hair tools

This Kids’ Detangling Brush Cut My Hair Routine in Half

Photo: Natasha Marsh

The women in my family, and many other naturalists I know, find joy in detangling their curls, smiling as they go from root to ends as if they were in a Pantene commercial. Me? I loathe detangling, especially with a wide-tooth comb. Aside from the stiff arm and hair loss, it can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to get a comb completely through my 4A spirals and coils. Add that to a 45-minute mask and steam pre-shampoo, and 65 minutes of styling post-shower, and you start to understand why it’s called wash day.

Which is why I went on what seemed like a wild goose chase to find the perfect detangling brush. Over three years, I tried Pattern, the WET Brush, Tangle Teezer, Act + Acre, and Prose. Although these brands make incredible hair-care products, I found the bristles on their brushes too harsh (the nylon and boar snagged on my curls) or painful to hold, with handles I couldn’t grip well during the 15-minute-plus process. And they did nothing to cut down on the whole operation — to properly get through all my hair, I would have to separate it into four main parts and then divide each into three more sections. The whole thing was a mess.

Frustrated, I headed to Target to look for other options and stumbled upon Cantu Kids’ Detangle Hair Brush. I’ve used Cantu’s shampoo, conditioner, and styling products since I was a child, so I figured that, even though I’m 31, its claims to be “perfect for gentle detangling” were worth testing.

The author’s stretched-out curls using the Cantu brush Photo: Natasha Marsh

When I unboxed the pretty yellow tool, I first noticed the long, spaced-out plastic bristles, indicating that they would glide through each spiral without pulling. And they did — on the many wash days since I first started using the Cantu, I no longer have to create 12 sections; the Cantu can get through four with ease. In fact, it shortened my detangling routine to just 7 to 11 minutes, during which my arm no longer aches, thanks to the ergonomic design that’s comfortable and large enough to fit in an adult hand.

And because my hair is fully detangled prior to styling now, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my curl definition. The S-configuration of curls makes it harder for products to penetrate and hydrate, but with the help of the brush, mine are fully detangled, meaning the moisture can move down the hair shaft easier. And hydrated curls show more definition, which means I don’t have to use as much product or refresh them as often (by rewetting and restyling, which just takes more time and effort).

Friends and strangers have commented on my bouncy, springy curls, too, and gasp when I share the reason. And they gasp even louder when I tell them just how much time the Cantu brush has saved me on wash days.

Some other brushes and combs we’ve written about before

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This Kids’ Detangling Brush Cut My Hair Routine in Half