s hair grows at some rate but some people see the benefits of that growth much easier as they have less breakage.

If it’s waist-length hair that you are after this could be a theory that you need to test!


Related post: 6 Reasons your natural hair is not growing


3. Easier To Ease Apart Tangles

Tangles are every natural’s worst nightmare. Our hair is naturally curly and kinky which means that the strands tend to twist around each other causing tangles.

If you choose to adopt the finger comb method then prying apart tangles is made much easier.

When you see a tangle in your hair the worst thing that you can do is to pull on it as that only causes it to get tighter until you eventually break the strand.

If you finger comb you have the opportunity to tease apart the tangles rather than just break them using a comb.


4. Less Painful

The pain of having my natural hair combed as a child still haunts me today.  It was the most painful thing that I had to endure every Sunday afternoon.

Thankfully using the finger combing method we no longer have to deal with such things.

Finger detangling is much more gentle on the scalp which is great news if you are tender headed.



Finger combing


What Are Some Of The Cons Of Finger Combing?

1. Time

Finger combing can take up a lot of time.

If you are the type of person that doesn’t have a lot of time to spend on your hair then perhaps this will not be the method for you.

It’s not something that you can get done in 10 minutes so if you are pushed for time don’t even start this process as you will likely try to rush and cause yourself lots of breakage in the process.


2. Takes Practice

This is the hardest part about finger combing, it takes a lot of practice to get right.

The first couple of times that you do it, you probably won’t feel satisfied and will feel like picking up the comb again.

Learning to finger comb takes time as well as patience so don’t expect to get it right on your first try.


3. You Won’t Be Able To Get Rid Of All Tangles

No matter how much time you invest in finger combing you likely won’t be able to get rid of all the tangles.

That’s just the way it works.  You can only do your best.

In the long run, having a few tangles here and there weighed against having your hair grow long and healthy might just be a nice compromise.


How To Finger Detangle Your Natural Hair

No doubt everyone will finger detangle in different ways but these are the 3 best ways to go about finger combing your hair.


The Basics Of Finger Combing

Divide your hair into small sections.  It’s always easier to work with smaller sections when it comes to natural hair rather than trying to tackle everything at once.

I like to divide my hair into 8 sections but you can change this depending on how thin or thick your natural hair is.

Take the first section and gently divide it in half.

The idea here is to remove any shed hair that you come across.

You shed between 100-150 strands of hair every day and it’s those loose strands that can make your hair more tangled.

As you split the hair gently tease out the loose strands of hair and untangle any knots that you come across remembering not to pull on them.

Continue to do this until you feel happy that you have taken out as many tangles as you possibly can.

Once you are done with the section, twist it and move on to the next.


Three Ways To Detangle Your Hair


1. Dry Hair

Finger detangling on dry hair is the hardest method in my opinion as you have no slip to work with.

You have to be extremely gentle if you chose this method as it’s easy for the strands of hair to break.

Detangling on dry straightened hair is a good option if you don’t want your hair to revert to being your natural curl pattern right now.


Related post: How to straighten your hair without heat


2. Lightly Sprayed

If dry finger combing doesn’t take your fancy then you can use the same method from above but this time spray your hair with a little water and add some form of cream or oil for a little slip to help you get through it.


3. On wash day

Finger combing on wash day is by far the most convenient time to do it because you are already invested in spending time washing your hair anyway.

Again use the steps above to finger-comb your hair but use the shower to help you.

The running water will make it easy for you to finger comb.


Which method is best?

The answer to this is definitely an individual thing but for the most part I would say that doing it on wash day is the most convenient but you may not want to wait that long between washes before finger-combing again.

In this case, I would then say that lightly spraying your hair would be the best method to use.



Finger combing vs using a comb

Some naturals find finger combing to be too time-consuming so they would rather continue to use tools to style their hair.

If you fall into this category then I would say try to keep the combs and brushes to minimum usage.

Use a wide-tooth comb as this will be much more gentle than using a comb with very narrow teeth.

If you want to use a hairbrush use a soft-bristled brush rather than a hard brush.

The idea here is to treat your hair gently.

If you can, try to use a combination of the 2 practices if you simply can’t bear to put down the comb.


Products you can use to help with finger combing



Final thoughts on finger combing

Finger combing if done the right way can be the best thing you can do for your natural hair.

It allows you to get rid of the tangles in your hair with minimal breakage so that you can retain the length of your hair and still keep it healthy at the same time.


Related post:

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Finger combing


How to finger-comb your natural hair



Jane Powell

Monday 16th of March 2020

Best hair advice I’ve read so far for natural hair. I’ve been doing it for about one week and love it. This along with natural hair products and my hair has never looked better! I’ll keep you posted

Curls and Cocoa

Saturday 21st of March 2020

That's great! It really does help a lot. It takes time to get used to it but the more you do it the easier it gets.