My No-Comb Challenge

Going back to natural is a journey. For those of us nappy veterans who have been natural for a decade or more (like me) finding out new things, learning new things about our natural hair can still amaze us just like it did we first went back.

For a few months, I have been overwhelmed with work. Far too much work for one person but work I needed to do for my job. It meant my natural hair styling took a back seat. I wore ponytails, puffs, single braids... etc during this hump. Styles that didn’t require daily maintenance but dangerous styles for me to wear day in day out. Combing, brushing, elastics and dense tangles and breakage ensued... I paid a heavy price for that laziness. It took a week to get all the tangles out, I lost a lot of hair out of my tender scalp in the process and a month ago I had to cut 6 inches of damaged ends and broken off hair off.

This is the start of my complete 180 regarding combs and brushes.

Since that date I have not used a comb or brush. No, I am not kidding – not once. And my hair has thanked me for it.  I have come to the conclusion that combs, brushes, picks etc are not friends of my natural hair. Here’s why.

  • My hair breaks easily. It is very dense but fine.

  • My hair wants to wave up on the top and coil up at the ends. This means it will clump up and wrap around itself. I am not fighting that.

  • When my hair fights the comb, my hair always loses.

  • nocombhair image

So, this is my routine.

1. When it is time to detangle/restyle without shampooing, I thoroughly wet my hair under a running shower.

2. With the water running through it, I grab a section of my hair with one hand and gently pull apart the clumped coiled sections of hair.

3. At the same time, I detangle the ends by dragging my fingers through my hair, taking out the shed hair as I go. I do this all around my head.

4. After the ends are done, I drag my fingers through my hair in sections, from scalp to ends, removing shed hair and working through any major clumps. This only takes a minute or so.

5. Then put conditioner on, work it through each section of hair, through the coils  and leave in as long as I need to.

6. Rinse out conditioner while working fingers through hair from scalp to ends.

7. Squeeze excess water out of ends. Do not shake head (this will create tangles)

8. Use a super absorbent hair towel to squeeze water from ends then place on head and press (do not rub) to absorb water from head.

9. Apply leave-in, stying mousse/cream from scalp to ends, gently separating clumps/coils that naturally form.

Style as required.

For shampoo days, shampoo apply shampoo before conditioning stage, being careful to get to the scalp but not rubbing up and down and adding to tangles.

I can twist it at this stage or coil it around my fingers to make it look like locs. But I do not use any kind of styling tool – just my fingers.

When my hair is thoroughly dry, it shrinks up and clumps into coils and its own sections. It holds its form until the next wet session.

I may use a light conditioning spray between wetting sessions, depending on the weather and the style I am wearing my hair in.

This works for me, it may or may not work for you. But you may want to give it a try. Check out the *new* No Comb No Brush Challenge board on our Forums for updates and help!


Last modified on Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:37
Patricia Gaines

Patricia Gaines aka Deecoily is the founder and creator of Nappturality in 2002, the beginning of the natural hair movement. Since 2000 she has been blogging on all things natural hair, Black culture and politics.

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