How to Properly Untangle Your Hair

Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by Gaga

Tangled hair can be frustrating, especially if you have naturally wavy or curly hair. Long, dry, and fine hair can also get tangled easily. High porosity hair has a rough surface, so you are more likely to have matted hair if your hair is overly porous due to regular coloring and other chemical treatments.

Untangling matted hair can be a painful and time-consuming task. However, you must resist the urge to use too much pressure or rush through the process as this can lead to breakage, split ends, and damaged hair. Untangling makes styling easier, reduces the possibility of breakage, and helps to retain hair’s length.

The ideal frequency of hair detangling varies on hair type and texture. A good practice is to untangle your hair on washing days to get rid of shed hair caught within other hairs and release tangles.

matted hair

Pre-Wash Untangling Routine

Finger detangling can do a lot of good for curly hair. Use your fingers to detangle the hair prior to washing to prevent existing tangles from worsening and to make untangling with a comb easier. Section the hair for better control and slowly run your fingers through each section to locate these problematic spots. When you locate knots, saturate the surrounding area with a regular conditioner or apply your favorite hair oil. Try to loosen the hair around the knot and unravel it gently. To avoid putting too much stress on your scalp, hold a section of the hair with one hand while combing through your hair with the other hand.

If your hair is prone to knots and tangles, consider including a pre-poo treatment into your hair care regimen. An oil-based pre-shampoo treatment will create a slip that helps reduce friction, minimize tangles, and lessen hair breakage.

Detangling Shampoo and Conditioner

Harsh, sulfate-based shampoos can cause dryness and increase porosity, resulting in tangle-prone hair. Stay away from sulfate-containing shampoo and use a mild, moisturizing shampoo to increase moisture retention and keep your hair feeling soft and silky. Use a conditioner that has lots of slip for easier detangling and to provide silkiness and manageability. Consider products that are specifically designed to untangle knotted hair.

Gently massage the scalp with the pads of your fingers and let the lather run down your hair. Try not to scrub your hair while washing it to prevent post-shower knots.

After rinsing out the shampoo, saturate your hair with conditioner and leave it on for a few minutes. The conditioner will decrease friction between hair strands and make your hair more slippery and easier to comb.

hair detangling tools

Detangling Products and Tools

Make sure to use the best detangling tools and products to manage knots without pulling or breaking off your hair.

Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Brush is ideal for hair that gets knotted easily. It is suitable for all hair types and can be used either on wet or dry hair. It is conveniently sized to fit comfortably in your hand. Two-tiered bendable teeth allow the brush to glide through your hair and make it knot-free with minimal damage. The longer bristles gently remove tangles and knots while shorter bristles smooth the hair cuticle to provide extra shine.

A sandalwood comb is another great tool to make the detangling process easier. It smells pleasant with a hint of sandalwood, so rest assured; it is 100% natural without any synthetic ingredients that could lead to underlying harm. The comb smoothly glides through the hair and tackles tangles, knots, and messes in an efficient manner, reducing hair breakage.

Detangling Leave-in Conditioners

Leave-in detanglers are formulated to moisturize and smooth your strands, unravel the knots, and prevent breakage.

When you apply a leave-in conditioner to towel-dried hair, comb through it again, to ensure that all the knots are out. If you meet resistance, gently work the tangle out. On days that you don’t wash your hair, apply a leave-in detangler prior to styling to give your hair more manageability. Select a product that will not coat your strands with chemicals or leave your hair feeling greasy. For your convenience choose a detangler that can be used on both wet and dry hair. 

Good leave-in detanglers to consider include Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner/Detangler, ENJOY Conditioning Spray, ORIBE Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler, Revlon Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment, and Cantu Care for Kids Conditioning Detangler.

How to Prevent Tangled Hair

tangled hair

Use conditioner regularly

Use conditioner after every shampoo to smooth the cuticle layer of your hair. Properly conditioned hair is silky and pliable and is less likely to get knotted.

Do deep conditioning

Deep condition your hair at least once a week to help restore natural moisture and oils and keep your hair smooth and easy to style.

Sleeping habits that prevent knots and tangles

Sleeping with your hair down causes it to easily get tangled, especially if you have long hair. To prevent hair strands from knotting while you sleep, loosely braid your hair or tie it up in a ponytail before you go to bed. Also, opt for a silk or satin pillowcase to lessen friction between your hair and the pillow in order to minimize knots and tangles.

sleeping on satin pillowcase

Protect your hair in the wind

Cover your hair with a satin scarf or a hat on windy days to reduce exposure to wind and prevent your tresses from getting messed up. Braids are a good option during windy weather. You can let your hair down when you arrive at your destination.

Trim your hair on a regular basis

The roughness of dry and split ends contributes to knotty hair. Keep your strands healthy by trimming off split ends every 2-3 months.

Use only safe hair accessories

Wear your hair up using only safe, non-damaging hair accessories. Avoid using uncovered elastic bands, and hair accessories with sharp edges, as they can cause damage, making your hair more prone to matting and knots.

curly tangled hair
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6 thoughts on “How to Properly Untangle Your Hair”

  1. My hair is so long . I think, I need to cut everything off cause I’m so tired of always brushing the knots out. I get normal trims, I solid have part closes, I never utilize heat on it, I profound condition it once every week. What am I doing wrong??

  2. Thank You for these tips on untangling my hair. I don’t know what happened but it is so knotted up. I’m doing the oil /fingertip/conditioner thing as I read this over. I’m scared it won’t untangle.

  3. Your tip is very helpful. My hair is so long I want to cut my hair some. I shampoo once a week. Is it right for me?

  4. Actually, this is a big problem. When going to shower you need to bring your preferable shampoo then use this in the right way before completing your bath. I think your problem will be solved.

  5. You see people don’t really take tangled matted hair serious until it happens to their hair. Truly distressing, frustrating and depressing.

    Always seek professional HELP -it’s crucial. There are salons Tangled hair techs that can detangle and use the Take-Down remover product to detangle.

    The key is just don’t give up and cut your hair. check out for how-to videos as well.

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