Hair gets tangled easily, especially if you have thick or curly hair. To avoid breaking or damaging your strands, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your knots and snarls.
These combs have thick, wide-set teeth and are made from a variety of materials. Wooden ones, such as Louise Maelys Wooden Wide-Tooth Comb, are anti-static and distribute your natural hair oils to enhance shine and health.
Wide-tooth combs are used primarily for detangling hair. They work best on curly, thick or long hair (or a combination of all three). If you have curly hair, the wide-set teeth won’t disrupt your curl pattern. They can also be used to loosen tight curls.
Apply a detangling spray or conditioner to wet hair before using a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. They will soften your strands and help the comb slip through the hair without snagging. Be sure your comb is waterproof before you take it into the shower.
Wide-tooth combs are made from a variety of materials.
Wide-tooth combs vary in size and length, with larger combs typically better for longer hair while small ones are more portable. A pocket-sized comb can be as small as 3 inches long; large combs can exceed 9 inches in length. Be sure to factor in handle length when choosing a size, as only a portion of the comb will contain teeth if it has a handle.
You may find more control using a handle or prefer the simplicity of a hand-held design. If picking a comb with a handle, be sure it’s comfortable to grip. Many combs offer ergonomic handles.
Look for a model with a hole or built-in hanging hook if you want to hang your comb in the shower.
Generally speaking, the wider the gaps between the teeth, the wider the teeth (and the lower the tooth count). It’s all about finding the ratio that works for your hair type. Some people also prefer longer teeth for a pick or rake-style comb, which works well for curly or coiled hair types.
Another feature to look at when choosing a comb is how sharp the teeth are. Wide-tooth combs can have pointed, tapered or rounded teeth. Pointier teeth are great for targeting snarls and knots, but can be scratchy on the scalp. Tapered and rounded teeth feel more gentle on the scalp but may not be as effective on stubborn tangles.
Plastic combs come in a wide range of colors. Cellulose acetate combs come in tortoiseshell colors and faux ivory for a classic appearance that’s also cruelty-free. Wooden combs come in their natural color. Metal combs typically come in metallic colors, such as silver or gold, as well as classic black. Rubber combs come in their natural color or in black.
Wide-tooth combs cost between $4-$25. Wooden combs start at $10. Select luxury brands make cellulose acetate combs that cost upward of $35.
A. You can use both. Use a wide-tooth comb before you brush your hair to remove major knots and tangles. Then use a brush to smooth out your hair and remove any smaller snarls.
A. First shampoo, then condition your hair as normal. While the conditioner is in, start combing at the ends of your hair. Slowly make your way up to the scalp. Starting at the ends instead of at the roots helps minimize damage.
Louise Maelys Wooden Wide-Tooth Comb
What you need to know: This sandalwood comb carries a natural scent that calms the mind as you comb your hair.
What you’ll love: It's perfect for detangling curly hair and doesn’t snag or break the hair. The well-finished teeth gently separate tangles. The comb can also be used to massage your head and increase circulation on your scalp.
What you should consider: The wood’s color naturally changes over time from brown to dark green.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Detangler Comb
What you need to know: This big plastic comb gets the job done and is a great value.
What you’ll love: It costs under $5 and is perfect for detangling wet or dry hair, or loosening curls. It’s sturdy and over 9 inches long. Reviewers like that it’s white, a color not often found in plastic combs.
What you should consider: For some users, this oversized comb is too large and unwieldy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: For detangling in the shower, it comes with a convenient hooked handle.
What you’ll love: This high-quality plastic comb comes in black and a pretty lavender. Users see less hair loss from pulling with it than with other wide-tooth combs. It doesn’t disrupt curl patterns and can be used on thick, curly hair.
What you should consider: The plastic teeth aren’t as finished as they could be and some are jagged and scratchy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Sephora
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.