How to Detangle Knotted & Tangled Hair

If your hair tangles easily, use a synthetic brush, rather than a natural-bristled brush.
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Finding your hair is a tangled web of knots when you go to comb it can leave your frustrated. You might be tempted to yank the comb through your hair to dislodge the tangles, but this is a big no-no. Doing so can cause damage and breakage to your strands. Be patient, and take your time to detangle your tresses so you can easily run a comb through your hair without doing damage.

Shampoo and condition your hair as usual. Take a wide-tooth comb into the shower with you and comb it through your hair after applying conditioner. Start at the ends of your hair and work up toward the roots. Rinse the conditioner out after combing through the hair.

Dry your hair with a towel to remove excess moisture. Do not rub the towel over your head, but instead, pat your hair with the towel and gently squeeze the towel to soak up the water.

Comb your hair the best you can with the wide-tooth comb. Start at the ends of the hair and slowly work your way up to the roots. If you have any knots or tangles, skip over them for now. If you can easily get the comb through all of your hair, you're done and your hair is tangle-free. If not, you'll need to spend some more time working out the knots.

For difficult knots, start at the front of your head and work your way toward the back. Take a 1- to 2-inch section of your hair and leave it hanging. Secure the rest of your hair back with a hair clip.

Work out as many knots from the section as you can using your fingers. Start at the end of the section and “comb” your fingers gently through the strands up toward the roots. Don’t yank on any knots to detangle them. Instead, skip over that part and continue combing with your fingers until you’ve removed as many tangles as possible.

Hold the loose section of hair with your non-dominant hand, right in the middle of the section. Hold the wide-tooth comb in your dominant hand. Start at the very end of the section and work your way up, running the comb gently through the hair until the tangles are gone. Comb only about an inch-length of the hair at one time. If you run into a stubborn tangle, separate the section of hair into an even smaller section and use the comb to loosen the tangle. After each successful comb-through without hitting any tangles, start another inch up on the section and work your way through the ends.

Continue this process, releasing one section of hair from the clip at a time, until all of the tangles and knots are gone. If there are knots that you simply cannot work your fingers or the comb through, apply a few drops of olive oil to the knot, put the comb right in the center of the tangle and work it out through the ends of the section.

Give your hair a complete comb through to check for any missed knots or tangles. Once you’ve removed them all, style your hair as usual.

  • To help prevent tangles, pour 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar through your strands while you’re still in the shower, after shampooing and conditioning. Use a comb or brush to distribute the mixture, then rinse with cool water.

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.