Just to be clear, let me just say that there is no way of avoiding SSKs and tangles. We can become negatively affected or we can learn to live with and minimize them. Since everyone’s hair is different and responds to products differently, I will be giving a few tips that worked for my hair and hope that as you gather information from various places, you will find what works for you.
Moisture: It is extremely important to keep your hair moisturized from the inside out. Look for a product that is water based (water as the first ingredient) and apply directly after washing your hair. Water by itself is already a great moisturizer but I like the other goodies that comes with using a water based product whether store bought or homemade.
Drinking lots of water is just as important when it comes to keeping hair moisturized. If the temperatures are high, then drinking more water than you usually do is advisable. I usually just carry a water bottle along with me wherever I go and refill as needed. However, you can always divide your weight by 2 and that will equal the amount of ounces you need in a day.
Sectioning: Whether you are co-washing, cleansing or styling your hair, I find it really important to do so in sections. The less chance your hair gets to “rub up” on itself, the better.
Sealing: Not only does sealing help with the preservation of the ends of your hair but I also find it to help with tangles. After sectioning my hair to wash, detangle, moisturize and style; I always seal my hair with an oil or butter. I do so in the same sections and run the oil through the length of my hair. Some people only focus on the ends but the former works best for me.
Spritzing during the day: When I know I’m going to be exposed to the sun for long periods during the day, I like to take my spray bottle with me. I spritz if I find my hair to be too dry during the day.
Pineappling: When my hair was shorter I would use to scrunchies(one at the top, one at the bottom) to pineapple my hair during the night.
Now that it is longer, I pile all my hair at the top of my head and secure with a silk scrucnchie (this you can make yourself).
Applying a light oil at night: A lot of people re-moisturize their hair before sleeping, which is okay but for me using light oil provided my hair is still moisturized works better. After I pineapple I use either jojoba or sweet almond oil and apply to my ends. I find doing this reduces friction when I sleep. When I use water or a water based product, my hair is more prone to tangles in the morning.
Detangling with a comb at least twice a week: I mostly use my fingers to detangle, but I have noticed that going longer than 2 weeks without also using a wide teeth comb causes tangles especially in the crown of my head.
Avoiding sulfates: Before I stopped using a sulfate shampoo to cleanse my hair, after every shampoo, my hair would tangle like nobody’s business. It would take at least 2 days or more of constant moisturizing before my strands stopped tangling on each other. During this period, I hated cleansing my hair until I found out there are other alternatives. Now I love the cleansing process! I use a sulfate free shampoo.
Trimming knots/tangles: While trying to preserve length is important to me, seeing a knot or strands of hair tangled together and ignoring it won’t help either. I’ve come to realize that if I see such and cannot get rid of it by using a pin or conditioner then I am better off snipping it away. If left, it can cause terrible matting as more strands will be incorporated with time.
Removing shed hair every 2-3 days. I love KCCC and when I style my hair with this product I can get at least 5 day hair, more if I pull my hair into a puff. Detangling after? No bueno! The amount of shed hair that accumulates within those 5 days gives me a detangling time of about an hour which involves using my scissors. In the long run I am frustrated and time consumed with more hair gone from my head than I would have liked.
Finally, my hair is protein sensitive and if I do not follow up with a really potent deep conditioning treatment, my hair is a tangled mess. Get to know your hair and with time tangles and single strand knots will be easily managed and minimized.