Friday, August 26, 2011

Minimizing Breakage Series: PLASTICIZING

Natural Hair should never be combed dry. I think most of us know that. Well, the reason some may be tempted to comb their hair dry is to get rid of tangles and knots. Before you put that comb in your hair.....yes!!...even a wide tooth comb, Plasticize your hair. What does Plasticizing mean?

    According to Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, the author of  "The Science of Black Hair",  "A Plasticizer is a product that improves manageability by softening the hair from within or by coating and surrounding the hair fiber. The plasticizing product may be water, moisturizer, leave in conditioner,oil or regular conditioner."
Most textured hair do not take well to dry detangling without breaking. A simple pre-poo treatment can help detangle the hair. For example, if you wore twists throughout the week and your hair has knots. It is best to apply a plasticizer before even washing that hair. I have incorporated this step into my regimen and I have to say it does make a world of difference. I used to just apply coconut oil to my hair to prepoo, but I found out that applying conditioner, coconut oil and Aloe Vera Juice helps my hair better. So I always do a deep conditioning with these plasticizing products before I wash my hair. I have a video coming up soon to demonstrate how I do that

Like stated in the book mentioned above, anything like Oil, Conditioner, Moisturizer will work. The whole point of using a plasticizer is to be able to soften the hair for an easy safe manipulation(finger detangling).

So it only takes four simple steps to get the hair ready for washing
  • Plasticize
  • Separate into sections (the more sections you have, the easier and more thorough your detangling will be)
  • Finger Detangle (always start from the last few inches of the section to be detangled and work up to the scalp)
  • Comb through with a wide tooth comb (I now skip this step and experience less breakage)

Did you know?

Hair that is finger combed tends to be thicker and longer than hair that is detangled with combs exclusively?



  1. Hi Coilybella!!
    I've never heard of a plasticizer before. Good information but  my case is different. I think we have the same hair type but I've noticed that my hair knots less when I stretch it and comb it. I wash my hair, deep-condition, apply my Shea butter mix, braid and let air dry. Then I use the old African hair stretching  technique called  threading!! That way I can style my hair and comb easily with minimal breakage. Combing my hair only when it gets wet was more of an annoyance than helpful. I'd loose lots of hair on wash day.  The only time I don't comb my hair is when I do a roller set. Note however that I comb my hair using the crownandglory technique. My hair seems to be growing to each her own techniques.

  2. Thanks  so much for lending that information to us Miss Nat. I have tried threading which I do like but I seem to have breakage when I am taking the threads out because it knots up so I stopped that . I definitely agree with you, stretching makes styling a  whole lot easier. I might give the threading another try.

  3. many times do you knot the end? I knot it once and not too tightly. I'll show you how as soon as I can.So in the meantime, don't stress those kinks.

  4. I also notice that my hair is easier to detangle when it's stretched. I detangle before shampooing and often bun for a couple of days before wash day to use this finding to my advantage.


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