How To Minimize Post-shampoo Detangling

Young woman who is towel-drying her long hair
Photo: Kamira/Shutterstock
Q: My long straight hair is always tangled when I wash it. It takes at least 15 minutes to detangle it. How can I minimize the post-shampoo hair detangling job and reduce the time I need for detangling?
A: Here are a couple of tips to hopefully help you with your dilemma:
First, start by brushing your hair thoroughly – with a natural bristle brush, from scalp to ends – until the hair is smooth. This will help to remove surface dirt and product and redistribute some of the sebaceous oils produced by the scalp. Once this is done, you are ready to wash your hair.
Second, make sure when you shampoo your hair you only massage at the scalp area. And this means that you use the tips of your fingers to make small back and forth or side to side motions at the scalp. Usually this is no more than a one-half-inch motion, perhaps zigzagging as you go from the top of the head to the perimeter of the hair.
The goal here is to form the lather at the scalp, and then pull it down through the lengths of the hair. Never pile all your hair up on your head to lather it up. Hair is most fragile when it is wet, and you CAN create tangles easily.
After gently shampooing the hair, your third step is to apply a moisture-rich conditioner (preferably one for smoothing the hair). Be sure to follow the instructions, many people don't leave their conditioner in place long enough to be of any use.
Finally, when you DRY your hair, DO NOT rub your head with a towel. This only causes tangles. Take a clean, dry towel and blot the hair by pressing the towel against the head. In the length of the hair, simply press sections of hair between folds of the towel. If you want the hair drier, but not blow-dried, you can switch to paper towels after removing the initial amount of moisture with a regular cloth one.
When it comes to detangling, use a WIDE TOOTH comb and work from end to scalp. If necessary, you can get a detangling spray to help smooth the hair and make knots slip out more easily.
See also:
How to brush and comb your hair
How to dry hair with a towel without damaging it
How to detangle hair
How to avoid tangled or matted hair when you wake up in the morning