However, finger detangling where you can feel tangles and not rip through the hair is a different matter. For some natural hair, dry finger detangling or mildly damp hair (water misted or light conditioner applied) works better.
The Experiment : How natural behaves when wet
I made a swatch using 25 strands of my shed hair. Each strand was selected because it had a visible follicle and therefore could be correctly aligned. Hair strands that were cut to a fixed length of 10 inches.
Simulation of Wet Detangling: If your hair has a high level of shrinkage, very wet hair will only cause it to coil up defeating the purpose of detangling. The coiling means that each strand is able to interact with other strands and therefore intertwine and possibly knot (a reason why you should also consider not washing this type of hair free)
|In this image the hair swatch has been soaked in water for 1 minute, wiped dry and then photographed|
|In this image the hair swatch is braided first, soaked in water for 1 minute, wiped dry, unbraided and photographed|
|In this image the hair swatch is dry and is stretched out|
|In this image the hair swatch is dry and loose (i.e the force holding the stretch is removed)|
Note: Dry detangling is not suitable for everyone. If your hair naturally forms spirals or corkscrews, can clump up when conditioner is applied to it or has a loose wave or curl, dry detangling is not ideal for your hair. The clumping of the curls protects your hair from breakage as the strands are strengthened by being in a cohesive group. Additionally your hair is probably best styled by encouraging this clumping. Therefore conditioner combing on wet hair is most suited for that type of natural hair.