How to Detangle Fine Hair

Woman with tangled hair
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Long, fine hair is especially susceptible to tangles. If you have trouble detangling your long or fine hair (or your kid's), here are some tips on how to properly detangle fine hair.

Reach for the Conditioner

Some people with fine hair think they can get away without conditioner because fine hair tends to be oily and therefore doesn't need conditioner.

Wrong. A conditioner will help soften strands, making them so much easier to detangle. If you have oily hair, apply conditioner to the bottom two-thirds of your hair. You can also try applying conditioner before you shampoo—the shampoo will rinse off the residue the conditioner can leave, but you will still be left with untangled hair. If you have normal or dry hair, try a leave-in conditioner, applied to ends.

A leave-in conditioner sprayed only on the bottom two-thirds of hair can also help in the detangling process.

The Wide-Tooth Comb vs. the Detangling Brush

For years, beauty experts preached that the best way to detangle fine hair is with a wide-toothed comb. And then someone created detangling brushes.

There are actually plastic brushes on the market created for detangling hair when it's wet. The bristles are spaced far apart so you experience less breakage, but (and this is a big but) these are not meant for super fine, easily breakable hair. If you have fine hair, you are much better off with a comb than a brush. My favorite comb is the Breezelike No Static Wavy Handle Green Sandalwood Wide Tooth Comb.

Don't have super fine hair? You might consider The Tangle Teezer. It's particularly great for detangling children's hair without yanking it.

How to Comb (or Brush Hair) When It's Wet

Always comb or brush wet hair by working from the bottom of hair up. Start by combing the bottom six inches of hair. When this is detangled, move on up the hair until you reach your crown.

How to Brush out Tangles in Dry Hair

If hair is dry and tangled and you don't want to wet hair, rub a few drops of shine serum in your palms, then run your hands through your hair. The serum will help you work out the knots with a comb. Don't have a serum on hand? Spray a leave-in conditioner on hair before combing or brushing out tangles.

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