Best Ways to Fix Matted Hair
Long hair or curly hair comes with its share of problems, but none of them are as annoying as matting. That feeling when your hair gets clumped and tangled together in a way that makes it painful to try and brush out is just one of the worst feelings in the world.
Have you ever tried to brush a child’s hair after they’ve been rolling around on the floor all day? Or maybe you’ve had the same issue with your beloved pet? With playful activities, the hair is exposed to friction and can become a knotted, tangled mess. It’s a nightmare. Even as an adult it can happen after a night of tossing and turning in bed. For the ladies, it happens after teasing your hair for a fancy updo. Whatever the cause, it can be extremely painful and cumbersome to try to detangle the matted hair without wanting to give up and just shave your head or chop the tangles off with scissors.
Thankfully there are some ways to help fix matted hair as well as help prevent it so it doesn’t become as big of a problem in the future.
Fixing Matted Hair
The last thing you want to do is to have to cut the matted hair out. If you let the matting get too severe that may be the only option so it’s important to untangle matted hair as soon as you notice it while also taking steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Step 1. Gather Your Supplies
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to gather up everything you’ll need to help de-mat your hair. You don’t want to be running all over the place grabbing things when your hair is wet or saturated with product, so having everything together before you start is the best option.
You’re going to need water, either a spray bottle or access to a faucet or shower, deep moisturizing conditioner or detangling spray, and a wide toothed comb or de-tangling comb.
You don’t want to get just a normal comb as it will be too hard to maneuver through the hair, so a wide toothed comb is best or a special detangling comb or brush.
Step 2. Get Your Hair Wet
Before you start trying to de-mat your hair, you’re going to want to get it wet. You can use cool water from the shower, the sink, but a spray bottle works best because you’re going to want to make sure all of your matted hair is damp to the touch, but not soaking wet.
Wet hair is more prone to breakage, so you want to make sure your hair isn’t completely soaked. It should be just wet enough that it becomes more pliable and easier to work with.
Step 3. Apply Conditioner or Detangler
Now that your hair is nice and damp, it’s time to apply the deep conditioner or the detangler. The conditioner/detangler makes your hair extra slick so that it’s easier to loosen and pull apart. We have heard patients use things out of their cupboard like peanut butter or olive oil to loosen knots, but we recommend finding a product intended for use on the hair which will be easier to wash out later.
You’ll want to be generous with the product to ensure that you have the best possibility of removing the matting. Start at the ends of your hair and work the product in as you slowly move up towards the roots and your scalp.
You probably don’t have to rub conditioner into your scalp as matting typically happens near the ends and middle of your hair, which is also the areas that are most prone to breakage when trying to remove matting.
Once the hair is fully saturated with water and conditioner/detangler, you’re going to want to let the product sit in your hair for a while.
While you wait you can begin to use your fingers to gently pull apart your hair and separate it into sections. This will help you keep your matted hair separated from the hair that isn’t, which will allow you to have a better understanding of where you need to focus your efforts.
Step 4. Slowly Start to Detangle Your Matted Hair
After you’ve let the conditioner or detangler sit in your hair for about 20 minutes, it’s time to start to the de-matting process.
The first thing you’ll want to do is gently work through your hair with your fingers to see if you can pull out any of the large mats. This will be easier, and less painful, than using the comb.
Once you’ve gotten through all of what you think you can do with your fingers it’s time to start combing out the remaining tangles.
Using your large tooth comb, you’re going to want to start near the ends of your hair and comb in short swipes as you work your way up. You never want to start near your scalp as you’ll immediately run into resistance and won’t make any progress… plus it’ll probably hurt quite a bit as it’s pulling on your scalp and will likely just make the knots in your hair tighter.
If you do find your scalp hurting during the process, you hold your hair near your scalp to help prevent the pressure and pulling from reaching all the way to the roots of your hair.
As you start to comb out the tangles in your hair, continue to move the comb up towards your scalp little by little as you continue the process.
Step 5. Last Resort
The main goal here is not to have to cut your hair short to remove any major matting, but you may run into an issue where you can no longer comb through the areas of matting due to how thick they are. If this is the case, you can take a pair of scissors and try to thin out the area by making vertical cuts along your hair. This will cause you to lose some hair in places, but you may be able to free up the matting enough to be able to comb through it the rest of the way.
Preventing Matted Hair
Severely matted hair is something you never want to have to go through, (unless you are specifically trying to create dreadlocks), so maintaining healthy hair will prevent it from happening in the first place.
Preventing matting in your hair is as simple as making sure to keep your hair untangled, or don’t let it stay tangled for too long. Leaving a small tangle in your hair can eventually balloon into a major problem, but by gently brushing or combing your hair on a regular basis you’ll be sure it can’t grow to be an issue.
Brushing your hair every day will absolutely help to combat any matting in your hair. In addition to brushing your hair every day, you should also use a deep conditioning product on a regular basis and keep the ends of your hair neatly trimmed on a regular basis to prevent split ends. Damaged hair will tangle more easily that freshly cut hair.
By keeping up with your hair hygiene and making sure you don’t let things get out of control, you should never run into a major matting problem that requires the shaving of your head.