There are many things that assist in hassle-free detangling. I discuss different conditioning options to aid in manageability of natural hair but the tools you use are important part of the process as well.
The only time I run a comb or paddle brush through my hair from scalp to the ends is when it is completely wet or saturated with a good leave-in conditioner! I may even detangle in the shower with the water running through it and do a few chunky twists in the shower. I only pick and finger style my hair in between cleansings but I DO NOT comb my afro hair while it is bone dry. It is mandatory that I use a wide-toothed comb to detangle as well.
When you want to create a smooth appearance, you are typically working to pull the strands tighter and closer together right? For example, you would use a fine toothed comb or boar bristle brush to smooth hair around your edges (temples, forehead area, nape). A big, wide-toothed comb would not be your number one choice of comb to smooth your hair, right? Exactly, because the more space between the teeth/bristles, the farther apart the tangles are being pulled so less strands are being put under stress. With a fine-toothed comb, more strands being drawn tighter and placed under more stress, due to the comb having more teeth that are closer together.
For detangling, select a comb that is wide enough to separate your strands with minimal effort. I always test out my detangling combs by inserting my index finger between the teeth. It should be able to fit in comfortably! The same is true with your paddle brushes. Your fingers should be able to pass through the bristles comfortably as pictured!
Thanks for reading!