Curly, thin, ethnic or dry and frizzy hair types are often prone to matting and knots. A day out in an open top convertible or at the beach can increase this dryness resulting in severe matting and tangling. Let us study some easy ways to detangle matted hair without cutting it.
1. Use a wide toothed comb
A wide toothed comb or a pick will help you t gently remove tangles and knots. Gently run the comb from the center of the head to the ends of your hair. Cover the entire scalp slowly, taking help of your fingers to separate the hair strands. Repeat as needed to remove all of the tangles.
2. Massage with oil
A gentle oil massage is all that is needed to remove frizz and dryness which has resulted in mat and knots. Oil makes the hair smoother and softer allowing you to detangle matted hair fast and painlessly. This remedy is also beneficial for curly ethnic hair. Use any oil you like; vegetables oils are the best. Warm coconut oil, olive oil or sweet Almond oil are great. Massage the hair and scalp gently. Use your fingers to remove mats while you massage. After 10 minutes of massage, cover your hair with a hot towel (towel dipped in hot water and wrung out to remove excess water). The steam from the towel helps soften the hair shaft and conditions and smoothes the hair. Oil massages are best done a few hours before you shampoo your hair.
3. Use straightening or anti-frizz shampoos
One of the best home remedies for preventing matted hair is an anti-frizz or detangling shampoo. You can also use shampoo for chemically straightened hair, damaged or dry hair. Slowly apply the shampoo all over scalp and ends of the hair. Try not to bunch up the hair while washing it; rather, keep it straight as far as possible and shampoo each strand. Slowly and gently massage the scalp. This will prevent matting and unnecessary breakage of weak hair.
4. Use a conditioner post shampooing
Black hair or ethnic hair is prone to tangling. Therefore, the use of a good conditioner is a must. Conditioning will soften the hair and detangle it while making it easier for styling. A good quality conditioner also coats each hair strand with rich emollients making it softer, shinier and silkier. These emollients also make it easy to untangle hair fast and painlessly.
5. Get big knots out in the shower itself
It may seem cumbersome, but the best time to detangle wet matted hair is in the shower itself. Here are some steps to help you untangle wet, curly hair:
- Work with wet hair after shampooing
- Use a plastic pick to gently comb through the hair in the shower
- Some women have braids. You can leave the braids while washing. Work with each braid to gently detangle it.
- You must unbraid the hair when using a conditioner.
- Apply generous amount of conditioner to each strand. Amount of conditioner will vary based on your hair length.
- Comb through the hair using a pick.
- Gently pull the pick through-starting at the ends if you like.
- If you encounter knots, work through each knot.
- Gently pull the pick through again.
- Now pull the pick through the entire hair starting at your scalp
- Repeat ‘picking’ until you are able to easily pull the pick throughout the hair from the scalp to the ends of the hair.
- This is the hardest part of untangling curly hair but it is this part that will make the most difference.
- Apply conditioner as needed.
- Leave the conditioner in and re-braid the hair as needed.
- Repeat steps above for all the braids.
- Wash off after 5-7 minutes.
6. Use no-more tangles products
Many great products are available for detangling hair. These include detangler sprays, detangle combs and brushes. Many of these products are also specially made for kids. You can use detangling shampoos for washing matted hair.
7. Use silk scarves or pillow covers while sleeping
Wrap up your hair in a silk scarf if it is prone to frizz, dryness and tangling. Do this each night before bed. Alternatively, you can sleep on silk pillow cases since cotton and other materials tend to make the hair dry and more prone to mats, knots and tangles. Silk reduces frizz and breakage and helps you enhance the natural beauty of your hair.
8. Go for hair straightening or thermal pressing
This is the best remedy to prevent tangles and mats in dry, frizz-prone hair and especially ethnic hair. Straightened hair is smoother and more manageable. However, make sure you get this done at a professional; improper thermal pressing for straightening can damage the hair permanently.
9. Use lanolin based moisturizer
Rub a few drops of lanolin based moisturizer such as Lubriderm in the hair before washing. The fatty substance frees tangles and mats and helps you remove knots painlessly and quickly.
10. Untangle hair with cornstarch
Detangling matted hair is also easier with cornstarch powder. Sprinkle cornstarch powder into the scalp. (This remedy is also beneficial for detangling pet hair). The cornstarch allows the hair to glide easily. You can then use your fingers, a pick or a wide toothed comb to remove the mats.
For severely matted hair, there is no alternative to cutting it. Seek help of a good stylist to help you.