How to Shampoo Thick, Long Hair Without Tangling It

Say no to knotty hair in the shower.
... Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images

Just as some people have multiple personalities, so too can your long hair. On a good day, it's soft, silky and easy to manage. After a shower and shampoo, though, it can turn into a mean mess of knots that seems impossible to comb through. If you're sick of untangling your tresses, you might be tempted to hack them all off -- but don't reach for those scissors just yet. By shampooing correctly, you'll get your hair clean while keeping it free of cranky tangles.

Brush your hair before shampooing. To remove tangles, hold a section of your hair in the middle, then brush the ends. Work your way up the hair, teasing out knots as you go. Repeat with the rest of your hair.

Get into a warm or lukewarm shower and wet your scalp. Allow the water to run from your scalp down through the rest of your hair. Continue wetting your hair for 30 to 60 seconds, or until it's fully soaked.

Squeeze a quarter-sized amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together to make a lather.

Apply the shampoo to your scalp with your fingertips. Use small, circular motions to massage the shampoo into your scalp and roots. Don't rub the shampoo into the rest of your hair -- doing so may cause tangles.

Rinse the shampoo out under the water. As you rinse, the shampoo will run down through your hair, cleaning it.

Adjust the water temperature to as cold as you can stand, then give your hair a final rinse. Cold water seals the cuticle and gives your hair more shine.

Squeeze out excess water gently, then pat your hair dry with a dry towel. Start at the top, squeezing your hair with the towel as you move down. Do not rub, as it can cause knots to form. If the towel gets soaked before you have finished, swap it for a dry towel.

Smooth a leave-in conditioner through your hair, if desired. It moisturizes hair and makes it easier to comb.

  • To untangle wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb.
  • If you have chemically treated or damaged hair, wash it with a moisturizing shampoo.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.