How frustrating has it been to try to untangle matted hair? Dealing with matted hair can be a dreadful task, Whether due to neglect, intense physical activity, or simply waking up with a tangled mess. But fear not! In this informative article, we will come up with practical pointers on how to untangle matted hair effectively.

Our guide covers everything from understanding tangled hair causes to using the right tools and products. So, if you’re tired of battling with knots and snarls, read on to discover the secrets to restoring your hair’s smoothness and manageability. An American author Laini Taylor quoted,

“Stars got tangled in her hair,

whenever she played in the sky.”

Laini Taylor

How to Untangle Matted Hair: Understanding Matted Hair

Matted hair can be a real challenge, but before you start untangling it, it’s essential to understand the nature of matted hair. Here we will explore what causes matted hair, different types of tangles, and the risks associated with leaving your hair matted.

Causes of Matted Hair:

  • Neglect: Lack of proper hair care, such as not brushing or combing regularly, can lead to tangles ends up causing depression matted hair.
  • Excessive Activity: Engaging in activities like sports or outdoor adventures can cause your hair to tangle and knot.
  • Sleeping with Wet Hair: Going to bed with wet hair can contribute to matting, as the strands stick together while drying.

Types of Matted Hair:

how to untangle matted hair
  • Surface Tangles: These tangles occur on the outer layer of hair and can be quickly resolved with gentle brushing or combing.
  • Knots and Snarls: These are more severe tangles that form tight knots and require more effort and patience to untangle.
  • Dreadlocks: A deliberate hairstyle choice, dreadlocks are matted sections of hair intentionally created and maintained over time.

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Risks Associated with Matted Hair:

  • Breakage: Tangled hair is prone to breakage, mainly when force is applied during the untangling process.
  • Scalp Irritation: Matted hair can pull on the scalp, causing discomfort and potential irritation.
  • Hair Loss: If left unaddressed for a prolonged period, severe matting can lead to hair loss or damage to the hair follicles.

How to prepare matted hair for untangling

How to untangle matted hair

Gathering the Necessary Tools:

  • Wide-toothed comb: A wide-toothed comb is gentle on tangled hair and helps to prevent breakage.
  • Detangling spray or conditioner: Using a detangling spray or conditioner like SheaMoisture Conditioner can soften the hair and make it easier to untangle.
  • Hair clips or ties: These will help you section your hair and keep it organized during the untangling process.

Selecting the Appropriate Products:

Leave-in conditioner:

Applying a leave-in conditioner can provide extra moisture and make the hair more manageable.

Creating a Workspace:

  • Find a comfortable and well-lit area to work on untangling your hair.
  • Place a towel or a cape around your shoulders to catch any hair that may fall.
  • Ensure you have enough time to avoid rushing through the untangling process.

How to Untangle Matted Hair: Steps to Smooth and Silky Locks

Watch out for this video to detangle your dry, matted & brittle hair

  1. Assessing the severity of the mat:

Before you begin, evaluate how severe the tangle is. This will help you hand-pick the proper method to prevent hair breakage effectively.

  • Loosening the tangles with fingers:

Start using your fingers to gently loosen the knots. Begin from the tips, and move upwards to reduce pulling and discomfort.

  • Using a comb or brush to detangle gently:

Once the tangles are partially loosened, use a wide-tooth comb or a brush with flexible bristles. Start from the end and gradually work your way up, being patient and gentle.

  • Applying a detangling spray or conditioner:

To make the process smoother, apply a detangling spray or conditioner viz. Knot Away Leave in Conditioner to help soften the hair and reduce friction.

  • Using a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles:

Gently comb the hair using a wide-toothed comb, starting from ends upwards. Be gentle and patient, working through the tangles slowly.

  • Repeating the process if necessary: You may need to repeat the above steps for stubborn tangles. Remember, patience is key!
  • Using scissors as a last resort:

If all else fails and the tangle is impossible to remove, use scissors as a last resort. Cut only the portion of hair that is severely matted, being cautious not to cut too close to the scalp.

Post-Untangling Hair Care: How to Maintain Tangle-Free Locks

Washing and conditioning the hair:

  • Cleanse your hair with a gentle shampoo, emphasizing the roots and scalp.
  • Apply a nourishing conditioner to moisturize and soften your hair, making it easier to comb.

Using a leave-in conditioner or hair oil:

  • After washing and conditioning, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to provide extra hydration and protection against tangles.
  • Evenly distribute the product by combing gently with a wide-toothed comb.

Protecting the hair from future matting:

  • Tie or braid your hair before engaging in activities that may cause tangling, such as exercising or sleeping.
  • Avoid using harsh hair accessories or styles that stress your hair, leading to tangles.

Maintaining healthy hair habits:

  • Brush your hair regularly with a wide-toothed comb or a brush designed for detangling.
  • Regular trims prevent split ends and tangling.

How to Untangle Matted Hair: Home Remedies

Now only home remedies can save you from cutting your hair. so we have compiled methods where you will learn how to detangle matted hair painlessly without going through the trimming process. So read below to solve your query.

Coconut Oil:

  • Apply warm coconut oil generously to the tangled hair.
  • Rest the knots for approximately 30 minutes
  • Using a wide-toothed comb, carefully run it through the hair, beginning at the tips and progressing upwards.
  • Ensure the hair is thoroughly cleansed by rinsing it with a gentle shampoo and conditioner.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

  • Make a spray bottle by mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water.
  • Spray the mixture onto the matted hair, focusing on the tangled areas.
  • Allow it to rest briefly to facilitate the untangling process.
  • Gently untangle knots with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb
  • Ensure you wash and condition your hair.

Aloe Vera Gel:

  • Apply aloe vera gel directly to the matted hair.
  • Wait for 15-20 minutes to let the tangles soften.
  • Start combing the hair gently with a wide-toothed comb, beginning at the ends and moving upwards.
  • Rinse off the aloe vera gel with water and follow with a conditioner.

Honey and Olive Oil

  • Honey and olive oil can be used together as a hair treatment.
  • Honey has a slippery texture that helps detangle hair.
  • Combine 2 tbsp honey and a few tbsp olive oil.
  • Apply the mixture to wet hair.
  • Get rid of knots and tangles with a fine-toothed comb.

What’s the difference between matted hair and tangled hair?

Not all knots and tangles are mats, although all mats can be described as knots and tangles. Mats are intensified tangles that typically form in naturally curly hair, as this hair type is more susceptible to tangling initially.


Unlocking the secrets to unraveling matted hair, this article has provided the much-awaited answer to the eternal question of “how to untangle matted hair.” Frustration no more! Armed with the power of patience, gentleness, and the natural prowess of coconut oil or apple cider vinegar, you can triumph over those tenacious knots. Embrace the artistry of restoration and seize the opportunity to embrace luscious, tangle-free locks.