I don’t know about you, but, when it comes to my head of thick, curly natural hair, detangling can be a long and painful chore. I’ve tried to detangle in the shower, using tons of conditioner, spraying on olive oil, and even dry detangling by hand (ouch!) but, for the most part, it always took more time than I wanted, left me with a tender scalp, and resulted in a handful of shed hair that didn’t exactly make me feel good about the process. Over time, certain tips and tricks picked up from #teamnatural have led me to develop my own homemade detangling gel; it’s a quick mix of kitchen and store-bought products that give my natural hair great slip, impart tons of moisture, and leave my strands feeling and looking healthier.
The base of my detangling mix is a great shea butter glaze I picked up from The King and Queen Emporium in New Orleans. It’s a head to toe glaze that was recommended for my hair because of it’s smooth, spreadable texture. If you can’t make your way to the store on Bayou Road, I recommend using another thick, creamy shea butter product of your choice or whipping some raw shea butter in a mixer until smooth.
The next ingredient to my detangling gelée is extra virgin olive oil. I add about 3 tbsp to half a cup of glaze; it’s a generous helping, but it definitely gets the job done! Next go in 1 tbsp of coconut oil, 2 tsp of tea tree oil, and 3 vitamin E soft-gels. I stir the mixture until it’s pretty smooth in a microwave safe, lidded plastic container.
To incorporate the ingredients of the detangling mixture even more, I pop the container in the microwave on medium for 15-20 seconds at a time. The trick is to heat the mixture until it begins to look transparent, but isn’t bubbling hot. We just want to blend it, not cook it! Take your time heating and stirring until you can’t tell the oil from the glaze and can see through the mix to the bottom of the container.
The final step is to put the lid on and place your mix in the freezer for about two minutes. This will harden the mixture back up and turn it into a smooth, scoopable gel. The consistency should be like a creamy pudding and, when rubbed in the palm of your hand, the mix with melt.
Now you’re ready to detangle your natural hair! Part your hair into medium-sized sections, spray each section generously with water, and apply your DIY detangling gel starting at the roots. Using a wide tooth comb, gently detangle the ends and then slowly slide your comb from root to tip. Once a section is detangled, two-strand twist the section and finish the rest of your hair. I like to sit with a plastic cap on my head for 15 minutes to let the great moisturizing ingredients penetrate the shaft before moving on to a clarifying rinse! This detangling mixture is heavy on the oils, so it’s not meant to remain in your styled hair; rinse thoroughly and don’t forget to seal your hair with a healthy oil before styling. After my rinse, I double-strand twisted my hair with Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Conditioner so I can rock a fierce twist-out for the Natural Hair Pick-Nic!