Reader Question: How to get knots out of curly hair

Today’s reader question is from Allison who wants to know how and when to brush curly hair. She asks:

I am a long curly-haired girl, it’s half-way to my waist when curly.

Your advice says to not brush your hair when it is wet. This is not the first time I have heard this advice, as it leads to hair breaking. Unfortunately, whenever I brush my hair when it is dry, it ruins my curls and I turn into a big frizz ball, like Hermione from Harry Potter. It’s really bad…

Is there a way to brush it when it is dry, get all the knots out, and keep my curls from getting frizzy?

Brushing your hair when wet does cause breakages. When your hair is wet it expands and stretches. Wet hair can stretch by up to 50% when you brush it and so it’s prone to splits and breakages.

Instead of using a brush on wet hair, use a wide tooth comb to gently untangle any knots. Alternatively the Tangle Teezer is a brush that is safe to use on wet hair as it has flexible bristles that move with your hair, rather than stretching it.

To remove knots in my hair, after shampooing I apply conditioner and comb gently. If I’m wearing my hair curly I carefully towel dry it, then either let it air dry or use a diffuser to dry it quickly. My curly hair routine is here.

Unfortunately there’s not really a good way to brush curly hair when dry without creating frizz. But sometimes I love this look, and I recommend a Mason Pearson bristle brush for when you want to brush out your curls into soft waves. It’s an expensive brush but I can’t live without mine. It makes hair smoother and shinier.

If you still have issues with knots, try using a leave in conditioner or a detangler when you wash your hair. Take care when styling your hair and wear your hair like this when you sleep which will reduce knots too.

Do you have any advice on how to remove knots or brush curly hair?

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  1. Lis says

    I have very curly hair and to get tangles out I comb my hair once I’ve applied a lot of conditioner in the shower.
    I also use a microfibre towel to help dry my hair too and this seems to have reduced my frizzy hair problem.

    • Hair Romance says

      Great point Lis, a micorfibre towel, or old t-shirt, makes a great towel for curly hair. Less friction = less frizz

  2. says

    I have super curly coily hair and the only way to detangle with the least amount of damage, IMO is to do so in the shower with loads of conditioner in your hair and using your fingers as your main tool. I used to use a wide tooth comb but I notice I lose a lot less hair when I just use my fingers. yes, it takes longer but to me it’s worth it.

    As for those SSKs (single strand knots), when I can’t get them out with my fingers and some conditioner, I just snip them off. No sense stressing over them :-)
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  3. Lauren says

    I havent tried this but you can try separating each curl by hand but keep the clump of hair that makes up the curl.

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