To Comb Or Not To Comb?


This is the question.

And my answer? Not to Comb!

My super kinky, tightly coiled 4C hair doesn’t like to be combed.

I didn’t realise this at first, but time and time again, hair has spoken and finally, I am listening.

Hair shedding is mostly normal. We have countless hair strands, in varied phases of growth. It’s not odd to lose a few every other day. But what I deal with when a comb meets my hair is not shedding. It is breakage.

My Protein levels are fine, but almost every time I comb my hair, I am very discouraged by the amount of hair I have left on my comb, in the sink, on the floor. And I’m all about length retention this year. If I’m seriously looking forward to hair like this, stuck up hair

I do not need constant breakage. AT ALL.

The difference between Shedding and Breakage.

shedding vs breakage

Shedding is when you lose a hair, like a whole hair. You know you lose a hair when you see a little white bulb at one end. That fell out of your follicle. Hair can also be yanked out through violent combing, but if you’re combing your hair normally, chances are, a shed hair really just shed. On its own.

Breakage on the other hand is the cause of any other hair you see. Not a full strand, you see no white bulbs. It is half or one quarter or any measurement really, of hair that has broken off from a still existing strand. Unlike shedding, breakage doesn’t just happen in the normal course of life of a hair strand. It could be as a result of lack of protein or moisture, or from mechanical manipulation through combing and styling.

So you’re just not going to comb your hair?

Yep. That’s the plan. I’m not throwing away my comb oh. I’m just saying, maybe once a month? Only on Washdays? I’ll keep you posted.

Hmm. But. How will you keep your hair from matting?

I’m not trying to grow locs. I’ve found that for my hair’s detangling needs, my fingers are perfectly alright. My digits are as good as and even way better than any (wide-toothed) comb.

My fingers are able to navigate my knotty tangles better than combs. With them I can be much more gentle, and still get the work done.

The catch? Finger detangling takes time. And when worn loose and free, finger-detangled hair doesn’t look as smooth. I’m not a fan of the way my kinky 4c fro looks without any combing at all.

And when I have to comb?

I did a ‘How To Comb’ post in February last year.

But I think something about that should be different now.

We are told not to comb natural hair dry. This makes sense. If your hair is dry, brittle with no product in it (e.g. after you just take out a weave)

But, when we comb our hair wet, though it is easier, it is also in a vulnerable state.

So, what am I saying?

I’ve realised that when my hair is dry on the outside but well moisturised on the inside, (and somewhat stretched) combing is a much more pleasant experience. A lot less hair leaves my head when I comb hair in this state.

Even when I get a blowout before braids at the salon, though it can be a little aggressive, less hair is lost than when I comb right after a shower.

In my opinion, there are only a few hard and fast rules for natural hair and hair care. It’d be so much easier to not accept everything you read as absolutes. Be guided by their logic, but let your personal experience have the final say.

So guys. I want to know. Am I the only one that feels or has come to feel this way about combing or handling their hair? Do you comb or are you a finger detangler? What works for you? Please, share!





19 thoughts on “To Comb Or Not To Comb?

  1. I didn’t comb my hair for two months and I noticed a lot of length retention. My plan is to comb once in four months, same way I relaxed my hair once in four months when I was still relaxing my hair. Basically my combs are my new ‘relaxers’.


    • I am currently undergoing the HIH Syndrome right now. Just did my BC last month and just cant stop touching my hair. I am also crazy about length retention…MBL in 5years time. I hope I can reach a decision like yours….Combing once every 4 months. But if u were to get protective styling…say a weave or braids…please how would you do it ? Thanks


      • I’ve been protective styling. To protective style, a lot of combing is involved but I allow it because that’s all the combing I’m going to do in two weeks or a month. Thorough detangling once or twice or even thrice a month is a HUGE step up from doing this almost every day (me last year)


  2. In the past, I just had to comb cos I hated the way my hair looked uncombed. Sadly I am not the most patient comber and I was tired of losing hair. This past week, I decided to lay off the combing so I wore my hair in twist outs mostly and hardly used a comb and it worked! I’m definitely sold on the no combing or at least combing only occasionally. This 2014 must be my year of length!


  3. Girl, I was a natural for 8 yrs, and I can count the times I used a comb on one hand. I had a BAA, and loved it. You cam manage with only detangling with your fingers. I promise that´s what I did in those years. I have a sensitive scalp, so I didn´t see the comb as my friend. it worked for me, it´s worked for some, it might work for you. I´m now locked.


  4. Agreed girl, finger combing is the best way to go, I finger detangle in sections and just run through the wide teeth comb to make sure she is fully detangled 🙂 takes time and patience but it’s the best way 🙂


  5. I haven’t combed my 3c/4a hair in MONTHS and its working for me. I find that under running water in the shower, its easy for me to get my shed hairs out, and detangle my hair with my fingers, I’m retaining a lot more of my length with this method, ad my hair is still smooth and easy to manage.


  6. I recently made the decision not to comb my hair anymore because I too, have length retention as my goal this year. I detangle by finger combing during my pre-poo and when I have a DC or regular conditioner in. As for blowing out my hair when it’s time to install braids, I use the tension method. I think it works a lot better than using a dryer attachment or brush (ouch!). So far i’m noticing way less hair fall and I’m happy with the change. I vote no comb!


  7. Pingback: Hello, February!! | The Kink And I

  8. Pingback: Styling Adventures: Finger Coils! | The Kink And I

You say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s