To Comb Or Not To Comb?

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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!

Love,

AB,

Xx

HOW I COMB MY TWA (TEENY WEENY AFRO)

Hey guys, in this post I’m going to be sharing with you how I comb my kinky twa. 🙂

My hair is such a forest.

And I love it! :p

And I love it! :p

I’ve been asked a few times how I manage to groom my kinky hair. Does it hurt? Isn’t it painful? The answer to this is NO. It isn’t painful when you comb the right way.

Yes sistas, there is a right way to comb natural hair. The wrong way brings you pain and way more breakage. Breakage is bad, real bad, especially if long hair is one of your goals- like yours truly.

You cannot comb your kinky hair the same way you would if it were relaxed. I mean you can, but you shouldn’t. Don’t! It does not look the same. It does not feel the same. While relaxed hair is straight and the strands are easily separated, Natural hair is not straight. It’s all curly and twisty- some people’s strands are more tightly curled or coiled than others. Yes, like little springs or squiggles. Springs that get intertwined with each other, squiggly strands that love to stick together.

So, the right way to comb natural hair is really simple:

  1. NEVER comb natural hair dry! Not combing dry doesn’t mean it should be soaked o. A little bit of the science is explained in this quote below from BGLH. If your hair is as kinky as mine, I think you’d be happier not combing dry. My hair is about 4,5 inches long.
    Comb wet or comb dry?

    Breakage is likely to happen whether hair is combed wet or dry and the method you choose is really a question of preference and ease. Breakage during wet combing is because although hair is very flexible, its strength and ability to resist the force applied from combing is at its lowest. Conversely, when hair is dry, it is at its strongest but it lacks flexibility and therefore is likely to snap. The ideal condition for combing would therefore be when hair is mostly dry (about 80%) so that it is strong and pliable.  However, no matter what your preference, consider using some hair conditioner to increase slip and help reduce damage.

    Spritz some water on it, put in some moisturising cream or lotion, conditioner is your best friend! When you are shampooing on washday, comb with some conditioner to do your detangling before you shampoo.

  2. Wide toothed combs only! Here, this is what I mean by a wide-toothed comb.

    IMG-20130214-01148

    Anything smaller than this is not meant for your curls!

  3. ENDS TO ROOTS IS THE MOTION, NOT ROOTS TO ENDS. Say it again “Ends to roots, not roots to ends”. With relaxed hair, you could freely run your comb through from front to back, that is, roots to ends. (Your roots are just above your scalp, where your hair starts to grow- and your ends are yes, where it ends) Natural hair isn’t the same. If you start combing from the roots, you’re going to meet some resistance. You can’t just move up freely, because of all the curls and kinks. That’s when it hurts. That’s when you put pressure on your hair and make it want to break.

So instead, you start from the ends. Comb the ends, and like that, gently move lower and lower till you get to the roots. You’re detangling and moving down step by step. By the time you’re done, go in the opposite direction and you’ll see you’ll have no problems. This is just to show you how it works. You don’t need to do that, but you can if you want- after the first combing the right way.

        4. OF COURSE, COMB GENTLY. You might not always have the patience or the time but as much as possible, try to wake up early  enough so that you have enough time to comb. It takes me about twenty minutes in the morning for me to spritz, moisturise, seal and comb. The combing takes me about 13 minutes, but it could be less for you. I tend to over-do.

I made a video of me combing for a little bit, just in case anyone doesn’t really get it yet. It’s my very first video (took me four attempts) and I was SO not the best I could be, but please forgive me, I’ll do much better videos in the future. Shoutout to my very own Clara Peters, my videographer, Iby!! And DJ Dilys for my previous attempts!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

X

*the background music in the video: White Nights- Oh Land, Pizza & Burger- Sarkodie x Jayso, Disparate Youth- Santigold.