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Tips for Brushing Tangled Hair

Updated on January 3, 2018
The Hair Bean
The Hair Bean | Source

Tackling the Tangles

My daughter is 8 years old and has beautiful long fine but thick hair that hangs around 6 inches down past her shoulders. We have been battling over brushing her hair and keeping the tangles out. There have been many morning she has gone to school or church with a mess of tangles underneath a surface of smooth hair. We have tried various brushes and conditioners over the years and finally seem to have found a winning combination of tricks and tools.

I have always worn my hair long. I have memories of crying and complaining about my own mother brushing my hair. I have been told I was "tender headed" before. So I sympathize with my daughter's plight and have been trying to figure out the best way to deal with her tangles that will not make either or us cry!

Do you have trouble keeping long hair free of tangles?

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Michel Mercier Detangling Brush
Michel Mercier Detangling Brush | Source


First, traditional brushes were not working for us! Even when I brushed very carefully and gently, my daughter cried and complained about how they pulled. Every time a new commercial came on television about some miraculous brush that was a pain-free solution to tangles, she asked me to go and buy it.

1.) Our first attempt with the Hair Bean. This brush with soft plastic bristles was relatively pain-free, but not able to get through her thick hair to really address the tangles underneath. There is no handle. You just grip the back side of the bean shaped brush. The Hair Bean did not become my miracle tangle solution.

2.) Our second attempt, was the Knot Genie. This brush was a slight improvement over the Hair Bean. A little larger with slightly longer bristles. This brush helped us for a long time but it still never really got the deep tangles. After a while, the back part of the brush where you grip popped off, and we had to keep snapping it back together. It is still useable but more difficult to manipulate with the faulty back.

3.) Our 3rd attempt was the Michel Mercier Detangling Brush. As soon as my daughter saw this commercial and all it's promises, she again wanted to try it. Initially, she did not like this brush as much but eventually it has grown on her. Now even my older son who does not have tangle issues loves this brush as his favorite. It does a good job on tangles, but I also like that it has a handle so is easier to grip and control.

4.) Fourth and next we tried The Wet Brush. This brush far surpassed all the others in performance for my daughter's hair (and even my own long hair) and has become our definite favorite line of brushes! This brush glides through the hair much more smoothly and really works miracles on simple tangles. I like the style of grip and the sturdiness of the quality of the brush. The bristles are very flexible which decreases the pain in brushing. However, for serious and stubborn tangles, I have found you will need something with more firm bristles to pick out the tangles. There are a variety of brushes in the Wet Brush line that have developed over the years that we have since tried - and I have liked them all! The Wet Brush-Detangle is a great one with strong/firm bristles though to help as you need to pick out thicker knots of tangles. Our favorite of all the Wet Brush line though...drumroll a newer brush called the Wet Brush-Pro. This brush has flexible bristles and a vented, flexible body. I think all the flexibility of the structure of the brush makes it pull more gently at the tangles while still working some magic. My daughter loves it! With a combination of the Wet Brush-Detangle for a back-up for the heavy knot and tangle days and the Wet Brush-Pro, we have significantly reduced the time spent brushing out tangled hair and improved the experience to where there is much less pain! This is definitely a win for both my daughter and me!!

Still, I have learned that even with the right brush, some type of conditioner is going to be required to really knock out those tangles and make the process much more pleasant...

Wet Brush-Pro
Wet Brush-Pro | Source


We have tried just using rinse out style conditioner when she washes her hair. Conditioner alone does not seem to work well enough. However, we have finally found a leave-in conditioner (Pantene's Night Miracle Repair Serum) to put in her hair at night that has greatly improved our detangling!

it's a 10 spray
it's a 10 spray | Source

Detangling Spray

Detangling sprays are also very helpful to assist in prepping the hair for brushing and loosening the tangles. We have tried many sprays over the years - and while all have been helpful - one has stood far above the rest! This is the "It's a 10" Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin Spray. We LOVE this stuff!! It does it's best work it seems when sprayed on wet hair, but I have had success with spraying it on dry hair as well. Not only does the spray smell wonderful but it just seems to melt tangles AND frizziness out of your hair. I use it on my hair as well just for the smell and for how it minimizes the frizz and humidity we deal with in the South. It really does work a miracle! It is definitely on the pricier side, but it is one spray that I believe is worth it!

Hair Styles

As your common sense would tell you, keeping long hair in pony tails and braids will help reduce serious tangling. My daughter has started preferring a braid and this has significantly helped reduce our tangling issues even more than the pony tail style.

Tips for Brushing

My daughter has been very stubborn about allowing me to brush her hair. I have had more success with having her sit and let me brush without eliciting tears when telling her to watch television or a movie while I brush. A little reward promised for participating in a detangling session has worked as well. I think she is finally beginning to see that if we spend more time brushing and working on her hair to keep the tangles out, we will save precious time and discomfort later.


So we have finally found our winning combination that eliminates the tangles for my daughter.

-we use regular rinse out conditioner after each shampoo

-leave in conditioner

-the It's a 10 Spray

-brushing with our Wet Brushes

-sleeping in a braid

I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful in keeping your child's hair (or even your own hair) tangle-free and pain-free! Good luck on your brushing journeys!


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