We wouldn’t wish tangled tresses on our worst enemy. The tugging, pulling, and raking of hair isn’t just frustrating… it’s painful. And, get this: If you don’t do it right, you can actually damage your strands. That’s why so many hair care brands turn their attention to creating the best detanglers, combs, and other products that can overcome one of the most common hair faux pas. However, it’s not just about the products — it’s also about technique!

Is Combing Your Hair in The Shower The Best method?

Green comb on a baby blue background.

Applying a detangling spray post-shower might help soften knots, but it’s not the most effective method to get rid of knots. “One of the best ways to get rid of tangles is to gently comb it in the shower after applying conditioner,” reveals Jenna Marie Shafer, a lead pro educator at Amika. However, that’s not the only way to get rid of knotted strands. You should also consider preventative measures like getting your hair trimmed regularly and using professional-grade hair care products because they have lower levels of alcohol, which can dry out hair and make it easier to tangle, according to Jamie Brice, a pro educator at Amika. (Photo via Douglas Sacha/Getty)

If you brush out your tangled strands in the shower, make sure you reach for the right tool. “It’s important that you use a brush that won’t damage or break your hair, [as] hair is weakest when wet,” says Liz Rosenzweig, a senior creative director at WetBrush, Bio Ionic, and Ouidad. While wide-toothed combs (or your fingers) were once the only option for combing through tangles today there are many healthy detangling options to choose from. A shower-specific brush like the WetBrush Shower Detangler ($10) features soft bristles that won’t damage hair and a vented base for quick drying.

Once you have the best comb or brush, it’s time to look at your technique. Fernando Salas, hairstylist and creator of White Sands Haircare, explains that it’s important not to force tangles out by pulling the comb roughly through the hair. Instead, isolate the tangled area, holding the hair tightly, and make picking motions at the knot with the tip of a comb. “Holding the section puts less stress on the hair by not pulling at the scalp. The picking motion will slowly loosen up the knots and tangles until you can smoothly comb through the whole piece,” he says.

What about tangles in dry hair?

Woman brushing her hair while looking in the mirror.

Combing out your knotted strands in the shower with the help of a conditioner or mask is the best technique, but what if you don’t want to get your hair wet? “When your hair is extremely tangled or matted after a hairstyle that’s gone awry or too much back-combing, then it’s definitely best to detangle first on dry hair before getting the hair wet,” says Shafer. “Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a dreadlock in your hair.” (Photo via Letizia Le Fur/Getty)

To get started, first apply a dry conditioner to soften the hair and use a brush meant for detangling like the Amika Detangling Brush ($14). Then make sure to use careful, gentle strokes to minimize breakage as you work your way through the knots.

Will you change the way you’ve been detangling your hair? Tell us @BritandCo!

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Featured photo via puhhha/ Getty