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How to Detangle Matted Hair

Long hair makes us beautiful and looks great when it is brown by the wind. However, it also has its downside as sometimes it becomes tiresome to manage as it easily gets tangled. This is exceptionally hectic for people living in areas where humidity and temperatures are high, causing you to sweat a lot.

Tangled hair can be pretty frustrating in kids, and since their skin is sensitive, you should be careful when detangling it. Matted hair can be frustrating because apart from making you look unpresentable, it takes work to detangle. Follow our tips to detangle and keep your hair looking healthy

This article seeks to teach you how to detangle matted hair and prevent it from entangling. We also bring you some of the best products to help detangle your hair. But before that, lets us understand what matted hair is and how it comes about.

What is Matted Hair?

Matted hair happens when your hair entwines with shed hair and forms crumps or web-like tangles.

It’s very severe and can cause irreparable damage to your hair. People prone to matted hair are those wearing braided extensions for an extended period.

How Does It Happen?

Not Combing

The most common cause of matted hair is when you leave your hair uncombed for several days, allowing the shed hair to interweave with your hair. The shed hair twists around the attached hair, forming tangles and matting if left unattended for an extended period. Irrespective of your hair type, matted hair affects almost every person who abandons their hair care routine.

In rare cases, you find that some people are just prone to matted hair, especially those having thin, brittle, and textured hair. Thin hair breaks easily, causing many loose strands to entwine to your attached hair, forming tangles. This becomes matted if it is not detangled in time.

People with naturally curly hair are also prone to matted hair. This is because the hair strand curls around each other, and when left that way for several days, it becomes matted.

Compared to short hair, the probability of long hair becoming matted is very high. This is because you have more hair, allowing some hair strands to knot around. The best way to minimize the chances of tangled hair is to frequently brush your hair and have a hair care maintenance routine.

If you have textured hair, you are prone to matted hair as your hair becomes weaker and tends to get dry quickly, making it brittle. This increases the likelihood of your hair tangling. So make sure that to hydrate and deep condition your hair regularly to avoid it becoming tangled

Step-by-Step Process of Detangling Matted Hair

If you notice that your hair is becoming matted, follow the steps below to detangle it.

  1. Choose the Hair Treatment

Hair treatment helps soften your hair. You can opt to use deep conditioners as they help restore moisture to your hair, making it easier to separate. A leave-in conditioner is the best, as you do not need to wash it off.

To make your hair more slippery, you can consider adding natural oils such as coconut oil, Moroccan oil, or olive oil to your hair. This is especially most effective if you have afro-textured hair or you can use a hair detangling spray.

Alternatively, you can make your own hair conditioner and detangler at home by mixing the following ingredients:

  • 2oz Organic ACV (apple cider vinegar)
  • 6oz warm water
  • A drop of your favorite soap or shampoo
  • 8oz spray bottle
  • Add your favorite essential oil to counter the smell of vinegar

Mix all the ingredients, and voila! You have a natural, chemical-free detangler.

2. Damp your Hair

Before applying the moisturizing conditioner, ensure that your hair is wet. This can be done by spraying your hair with water using a spray bottle or holding your hair under a low water pressure tap, then press it with a towel to remove excess water.

Note that hair treatment is applied to damp hair, not wet. Wet hair is more prone to breakage.

3. Apply the Treatment Into Your Hair

When your hair is wet, take a handful of hair conditioner and rub it into your hair. The amount you use depends on the length and volume of your hair. Ensure that the treatment gets into every part of your hair, from the root to the tip. Rub it gently to avoid tangling it more; you can separate it into several sections. This will make it easier for you to rub it in and ensure that your hair is well-conditioned.

4. Leave it for a While to be Absorbed

For the conditioner to work on your hair, you should leave it for about 30 minutes. But if you added oils, you should leave it for approximately 2 hours. You can read the instruction on the conditioner, but typically, it is to be left for 30 minutes to hours, and only in severe cases should it be left overnight.

You should wear a plastic cap to speed up the absorption process. The hair cap also helps keep the hair tidy and out of the way, allowing you to do several chores as you wait.

5. Use your Fingers to Untangle the Knots

Once the waiting period is up, use your fingers to loosen up your hair gently. Since you’ve already separated your hair into sections, detangle each section with your fingers. Start from the root and move outwards to the tip.

Then use a band to hold the detangled area as you move on to the next. This is just the first step to detangling your hair, as your fingers cannot make it fine.

6. Comb your Hair

Use detangling combs and brushes with widely spaced teeth to comb your hair to remove the knots. Compared to a fine comb or a detangling brush, a widely spaced comb is the best as it does not face too much resistance, thus minimizing hair breakage as it does not pull out hair as you comb through the knots. Still, ensure that it is not too widely spaced such that tiny knots pass through without being detangled.

7. Start with the Ends

Your hair is the weakest at the ends, so if you start combing at the roots, chances are you will have more hair breakage. Start combing your hair several inches from the ends, and move on downwards. Repeat each section until the combs move without any hitches.

Then continue downwards and repeat the process until you can comb the entire hair length smoothly. It may take several hours is have long and thick hair, so be patient.

If you have a sensitive scalp, you can minimize pain when detangling by separating it into super small sections. Then when you are combing, hold your hair and twist it, then start combing through gently from the ends to the roots.  And move your grip as you proceed; this helps prevent pulling of hair, which irritates the nerves.

If a section has more matted hair, you can consider adding more moisturizing conditioner and rub it slowly with your fingers before running your comb through.

8. Scissor Off the Stubborn Mats

If even after wetting, applying condition, and untangling with your finger some mats refuses to separate irrespective of your efforts, you can use your scissor to thin out. Run your scissors on the bottom part of the mat and then tug gently to remove the loose hair strands.

Be careful to avoid cutting more hair than is necessary. This is especially useful if you have spent several weeks or months without running a comb through your hair.

9. Use a Thin or Fine-Toothed Comb

You can switch to a fine-toothed comb after ensuring that the widely spaced comb can run through the hair smoothly. It will help you remove the small know that may have slipped up.

As you detangle your hair, you will notice hair shedding, which is entirely okay because you must remove all the shed hairs entwined to your attached hair.

10. Rinse your Hair

After ensuring that your hair is ultimately detangled, rinse to remove the treatment. It will also help in removing any shed hair remaining in your head.

You can also separate your hair into several sections and rinse each part before combing it all together.

How to Prevent Your Hair From Tangling

Now that you know how to detangle your matted hair, you should also be well-informed on the hair maintenance routine you should adopt to avoid having your hair matted again.

Use leave-in Conditioner

Conditioners help keep your hair moisturized, minimizing dryness which can lead to fraying. The good thing about the leave-in conditioner is that you do not need to wash it off, and you can leave it for a day or two.

Brush/comb your Hair Regularly

Always ensure that you combed your hair regularly. If your hair is dry to touch, you can spray it with water to make it damp, making it easier to brush, and always start from the tips to the roots.

Braid your Hair Before Sleep

When we are sleeping, we tend to sweat, which can make our hair tangled—braiding your hair loosely before sleep minimizes the chances of your hair tangling. You can also wear a sleeping cap before when sleeping.

Separate your hair into Sections when Washing

People with hair prone to matting understand the struggle of washing the hair at once. So, if you do not want to spend hours detangling your hair, separate it into several sections before washing, and then wash each area carefully and clip it in before moving onto the next section.

It helps prevent the formation of larger mats while making it easy for you to detangle. You can use a shampoo without sodium lauryl sulfate.

Regular Protein Treatment

This will help treat the damaged cuticles by filling in the gaps, thus reducing friction, tangle, and hair matting.

3 Best Hair Conditioners for Detangling Matted Hair

If you are prone to matted hair, you should have products for detangling hair in your collection. Below are some of the best products for detangling hair, making the process smoother and faster while ensuring that you subject your hair to the least amount of damage.

  1. HIS Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector
  2. The Honest Company Sweet Orange Vanilla Conditioning Detangler
  3. SoCozy, Curl Spray Leave-in Conditioner

It is probably the best leave-in detangler for people with curly hair. The best part is that it contains hair nourishing oils and is suitable for the whole family.

Therefore, you do not need to buy different for the parents and kids.

Final Thoughts

Matted hair can make you unpresentable, and no one wants that. So make sure to follow the above process for detangling hair to keep always looks fly.

Another thing, ensure that you have a collection of hair detangling products, from a hair spray bottle, sulfate-free conditioner, plastic cap, detangling comb, detangling brush, and a fine-toothed comb.

Make hair care maintenance a part of your self-care routine to avoid having tangled and matted hair. Learn to love and be patient with the process because if you rush the detangling process, you will cause further damage to your beautiful hair.

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