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Wide-tooth combs for curly hair: tips, technique and benefits

Learn how to use your wide-tooth comb properly to detangle long, curly hair.
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Having trouble detangling your big, vibrant locks? That’s where wide tooth combs come in.

Wide-tooth combs help you tackle knots quickly and easily without damaging your hair. But if breakage mitigation is important to you, you ought to learn the proper technique first.

In this article, we look at the benefits of wide tooth combs and show you how to use them. Let’s take a look.

What is a wide tooth comb?

Wide-tooth combs have large teeth and gaps which help remove knots without snagging. Mimicking the effects of finger combing, it’s the perfect tool for detangling thick or curly hair.

You can also use wide-tooth combs for parting and styling.

Kogu pink and green speckled wide tooth comb lifted on a corner

The benefits of wide tooth combs

It’s easy to detangle

Thanks to the large gaps between the teeth, wide-tooth combs glide through the hair much easier than conventional brushes. When done properly with the right technique and preparation, you can remove knots quickly and safely without causing damage or pain.

Gentle on the scalp

The nibs of the teeth have a larger surface area, so less friction is applied to the scalp as you comb, which helps to gently exfoliate the skin.

Reduces breakage, split ends, and hair loss

Much like finger combing, the large gaps between the teeth of the comb reduce the chance of pulling and ultimately breaking your hair.

How to use your wide tooth comb for curly hair

1. Apply conditioner or essential oil to dry hair

Don’t comb your hair immediately after a shower, but don’t do it dry either.

Your hair is more malleable when wet so it makes for easier combing, however during a wet state, the hair also becomes weaker so is prone to snapping.

The trouble is when your hair is dry it is harder to comb. You are just as likely to damage it all the same because of pulling, even though it is technically stronger.

You need to find a nice middle ground.

That’s where a conditioner or a water-based essential oil mix comes in. Just like they do in the salon, you want to spray a light sheen of product into your dry hair. This way your hair becomes more manageable without compromising its strength.

2. Start by finger combing

As good as wide-tooth combs are, they are not perfect.

Exploring your hair first with your fingers enables you to get a sense of the state of your hair before applying your comb. This is an important step if you want to minimise hair breakage.

You could technically finger-comb your hair completely without touching a wide-tooth comb at all. In fact, many people in the natural hair community swear by finger combing alone. Trouble is, it’s a slow and laborious task and you will struggle to get all the knots out.

The benefits of finger combing allow you to navigate your locks carefully, finding big knots and slowly easing them out prior to combing.

3. Comb from the bottom

With your hair prepped, begin combing from the bottom of your hair and work your way up to your roots, slowly increasing the length of each stroke.

Never start from your roots. If you do, you will yank your hair, which could worsen the knot and/or cause breakage.

And it goes without saying, but make sure to comb in a downwards motion.

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