One of the trademarked tragedies for Curlies (aside from frizz) is tangled knots. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to go from shimmery locks to lockdown knots. Thankfully, there are things you can do to get rid of knotty tangles, even the most persistent ones, in your hair.
Your Worst Knots, Detangled!
1. Condition, Condition, Condition
While this may seem somewhat obvious, it’s not always apparent when you’ve reached what you think is the point of no return with your knot(s). However, with time and patience, conditioner can be your absolute best friend when it prevents you from cutting out the knot!
On dry hair, gather the knot in your hands and try to pull as much hair away from the knot as possible. Once you’re down to just the knot, begin massaging a very generous amount of conditioner on and into the knot. This is actually a good way to use up your old conditioners (you know, the ones you were using before you discovered our site!) since you’re going to need a LOT and you don’t want to use up your good stuff. Gradually pull more hairs away from the knot while being careful not to break your hair.
If you have multiple knots happening, strike brushes and combs from your arsenal. Instead, you should use your fingers, which lets you feel around for those tangles as you’re detangling. It also gives you more control as to just how much hair you’re moving through and how hard you’re tugging.
3. Oil It Up
Much like using conditioner, oiling the knot (especially if it’s matted) will help smooth the cuticle. This is crucial to enabling the hair strands to slide past each other with ease. Use olive oil, coconut oil, or a hot oil treatment to massage the oil into the knot continuously. Then, gently pull hairs away from the core of the knot until you’re down to a small tangle. Once there, start combing hair from the bottom up to get rid of that last snarl.
4. Avoid Water & ShampooOnce your hair is already tangled, you should avoid water and shampoo like the plague. These two ingredients (especially when put together) are a recipe for even more tangles. I have a friend who had a knot in her hair, she tried (without luck) to detangle it and when she was at her wit's end, she decided to wash it with shampoo and water. The tangle escalated into the knot to end all knots, and she eventually had to have a professional cut it (and most of her hair) off that day. Heed this warning, don't add water or shampoo to the problem!
Don't worry, she has since recovered and grown a full head of natural hair.
6. Bring In Reinforcements
You can use a rat-tail comb to try to work some of the hair away from the knot. This will clear the area and eventually (possibly 30 minutes and two sore arms later), you’ll end up with a teeny tiny little knot that is more manageable.
7. Be Patient
Get comfortable because you’re going to be working at this for a while! This process takes time and patience. Based on personal experience with both my own hair and my three curly daughters, this could take 20-30 minutes – per knot. So, don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’ve barely made progress after just 10 minutes.