Simple homemade hair detangler for kids and adults. This recipe may not be for everyone (talking to my fellow pin-straight hair comrades). Still, for the vast majority that will benefit from a hair detangler, this recipe is made with natural ingredients and at a fraction of the cost, which makes this DIY detangler spray a no-brainer.
This post was originally published October 16, 2018
As with most all of the recipes, hacks, and informational posts I write, they get good use by me – this DIY detangler spray, not so much.
My hair is straight as an arrow whether it’s wet, dry, combed, or not combed. So, needless to say, not everyone needs a detangler.
My daughter’s hair, on the other hand, comes out in knots after a shower, and if it wasn’t for this hair detangler, I don’t think she would let me comb, much less style her hair.
how does detangling spray work
Hair detanglers work much like a conditioner by smoothing and softening out the hair follicles. Think of it as a leave-in conditioner but with the sole purpose of detangling knotted-up hair.
With its moisturizing properties, this hair detangler may be left in the hair to maintain and protect the hair.
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DIY detangler spray ingredients
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup of filtered water
- 2 teaspoons of jojoba or fractionated coconut oil (find jojoba oil here, or fractionated coconut oil here)
- 15-30 drops of essential oil (see list below for suggestions)
- Spray bottle
Add water and apple cider vinegar to a glass spray bottle and mix well. Next, add in jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil (I have used both with great results).
Finally, if you’re using essential oils, add those in now, choosing from the list below. Secure spray nozzle and shake well before use.
How to detangle hair
Seriously the best part about this detangler spray is that it works for all hair types. There is nothing quite as satisfying as saving time, money, and precious storage space by making all-in-one products.
How to use detangler for curly hair
For curly hair, only use the detangler spray on wet hair, preferably in the shower. The extra stresses of combing out tangled, curly hair can pull/tug at the hair, making it more prone to breakage.
Because wet hair is more prone to breakage than dry hair, be very gentle and start near the tips of the hair, combing out any tangles before working your way up the hair, combing out as you go until you reach the roots.
Always follow up with a natural shampoo and conditioner after detangling curly hair.
How to use detangler for matted hair
For matted hair, apply the detangler to wet hair before shampooing and conditioning by using a wide-tooth comb to move the spray throughout the hair.
Following the same directions as the curly hair, start combing out the tips and slowly working your way through longer stretches of hair until there are no more tangles.
Help prevent matted hair by regularly using conditioner and dry shampoo.
Detangler for regular hair
For regular hair types, mist detangler spray into clean, dry or damp hair and slowly comb out small sections at a time. If you do not fall into either of the above categories, then you probably have regular hair.
There is no need to wash out your hair after combing through if you do choose.
Oils for hair
- Lavender – Studies have shown that lavender produces more hair follicles to help thicken and strengthen hair. Lavender has a beautiful floral aroma that can promote calmness and relaxation.
- Ylang Ylang – The floral scent of ylang ylang can make a perfect addition to your detangler. It has many benefits for the hair and smells lovely paired with lavender.
- Rosemary – Rosemary essential oil is the top oil for hair growth and thickness. It helps to treat dry hair as well as overly oily hair and can help prevent split ends.
- Tea Tree– Tea Tree promotes a healthy, clean-looking scalp. In addition, it can be used to help with a dry, itchy scalp and protect against lice.
- Juniper Berry – The fruity scent of juniper berry is perfect for a kid’s detangler spray. Some of its benefits include helping with oily hair and strengthening brittle strands.
- Lemon – Great for greasy hair and hair growth; lemon is another good one to add to this spray. Lemon helps stimulate circulation in the scalp for increased hair growth.
Natural ingredients to help detangle hair
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is popular in every aspect of the culinary world, and for good reason. It’s made from apples using a fermentation process, enriching it with live cultures, minerals, and acids.
Thankfully the kitchen is not the only place for ACV, which has numerous benefits for our hair, the skin and helps prevent dandruff.
In addition, ACV can improve scalp health, strengthen hair, and enhance shine. It is loaded with vitamins B and C, both of which are needed for hair health.
This oil is very nourishing and moisturizing for the hair. In addition, studies have shown that jojoba oil can help with hair growth, thickness, and dandruff.
The vitamins in jojoba oil can help restore and condition hair. Now, jojoba oil does have a mild scent, so be forewarned. If you do choose to add in any essential oils, they will easily mask any scent from the jojoba oil.
Another bonus for you parents out there is that jojoba doesn’t stain clothes like other carrier oils, making it a good choice for kids. Jojoba penetrates the scalp and is a great option for anyone with ultra-sensitive skin. Hence, my favorite oil to use.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
This popular oil is a great addition to natural hair care. Similar to regular coconut oil, it can promote hair growth and thickness.
Applying coconut oil to your scalp will help to prevent dandruff, fungus, and dry, flaky skin.
Essential oils are very beneficial for our bodies, health, skin, and hair. I listed our favorite essential oils for hair above and what they can do for you.
Adding essential oils adds benefits and scent to the detangler spray. If you aren’t a fan of a vinegar smell, then be sure to add essential oils to cover it up. You can mix it up and try different blends.
Our favorite blend is lavender, juniper berry, and lemon. I love the way it makes my daughter’s hair smell, and of course, she loves it as well.
Ingredients to watch for in conventional detangler sprays
- Polysorbate 20 – Polysorbate is a harmless sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol. However, for its use in personal care products, it’s treated with ethylene oxide, hence the name “polysorbate 20,” because it’s treated with 20 parts of ethylene oxide. The problem with any ingredient that is treated with ethylene oxide is that it can then become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. 1,4 dioxane is a potentially dangerous by-product, and studies have shown it to cause cancer in animals. Unfortunately, the amounts found in our personal care products are much higher than the amounts found to cause cancer in animals.
- Fragrance – Fragrances can cause allergic reactions, contain hormone disturbers, carcinogens, and have been linked to damage sperm.
- Cetrimonium Chloride– Cetrimonium chloride is a topical antiseptic and surfactant. It is also found in many hair conditioners and shampoos as a conditioning agent. According to the EWG, this surfactant can cause skin irritations.
Best hair detangler sprays
Not everyone has the time to make their own products, and to be honest; there are times I need something and don’t have the time to make it myself.
Thankfully there is almost always a natural option out there. So if you find yourself at that point, give one of these natural detangler sprays a shot.
After making this hair detangler spray, drop a comment below, letting me know what you think! And if you’re looking for more natural skincare/beauty care products, check out some of my most popular recipes below.
- All-natural Lip Balm
- Laundry Soap
- Cleaning Wipes
- Body Butter
- Shower Melts
- Nourishing Hair Mask
Homemade Hair Detangler Spray
An all-in-one hair detangler spray for curly, matted, and regular hair.
- Combine apple cider vinegar and water into the spray bottle.
- Add in jojoba or fractionated coconut oil and essential oils.
- Secure spray nozzle and shake well.
- Mist into clean, dry or damp hair. Comb hair gently in small sections until hair is smooth and free of any knots or tangles.
Mist detangler spray into wet hair for curly or matted hair (preferably in the shower). Use a wide-tooth comb to start at the tips of the strands, combing gently until smooth, then working your way up the hair, combing out as you go until you reach the roots. Follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
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