Sometimes something as simple as skipping a wash can knot up your hair like ropes on a sail. It’s not the greatest situation, especially if you want that healthy sheen. Knots can drag you down, but there are plenty of ways to defeat these hairy foes. With a little patience and a bit of time, detagling those nasty hair knots is as easy as ABC.
Preventing Knots with ABC
APPLY conditioner and lots of it to de-knot. There are directions on the back of every conditioner bottle, but the longer your hair, the more you need. Work the conditioner from root to tip, making sure it’s evenly coated. If your hair is particularly curly or coily, try leaving it on for an extra couple of minutes.
BEFORE you get into the shower, detangle. This little trick of the trade makes it easier to work through both a shampoo and a conditioner. What’s more, you can find the small knots beforehand so you'll spend less time de-knotting your hair in the shower by working on any problem spots.
COMB thoroughly. Once you’re out of the shower, apply a leave-in conditioner, we love the leave-in and detangler Holy Grail Kinky-Curly Knot Today, and use a wide tooth shower comb. Starting at the bottom, work your way through your conditioned hair while it’s still wet, taking extra care with problem spots.
There are plenty of other options to prevent knots. Placing hair in braids or a silk scarf before bed will prevent friction and tangles. You can also use detangling in-shower products and conditioning treatments. If you’re taking all precautions, you should succeed in preventing bad tangles.
How to Detangle
That being said, sometimes all the preventative measures in the world won’t stop knots from forming. It’s a sad truth, but in this case there’s no time for tears. Literally, the longer you wait, the worse a knot gets. The sooner you untangle the beast, the better. Here are some steps to help you in the battle against knots.
- Find the tangle or tangles. Work your fingers through your hair, pinpointing the problem area.
- Hold the knot in question with one hand. You should get a feel for the knot to better de-knot, and if possible, what it looks like. The more you know about how it’s knotted and where, the better chance of success with your hair.
- Comb your fingers through the knot as much as possible while holding the knot. If you can loosen hair from it, try to pull it out of the knot without breaking the strands of hair.
Tip: If you cannot loosen the knot whatsoever or the knot is fairly large, wet your hair before proceeding to step 4.
- Apply hair conditioner, hand lotion, warm olive oil, or a special detangler product to de-knot. All have been proven to work towards detangling anything from a minor snarl to a massive rats nest.
- Finger comb the product through your hair and let the conditioning item sit for a few minutes.
- Gently comb your hair with a medium or wide tooth comb. Avoid pulling your hair and roughly working the comb through your hair. This can lead to breakage and more knots in the future.
The Worst Knots
If it seems not even the best TLC is cutting it, you may have to cut that knot out of your life. But don’t de-knot it yourself, especially if it’s is toward the back of your head. Sometimes the knot is so severe that it’s time to take a trip to the hair salon. A stylist should have the professional know-how to cure whatever hair disaster ails you. And if there is no cure, they have the talent to create the perfect, albeit somewhat shorter style just for you.
RELATED: DIY Hair Detangler Remedies
Do you have any secrets for staying virtually knot-free or getting the knots out of your curls?
This article was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.