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Nikki Goddard
Published on February 01, 2022

Tangled hair is one of the most frustrating and time-consuming parts of hair care. And if you suffer from knotty hair, then you know exactly what we mean. But is there a way to remove knots from hair – quickly and easily?

If you ever wake up with a tangly mess or wonder why your hair gets tangled SO easily, you are in luck! In this article, we’ll look at why your hair might be prone to tangles and how to effectively deal with them.

What Causes Tangled Hair?

Your hair tangles when hair strands wrap around each other, making it easier for more strands to intertwine with an existing knot. This causes bigger and more tangled knots that are a pain to remove (literally).

Hair tangles more when the cuticle (the outer layer of hair) is damaged or open. Healthy cuticles should be closed, smooth, and lie flat. If your hair is damaged or has some split ends, the cuticles snag together, causing – yep – more tangles and hair knots. Also, if your hair isn’t smooth, the strands you are losing daily do not slip down easily but wrap around other strands, creating a tangled mess.

Although tangled hair can happen to most hair types, it is usually longer hair and curly hair that tangles easily. Some of the main contributing factors to knotty hair include:

  • Damaged dry hair;
  • Frizzy hair;
  • Long, fine hair (longer than shoulder length);
  • Sun-damaged and heat damaged hair;
  • Curly or coily hair
  • Wind;
  • Poor sleeping routine;
  • Chemical treatments.
Detangling Hair with a Wooden Comb

Instagram / @verdurehairsg

What Is the Best Way to Detangle Hair?

Wonder how to get those knots out of your beautiful locks without causing hair breakage? Removing knots is definitely one of the least-loved hair routines, but the right approach is sure to save you from too much pain and shedding. Here are the techniques to use, depending on whether you detangle matted hair when it’s wet or dry.

How to Detangle Wet Hair

Yes, you are right in saying that wet hair is fragile and prone to hair breakage. However, if you use a conditioner and take time to gently detangle your locks, detangling your hair when wet will still be the best option for your hair health.

To detangle curly or natural hair, start with soaking wet hair, generously coated in conditioner. With straight hair, you may start with gently towel-dried or damp hair that is freshly washed and conditioned. Using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush, brush your hair starting with hair ends and gradually moving up.

When you meet resistance, don’t push the comb down! Instead, move your comb or brush outwards, away from your head, releasing the matted area. If you need to get really bad knots out of hair, reach for a hair detangling spray for your hair type. Natural and lightweight, Honest Conditioning Detangler is getting impressive acclaim. Note that you need to apply detangling sprays to small sections of hair to make them work.

What to Use for Detangling Hair

Instagram / @ yolissa_hair

Detangling Hair When It’s Dry

Even if do a nice job detangling your knotty hair at the shower, you will not wash your hair every day to keep it tangle-free, will you? Some curly girls choose not to brush their hair through each day not to distort curl clumps and let some regular tangles underneath the curls actually stay there for a day or two before the next wash day. If you have coily or straight hair, there is no way to go away with matted hair, though.

To detangle dry hair, isolate the tangle and apply a detangling spray, oil, or leave-in conditioner to the area. Look for hair products that contain ingredients that smoothen locks and prevent hair tangling: argan oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, to name just a few. Rub the product into the hair knot and gently separate it with your fingers. Thus, brush your hair with a wet brush or wide-toothed comb to fully work the knots out. Start with hair ends and move up slowly, holding your hair taut as you go.

Woman with Long Hair Applying a Detangling Spray

Instagram / @honest

How to Prevent Tangles

Now you have a better understanding of what causes tangled hair, you understand that you don’t have to undergo the nasty process of untangling and can avoid knotty hair in the first place. Follow these recommendations and keep matted hair at bay.

1. Wash Carefully

If you find that your hair gets tangled after washing, then you might want to look at your hair washing methods. Brush gently before you wash to stop knots from forming while you shampoo your hair.

While washing, try not to scrunch your hair up as you scrub; this can add to the knots and make it harder to brush through. Instead, massage shampoo using your fingertips, on the back, sides, and top of your head. Concentrate on your scalp and aim for massage movements over scrubbing ones. Then just rinse the shampoo down your hair. Finally, at the end of your shower, rinse hair with cold water to seal the cuticles.

2. Step Away from the Towel

We know it’s very tempting to grab a towel and scrub your hair as soon as you step out of the shower, but that’s far from the right way to dry your hair. More so, it is one of the easiest ways for your hair to tangle and knot, as harshly towel drying will damage your cuticles when your hair is at its most vulnerable state.

Instead of rubbing, squeeze your hair gently. Then, shake your hair well to let air in. You can also wrap your hair in a cotton t-shirt or microfiber wrap to absorb excess water without any hair breakage.

3. Always Condition

When your hair gets so tangled underneath that you can’t even run a brush through it, then it might be time to up your conditioner game. No matter how tired or in a rush you are, NEVER miss out on conditioning your hair. Use a conditioner specifically designed for your hair type and be generous. If your hair is dry, it has a bigger chance of getting tangled and knotted.

Start brushing your hair while you are still in a shower and have your conditioner on. Pay particular attention to the ends and remove any knots you might feel with your fingers. If your hair is particularly thick or tightly curled, consider using a leave-in conditioner. Also, you may try deep conditioning hair at a salon. Here is the change the latter can make:

Tangled Hair Before and After Conditioning Treatment

Instagram / @ericasbeautysalon

4. Oil Up

Oils and hair masks lubricate your hair cuticles and nourish your hair. They act as a sealant, locking in moisture and smoothing your strands. This smoothness will help avoid nasty snarls, as slippery stands won’t be creating knots and tangles.

Choose an oil or a hair mask for your hair type and enjoy an at-home treatment at least once a week. If your hair is very dry and damaged, try Olaplex treatment for extra care.

5. Opt for Silk Pillowcases

If you sleep on a cotton pillowcase, then it might be time for an upgrade. Cotton can catch your hair as you twist and turn, causing it to snarl and tangle when you sleep. Welcome, a matted mess in the morning!

An easy solution is switching to silk pillowcases that have gained so much popularity recently. The slippery and breathable fabric prevents friction and adds moisture – meaning smoother hair that doesn’t form knots. So if you are tired of all the knots you face in the morning, you might never regret an investment into a silk pillowcase.

6. Keep Hair Up at Night

Also, get used to sleeping with an updo, especially if you have textured hair. Grabbing hair in a pineapple, you don’t let the strands rub against each other and tangle as you toss your head at night. Better yet, throw a silky scarf or a bonnet on top. The smooth fabric will protect your hair and prevent knots as you snooze.

Putting your hair up in a bun or loose braid for the night will also reduce frizziness and hair damage. Two benefits for the price of one!

Hair Bonnet to Keep Hair from Tangling at Night

Instagram / @torihopepetersen

7. Invest in a Shower Filter

A good thing would be also to consider the quality of water you wash with. When you follow a good hair care routine and have already tried everything, getting a shower filter can be that magic trick to solve the tangled hair problem.

8. Get Your Hair Trimmed

To help banish knots and tangles, make sure you are getting your hair cut or trimmed every 8 – 10 weeks. This will help you get rid of split ends, as well as any dry and damaged strands, leaving your hair happy and healthy. Trimming damaged hair eases your natural hair shedding process, helping loose strands slip away without becoming tangled.

Detangling Brush and Trimming Scissors

Instagram / @elonaworld

Don’t let the tangled tresses take the shine away from your gorgeous hair. Whether you have short, medium, long, straight, or curly hair, follow these tips, and you’ll be able to enjoy beautifully smooth hair every day. Without a knot in sight!

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