everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair

tangles & knots

I don’t personally have a lot of experience with tangles, so I’m probably not the best source of information on this topic.  But I’m still going to share with you what I know because many times tangles is what keeps you girls from growing your hair long, or makes you want to cut it off.  If you are the type to brush through your hair, ripping out the knots as you go…. imagine me slapping your hand and saying “NO!” :)  Believe me, that’s the worst way for you to deal with it!  Few things make me cringe more than a child crying out in pain as her head is being yanked around by a brush in her mother’s hand.  The mother always saying, “She just hates having her hair brushed!”  Many times I have asked for permission to take over, and the little girl sat calmly and quietly as I detangled her hair.  No, she doesn’t hate having her hair brushed, she just hates the way you do it.

Like I said, I have limited experience.  I have been blessed with hair that simply is not prone to tangle.  I think it’s because it’s more on the coarse side.  However, I have dealt with a lot of different types of hair on other people, including very fine hair, tightly curled thick hair, and children’s hair.  Please keep in mind that different hair types have different needs.  These are just some basic principles that I have discovered to work well for me.

Tangles are very damaging to the hair and cause weak spots and breakage.  Here are a few rules to follow to avoid tangles, and to deal with them when they do happen.

hair1.  Avoid letting your hair loose on a windy day.  If your hair tangles easily, please follow this piece of advice!  I knew a girl who had to cut her knee length hair off at her waist because she spent a day outside enjoying the feel of wind in her hair.  She ended up with a huge knot.  Three different people worked on it over the next few days with very little success.  She cut the knot out, but it left a gap that was too noticeable, so she cut it all off.

So put your hair up or in a braid if you’re going to be out on a windy day.  The same goes for riding a motorcycle, riding in the car with the windows down, etc.  Don’t let the wind whip your hair.

Note:  It is a good idea to always put your child’s hair in a protective style (braid, bun, etc.) when she goes out to play.  Especially if she has very long or very curly hair.  Why subject your children to long, unpleasant detangling sessions when it can be prevented?  It will save you and her a lot of time and frustration.

2.  Condition!  I know you’re going to get tired of hearing me say this.  You’re probably thinking “that’s her cure for everything!”  Well, you’re not far off.  :)  If your hair is dry or brittle, it will be much more likely to tangle.  A good conditioning routine can take care of this.  Proper hydration means your hairs are smoother and less inclined to catch on each other and knot together.

3.  Use a wide tooth comb.  This is something I started doing about 20 years ago and I never looked back.  I know there are many different types of styling brushes.  If you want to use a brush for styling, ok.  But don’t use it to detangle.

4. Start at the bottom and work up.  Never start combing or brushing at the top, even if you don’t think you have any tangles.  This can create tangles.  Also, work in sections.  If your hair is very tangled, smaller sections work better and you don’t get frustrated as easily.

Something that I found to work really well for my hair is to always detangle in the shower while my hair is soaking wet and conditioner applied heavily.  I usually stand under the shower head so the water runs down my hair while I’m combing.  You’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to comb/brush wet hair because it will stretch and break the hairs.  It’s different when it’s coated in conditioner.  The comb slides through without stretching the hair (unless you run into a knot, at which point you will immediately stop and pull out the comb, then gently work on the knot).  It’s much easier for me than combing it dry.  By all means, do whatever works for you.

I’ve heard good things about the Tangle Teezer.  I have never personally used one, but 3 of the hair girls I watch on youtube rave about them.  If you’re not opposed to using a brush, it might be worth a try.

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3 responses

  1. Jo

    Great article! I sometimes have to catch myself from detangling my hair by starting at the top. I need to keep remembering to start at the bottom and work my way up. Can’t wait to read more. :)

    August 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

  2. I have a tangle teezer and they are great for straight hair and for preliminary detangling; I don’t have hair that tangles very easily either except for the nape of my neck depending on what fabric I’m wearing.

    I wouldn’t recommend using the tangle teezer for curly hair and I would avoid using it on wet hair; since the prongs are so close together it tends to pull a little more, which is great for knot “weight” distribution, if you will, but when your hair is wet it stretches it too much. I also noticed it pushed my hair scalp together on top and made it look a little flat. I only use mine when I’m experiencing really bad knots and before I hit the shower.

    The best thing I’ve found for tangles is a good after shower oil I use Giovanni’s ultra-moist super potion anti-frizz binding serum and it makes my hair feel soooooo nice and really combats those tangles.

    September 9, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    • Great advice, Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing your experience!

      September 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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