When I tell people that I didn’t comb my 4c hair for one year, they look at me as though I’m crazy. I can see them wondering if my two strand twists are actually locs. Then I will show them pics of myself in smoother hairstyles like afro puffs and twist outs and they look mind-blown.
Knowingly, I chuckle as I explain the concept of finger detangling and how I use it as a regular means of keeping my hair free from knots and shed hair. Then I’ll go on to explain how I do, in fact, use combs but on a less frequent basis, so that I can remove any shed hair that I may have missed during the finger detangling process.
Combing vs Finger Detangling
Detangling my hair using traditional hair combing methods (i.e. using combs or brushes) is how I first learned to remove shed hair and knots from my hair. However, when I started my healthy hair journey, I learned that using your fingers can be just as effective for maintain your strands. In fact, the less that I used a comb to comb my hair, the more length I was able to retain. So what would happen if I could put off detangling my hair with a comb for a week? Or a month? What if I didn’t comb my hair for one year?!
To Comb or Not to Comb?
Like many other 4c naturals, my hair tends to be quite fragile. My hair is a mix of fine and medium strands and so I need to be very careful in the way that I manipulate it. When I started this healthy hair journey, I would comb my hair quite regularly. It wasn’t until I learned about the benefits of protective styling and gentle detangling that I started decreasing the frequency of how often I comb my hair. At first, I would comb my hair once a week and then I changed the interval to every two weeks. Soon, three months would roll around before I would pick up a comb.
When I started to comb my hair less frequently, I came to understand how my hair moves and bends, and how to gently manipulate it. By being in tune with my hair in this way, I realized how and why using a combing tool was limiting my retention. I started to wonder what would happen if I didn’t comb my 4c hair for one year.
I Didn’t Comb My 4c Hair for One Year
As, I gained confidence in my ability to detangle my hair with my fingers, I extended the period between combing my hair to one year. That’s right. I didn’t comb my 4c hair for one whole year and this is my second year doing it. I know that it sounds extreme and one would expect that there would I would have a lot of shed and matted hair but the opposite is true.
What I’ve found is that the amount of shed hair that I lose from doing a “deep” detangling using a comb, is very similar to the amount that I lose if I do a deep detangling with my fingers. For me, this indicates that finger detangling works very well for my strands.
As much as I love being able to get into my roots and detangle thoroughly with a comb, I feel like combing my hair, however infrequent, results in more breakage than I care to experience. I feel that for me, combing has become an unnecessary force of habit. As a result, as my finger detangling skills improve, I will consider extending my combing sessions beyond one year.
Would you ever consider not combing your hair for 1 year?