Detangle in the shower is a technique by which one detangles their hair using only water, shampoo or conditioner (and perhaps other things like oil/gels/creams) during the shower. It allows one to detangle while showering, thus removing combing damage when you detangle your hair dry. Detangle in the shower is not a new technique as many naturals were doing it way before I came along and started promoting it on youtube. I don’t take credit for inventing the method, but this is my interpretation.
Detangle in the shower was initially known as ‘The Soak’ or ‘Soaking Method.’ Now, using shampoo or conditioner alone to detangle might work in some cases. Still, other factors need to be taken into account besides just getting your hair wet during your detangling session. These factors have been considered and addressed in the Shower Detangle method outlined below.
Step 1: Pre-poo/detangle dry with oil or cream
Pre-pooing is sectioning off your hair and applying a heavy oil or cream to your detangle. I do not recommend pre-pooing with water alone; this causes problems because when you wash off the oil/cream, it passes away much of the ‘slip’ from the hair strands, making it very difficult to get a comb through the hair later in the shower.
Step 2: Get into position.
When you have a shower head that can be held in place, place it directly over your shoulder so that when you sit down on a stool, bench, or whatever you’re using, you’ll be under the direct spray from above. It’s essential to keep your head back so that conditioner doesn’t go in your eyes or all over your face. If it’s not possible to shower directly overhead, then work with what you have.
Step 3: Shampoo/conditioner
If using shampoo, apply this first all over your hair and massage the scalp well so that it builds up a good lather. Rinse off immediately. If using conditioner, use this on detangle wet hair only (leave out the scalp). Apply liberally to each section of the hair as you come to it, starting with the back. Remember not to get any conditioner in your face or eyes. Then take that same heavy cream or oil applied before washing (detangler) and try to work it into your hair by scrunching upward with your fingers. Try working the cream/oil all onto just the 2-3 inches from scalp to tip, concentrating on the ends.
Step 4: Rinse & detangle
Get rinsed out well under a strong spray of water to wash out all the shampoo and conditioner. Get your shower head back in position if you have been forced to move it or take up a different position so that it’s directly over your head again. Now start detangling with a wide-tooth comb while still spraying with direct overhead water pressure. Make sure you go slowly and carefully because you don’t want to lose more hair than necessary! If you can use both hands simultaneously for this part, do so but don’t worry, it is not required. You mustn’t stop detangling at any point until you’re done. This is very important.
The most important thing about detangling with this technique is to focus on the ends and try not to lose your patience with anyone part or section of the hair as it tends to resist the comb a bit more than others will. If you know it will take a long time with a particular part, don’t let it frustrate you too much because once the tangles are out, it’s smooth sailing from there on! If you lose some hair at the bottom, that’s not such a big deal, but if you lose some hair at the top where things go all wonky while dry, then that can be very discouraging, so just be patient and focus on doing your best rather than rushing through to make it to the end.
Step 5: Rinse & conditioner
When you’re done with detangling, rinse well again all over your head and focus on the ends, there is no need for another full wash at this point (unless it’s been a long time since your last one). Leave in some good conditioner everywhere but try not to leave any on the scalp. This can cause problems later when you think you’ve rinsed out everything but then find that the hair near your roots is dry and as tangled as ever because of residues from products left behind after rinsing! This also helps make sure all those nasty tangles are softened up and made much easier to deal with. If you used shampoo, use a small amount of conditioner on your scalp only. If you used conditioner, use a small amount of shampoo on your scalp only.
Step 6: Bleach crusties & last detangle
If you have any dried-up bleach crusties or are just worried there are some, you must get them out before moving on to the next step. Get yourself into position again for overhead water pressure and slowly work at getting rid of all the crusty residue until your hair is powdery soft again. Most people find this easiest to do by slowly working their way from back to front and vice versa (like in step 3), but if you like to cross-grain it feel free to do that instead because this method works no matter what order you detangle in (that is unless your hair isn’t wet enough but we’ve already discussed that above).
Another thing you might want to do at this stage if you have the time and patience is detangled again with a wide-tooth comb just for good measure. This won’t take long and can help you eliminate any last-minute tangles that were missed previously or didn’t come out as well as they should have. Don’t worry about losing any more hair than necessary by doing this because even though it’s still technically possible, it won’t be nearly as likely now since your hair will be so soft and slippery from all the conditioner you left in it earlier!
Step 7: Wash & Go
At this point, you should be wholly detangled and ready to wash your hair normally as you would if you had all the time in the world. If this is not the case, don’t worry because it’s still possible to enhance your results by doing some last-minute detangling later on before styling as usual (this technique can also be used instead of sitting under a dryer after coloring but more about that next post ). Keep up with whatever method of washing, rinsing, and conditioning you like best, and for those wondering what I do, here’s my usual routine: shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, oil & style. That’s it!
Now, remember everyone’s hair is different, so these steps might not work the same way for you as they do for me, but these are the basics of what I do. There is no right or wrong way to detangle your hair in the shower, only what works best for you and your unique situation, so be creative, experiment with different products, techniques & accessories until you find something that makes detangling quick and painless every time.