What is Detangling Shampoo?

B. Miller

Detangling shampoo is a product used to wash the hair and prevent it from becoming tangled while wet. Brushing knots out of wet hair causes hair to split and break, so it is best to have hair as detangled as possible before getting out of the shower. Detangling shampoo can be a good way to prevent knots and tangles from forming, and can be helpful for people with very curly hair who can't brush their hair out in the shower without causing excessive frizz.

Plastic bottles of shampoo.
Plastic bottles of shampoo.

Detangling shampoo usually contains a small amount of conditioner, which is what helps to prevent tangles. Hair may be conditioned in addition to using detangling shampoo as well, but the small amount of conditioner in the shampoo helps keep hair from becoming tangled during the washing process. This type of shampoo exists for kids as well, in formulas designed to be gentle on the eyes.

Detangling shampoo detangles the hair as it cleanses.
Detangling shampoo detangles the hair as it cleanses.

Detangling shampoo helps to smooth the hair shaft and keep hair soft and manageable. Of course, it cannot do everything, so there are some additional tips to help prevent hair from becoming tangled in the shower. First, do not flip the hair upside down to wash it. Wash hair gently, trying not to create tangles by twisting the hair up into knots. While rinsing the detangling shampoo out of the hair, gently comb the hair with the fingers to prevent knots from forming.

A hairbrush should not be used on wet hair.
A hairbrush should not be used on wet hair.

After conditioning the hair, do this again before exiting the shower. When towel drying the hair, don't rub the towel over the head, but try to gently squeeze the water out of the hair without creating knots. Applying leave-in conditioner after the shower can help to keep hair from becoming tangled as well. All of these steps, along with the use of detangling shampoo, can help to prevent knots.

If tangles do occur, remember not to use a hairbrush on wet hair. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently separate the hair and prevent it from snapping and breaking. Detangling shampoo can be found in drugstores and discount stores, and is generally the same price as any other version of shampoo. It may come in fragranced or non-fragranced versions for different preferences. It may not be necessary to use this type of shampoo every day; it is often recommended that one shampoo the hair only as often as needed to prevent it from becoming dry and frizzy.

Using a wide toothed comb to work out tangles can help minimize breakage in dry hair.
Using a wide toothed comb to work out tangles can help minimize breakage in dry hair.

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Discussion Comments


@ysmina-- If you need serious detangling and if you have naturally curly hair, I recommend getting a detangling shampoo from a beauty store. There are more options and better quality products at decent prices.

If you can find a detangling shampoo with natural ingredients, I think those work best. Also, if you can get a detangling shampoo and a detangling conditioner from the same line, the products will work even better.

I use an organic, natural detangling shampoo and conditioner with natural oils and extracts. I'm very happy with them.


@ysmina-- You might not need a detangling shampoo in that case, it depends on how dry and tangled your hair is.

I have hard water where I live and my hair is always extremely dry and tangled. I use conditioner too, but it's not enough. So I've switched to a detangling, moisturizing shampoo and it has definitely made a difference. I use the detangling shampoo and still follow up with conditioner. I also brush my hair with a wide toothed comb after applying conditioner and before rinsing.

This method works for me. I haven't hand tangles since I started doing this.


Do I need detangling shampoo if I use a hair conditioner after I shampoo? What is the best detangling shampoo?

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