Is Shampoo Better Than Conditioner For Detangling?

Lady in bath with wet hairIn the war for best detangling product, is a detangling shampoo or conditioner tops? 

If you have natural 4b, 4a and 3c hair, detangling during your wash is probably not the easiest thing in the world. Due to the hair’s natural curls and coils, tangles run galore as the strands curl around each other whether the hair is wet or dry.  To avoid serious knots however, detangling cannot be avoided.

If you are already into hair care then no doubt you probably detangle your hair during the conditioning stage. This makes perfect sense as your hair is already suitably wet and conditioner lubricates it with oils, fatty alcohols or silicones making it easier for your comb to pass through.

Can a shampoo do the same job as a conditioner and possibly even better? The shampoo in question wouldn’t be any old shampoo but a detangling one. Let’s look at the science of how shampoos and conditioners work to make an informed decision on which would make your hair easier to detangle.

Conditioners – With the exception of reconstructors, conditioners fall into the category of surface acting conditioners. They work on the outer layer or cuticle of the hair shaft. The hair shaft is composed of scales that become raised through daily wear and tear and a conditioner coats the strand, making the scales close therefore making the hair easier to detangle as the strands slide easily over each other. In essence conditioners lubricate the hair shaft with oils, fatty alcohols or silicones to make the hair ‘slippery’ and easy to detangle.

Detangling Shampoos
– Detangling shampoos work in a very different way from conditioners. The detergent in shampoos reduces the surface tension of water allowing the water to get into smaller crevices in the hair shaft. So shampoo actually makes water ‘wetter’. Detangling shampoos will also contain oil, fatty alcohols or silicones to lubricate the hair and avoiding the excess dryness that shampoos alone are notorious for.

Now let’s look at this from the perspective of a 4b, 4a or some 3c hair types. When these hair types are exposed to water without agitation, it takes a little while for water to penetrate the hair shaft preferring to run over the surface of the hair, particularly if the subject uses oils or silicones in their styling products.

•    A deep conditioner with heat applied will penetrate the hair shaft making it very pliable, increase elasticity and make it easier to detangle.
•    On the other hand a detangling shampoo, by making the water ‘wetter’, will penetrate the little crevices in the hair shaft making the hair easy to detangle.

The science suggests that for a quick wash, a detangling shampoo would be the wisest choice for detangling 4b, 4a and 3c hair before moving on to conditioning. If you have time for a deep conditioning treatment with heat however, your hair will benefit greatly from the deep penetration that heat + conditioner will provide. As we haven’t always got time for a deep conditioning treatment with heat, a detangling shampoo is an excellent secret weapon to have for your mid week washes.


READ MORE

About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com. I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com. I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

ENJOYED THIS POST? JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!

Sign Up Now


MORE FROM BHI

14
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
Dee Dee KnightCheryl HughieEsther Williams JordanJennifer PriceLonique Renee Brooklyn Ryan Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Carmella McCoy

Not for me

Nae Steele

No… Shampoo has no slip and more drying. Unlesss the shampoo is sulfate free and oil added..

Markisha Tingle

No to dry

Kay Sellers

Conditioner

Donna Myre

No way !

Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre

I’ve tried it and it was a successful detangling process. I experienced less breakage.

Jennifer Price

Me too. Much less

Debby Akhimie

Conditioner please

Lonique Renee Brooklyn Ryan

Hell no, has to be conditioner or conditioning shampoo

Ni-Ni Patterson

Detangling shampoos work well for me. Regular shampoos and conditioners work too, but the DS’ s are made for that purpose.

Jennifer Price

Shampoo works wonders for me in detangling once it’s good and lathered up. Never tried just plain without lathering.

Esther Williams Jordan

I detangle when I shampoo. I think the water is good for detangling too.

Dee Dee Knight

Not for me.

Cheryl Hughie

Conditioner………more slip and you can comb through with no problems.