The solution is a medium point, which would be damp hair. Although natural hair is definitely more easy to comb through when it’s wet, it may not be the best idea to manipulate your hair when it’s at its weakest point. All hair for that matter is in a weakened state when it is soaking wet and it is stronger when it is completely dry. However detangling hair that is completely dry is definitely not the route you want to go because it is brittle. Detangling damp hair gives you the balance you need to easily manipulate your hair with ease and reduce breakage.
“It can take as little as 33 grams of strain to break an African hair type while wet (about 43 grams for Caucasian and 63 grams for Asian hair, about a 100 grams for these hair types dry), which means any slight pulling can cause hair loss!”(Chemistry of your hair: African hair types) This quote was taken from Point of Interest a cosmetic chemistry blog and Neno Natural. I did some digging because I was really interested as to where exactly was this information coming from.
I ended finding a 2003 entitled Current Research on Ethnic Hair that has this to say:
“African hair differs from both Caucasian and Asian hairs essentially by an earlier breaking time and a lower stress requirement at breaking”
It also provided this chart in its study:
Whether you detangle your hair when soaking wet or not will be dependent on how it works for you as an individual as it may work out for you. For some people detangling their hair when wet is just easier.
However, as someone with a 4c hair type for me detangling my hair when soaking wet makes absolutely no sense for me! Yeah I can detangle when it’s wet alright but then when it has fully dried it will shrink right back up no matter if I braid it for stretching or not. For me, I do personally prefer to work on damp hair as I find it easier for stretching purposes. I also do find when my hair is soaking wet and I touch it I get more broken strands all over my hand.
One thing that I have learned from my research is that while there are differences among hair types they all share the fact that when hair is wet it is not as strong as when it is in its dry state. Leading me to the conclusion that damp detangling offers the best balance.