This is the question.
And my answer? Not to Comb!
My super kinky, tightly coiled 4C hair doesn’t like to be combed.
I didn’t realise this at first, but time and time again, hair has spoken and finally, I am listening.
Hair shedding is mostly normal. We have countless hair strands, in varied phases of growth. It’s not odd to lose a few every other day. But what I deal with when a comb meets my hair is not shedding. It is breakage.
My Protein levels are fine, but almost every time I comb my hair, I am very discouraged by the amount of hair I have left on my comb, in the sink, on the floor. And I’m all about length retention this year. If I’m seriously looking forward to hair like this,
I do not need constant breakage. AT ALL.
The difference between Shedding and Breakage.
Shedding is when you lose a hair, like a whole hair. You know you lose a hair when you see a little white bulb at one end. That fell out of your follicle. Hair can also be yanked out through violent combing, but if you’re combing your hair normally, chances are, a shed hair really just shed. On its own.
Breakage on the other hand is the cause of any other hair you see. Not a full strand, you see no white bulbs. It is half or one quarter or any measurement really, of hair that has broken off from a still existing strand. Unlike shedding, breakage doesn’t just happen in the normal course of life of a hair strand. It could be as a result of lack of protein or moisture, or from mechanical manipulation through combing and styling.
So you’re just not going to comb your hair?
Yep. That’s the plan. I’m not throwing away my comb oh. I’m just saying, maybe once a month? Only on Washdays? I’ll keep you posted.
Hmm. But. How will you keep your hair from matting?
I’m not trying to grow locs. I’ve found that for my hair’s detangling needs, my fingers are perfectly alright. My digits are as good as and even way better than any (wide-toothed) comb.
My fingers are able to navigate my knotty tangles better than combs. With them I can be much more gentle, and still get the work done.
The catch? Finger detangling takes time. And when worn loose and free, finger-detangled hair doesn’t look as smooth. I’m not a fan of the way my kinky 4c fro looks without any combing at all.
And when I have to comb?
I did a ‘How To Comb’ post in February last year.
But I think something about that should be different now.
We are told not to comb natural hair dry. This makes sense. If your hair is dry, brittle with no product in it (e.g. after you just take out a weave)
But, when we comb our hair wet, though it is easier, it is also in a vulnerable state.
So, what am I saying?
I’ve realised that when my hair is dry on the outside but well moisturised on the inside, (and somewhat stretched) combing is a much more pleasant experience. A lot less hair leaves my head when I comb hair in this state.
Even when I get a blowout before braids at the salon, though it can be a little aggressive, less hair is lost than when I comb right after a shower.
In my opinion, there are only a few hard and fast rules for natural hair and hair care. It’d be so much easier to not accept everything you read as absolutes. Be guided by their logic, but let your personal experience have the final say.
So guys. I want to know. Am I the only one that feels or has come to feel this way about combing or handling their hair? Do you comb or are you a finger detangler? What works for you? Please, share!