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Hands On: The Pros of Finger Detangling

Who needs a comb and brush? The best detangling may just be at your fingertips.

I recently got a great cut from Devanchan Salon owner and head stylist Denis DaSilva. I walked in with a crazy, spike-y, knotty (it had been a while) cloud of curls. I walked out with a well-shaped halo. DaSilva cut my hair dry and curly, so he could tailor my cut to the way I wear it 95% of days. Since most stylists blow dry my hair then trim, DaSilva’s technique was intriguing indeed. But I got even more interested after he sent me to the shampoo bowl. A lovely junior stylist washed my hair then spent about 30 minutes detangling it with…his fingers. No nifty Tangle Teezer, no wide toothed comb, no rat tail comb—nada, just mano y mane. I dozed off for a bit, but was awake for long enough to get a few deets on what he was doing back there. He kept my hair soaking wet during the process, frequently re-wetting it with a spray bottle and generously coated my strands with DevaCurl One Condition a daily conditioner. Then he just gently worked out the knots and tangles, starting from the bottom of my strands and working his way up. DaSilva explained the logic behind his technique, “With a comb, you can’t feel that you’re ripping your hair out. There’s no sensitivity. By using your hands you lose less hair,” he says. Sounds good and logical, so I tried it myself. Bad news: If you’re anything like me and on a tight schedule, this technique is not for you. It takes significantly longer (an additional 30 minutes for my 3C curls). Perhaps I could get this time down with practice. Great news: Finger detangling did seem to leave more hair on my head. My hair is really fine so it tangles easily and vigorously. For the really bad knots, I did cheat and whip out my rat-tail comb. I’m sold on the pros of finger detangling, but I think I’ll reserve it for my languid weekend hair care routine. The technique is definitely not for a time-crunched Wednesday morning wash.