Skip to Content

How To Detangle Matted Hair

Are you dealing with matted hair? It can be one of the most frustrating hair issues to contend with. Matted hair can leave your strands feeling dry, lackluster and a nightmare to deal with.

So, you might be thinking, how to detangle matted hair? I’m going to share some top tips on how you can untangle your matted hair. So, keep on reading to find out more…

How To Detangle Matted Hair

What Happens When Your Hair Becomes Matted?

When your hair becomes matted, it means that loose strands of hair have twisted and tangled together, forming a dense, stubborn knot.

This is the result of various factors, such as product buildup, improper shampooing, or leaving hair masks and conditioners on for too long.

Over time, this buildup makes your hair dull and coated, making it harder to manage and increasing the likelihood of strands tangling together due to friction.

Matted hair is more than just an annoyance; it can lead to further damage, like breakage and split ends.

When you try to comb or brush through matted hair, it can cause unnecessary tension on your strands, which weakens their structure and may lead to breakage.

Matted hair can cause discomfort or pain due to the tight knots and tangles pulling on your scalp and hair follicles.

As well as matted hair is often difficult to style and manage, which can greatly affect your daily hair routine and leave you feeling frustrated.

It’s important to address matted hair promptly and effectively to prevent any long-term damage to your hair and maintain its overall health.

Detangling matted hair requires patience, proper tools, and the right products. Some essential items to have on hand when dealing with matted hair include deep moisturizing conditioners and leave-in treatments.

These provide much-needed hydration, slip, and strengthening for your hair cuticles, making it easier to release knotted sections and detangle your hair.

Other methods to aid in detangling involve using natural DIY solutions, like diluted apple cider vinegar or coconut oil, to add extra slip and ease the process of untangling the matted hair.

What Causes Matted Hair?

Matted hair occurs when your hair strands become tangled and clump together. Several factors can contribute to this issue, which can make detangling a challenge. Understanding the causes will help you take preventive steps to minimize the chances of developing matted hair.

One major cause is product buildup on the hair shaft. This can be due to styling products, improperly shampooed hair, conditioner or hair masks left in for too long, and similar factors.

Over time, this buildup can make your hair dull and coated, increasing friction between your strands and making them more likely to tangle together, to create knotted hair.

Another factor that can contribute to matted hair is how you comb or brush your hair. Brushing or combing your hair while it is dry can lead to snags and tangles.

It’s best to detangle your hair when it’s wet, as wet hair is softer and more flexible, allowing for easier combing, so wet your hair, so you can detangle matted hair painlessly.

The way you sleep can also impact your hair’s propensity to mat. If you sleep with your hair down on a rough or textured pillowcase, it can cause your hair to rub against the fabric, leading to tangles.

Consider using a silk or satin pillowcase to minimize friction and protect your hair from unnecessary breakage and matting.

Lastly, hair type and texture play a significant role in the development of matted hair. Those with curly or coily hair are more prone to hair matting due to the nature of their hair texture.

However, with proper care and maintenance, you can prevent and easily manage hair matting, regardless of your hair type and texture.

Can You Detangle Severely Matted Hair Without Cutting It

Can You Detangle Severely Matted Hair Without Cutting It? A Step-by-step Guide

Yes, you can detangle severely matted hair without cutting it. Follow this step-by-step guide to gently and effectively untangle matted hair:

  1. Shampoo with warm water: Matted hair often contains oil and dirt that can make detangling more difficult. Start by washing your hair with warm water and your favorite shampoo to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Choose a hair treatment: Opt for a deep conditioning treatment or a detangling conditioner to help restore moisture and add slip to your hair. Deep conditioners can make your hair more manageable, while detangling conditioners are specifically formulated to facilitate the untangling process.
  3. Finger detangling: After applying the hair treatment, gently coax out the tangles using your fingers. Work on the edges of the matted area and slowly ease out the knots. Once the hairs start to move and loosen, you can add a lightweight oil for additional slip and ease.
  4. Use appropriate tools: Once the tangles begin to separate, use a wide-tooth comb and a detangling brush to further assist in the process. Alternate between the comb and the brush, starting from the ends of your hair and gradually working your way up to the roots. This will help you avoid causing unnecessary damage to your hair or scalp during the detangling process.

How To Detangle Matted Hair: From Coconut Oil to Specialized Brushes

Matted hair can be a challenging problem, but with the right approach and tools, you can effectively deal with it. Here are some tips on how to detangle matted hair using coconut oil and specialized brushes.

Prepare your hair by washing with warm water and your favorite shampoo. This will help remove oil and dirt buildup, making the detangling process easier. 

Ensure that your hair is damp but not soaking wet, as detangling completely wet hair can cause more harm than good.

Next, apply a generous amount of coconut oil to your hair. Coconut oil can strengthen your hair and prime it for detangling. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way up, massaging the hair oil into your dry hair, to try to detangle the hair.

Once your hair is saturated with coconut oil, gently loosen your strands with a wide-tooth comb. Work from your ends up to your roots, taking your time to avoid excessive hair breakage.

Remember that it’s normal to see hair shedding during the detangling process.

After you’ve loosened your hair, you might want to use a specialized detangling brush, designed specifically to make the process easier.

Be sure to choose a brush that meets your needs. Some popular options include brushes with flexible bristles or brushes that are specifically designed for use with wet hair.

As you brush your hair, use a gentle hand and work in small sections, starting at the tips and gradually moving up to the roots.

If you encounter particularly stubborn knots, take a few moments to carefully work them out, rather than tugging or pulling on them aggressively.

Throughout the detangling process, be patient and diligent. Detangling matted hair can be time-consuming, but by staying focused and using the right techniques, you can successfully detangle your hair without causing further harm.

How To Avoid Matted Hair In The Future For Curly Hair

Caring for curly hair can be a challenge, but with the right techniques, you can avoid matted hair in the future. Here are a few simple steps to keep your curls tangle-free and looking great.

1. Condition regularly: Conditioning your hair is essential for maintaining its elasticity and preventing breakage. Be sure to use a deep conditioner or a leave-in conditioner specifically designed for curly hair. This helps to keep your hair moisturized and ensures it stays soft and manageable.

2. Detangling with care: When detangling your hair, always use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently work through the tangles. Starting from the tips and working your way up to the roots is the best way to tackle knots without causing damage.

3. Protective styling: Opt for styles that keep your curls secure and tamed, such as braids, buns, or twists. These styles help to prevent tangles, reduce frizz, and protect your hair from breakage.

4. Sleeping smart: Use a satin or silk pillowcase to prevent friction between your hair and the pillow as you sleep. You can also wear a satin bonnet or wrap your hair in a satin scarf to protect your curls overnight.

5. Keep a regular trimming schedule: Regular trims help to prevent split ends and breakage, which can both contribute to matted hair. Aim to have your ends trimmed every six to eight weeks, or as needed, based on your hair’s health.

Preventing Future Tangles

Preventing Future Tangles: Hair Care Routines that Protect Your Scalp and Promote Hair Health

To prevent future tangles and promote a healthy scalp, it’s essential to practice careful hair care routines daily.

First, start with proper washing and conditioning. Use shampoo and conditioner that suit your hair type, be gentle while rubbing the scalp, and always rinse thoroughly to remove dirt, oil, and residue.

As well as cleansing, conditioning is key in maintaining tangle-free hair. While conditioning, try using a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle any knots before rinsing.

This also helps distribute the hair product evenly throughout the hair, to detangle hair.

Keep the ends of your hair hydrated with a light hair serum or leave-in conditioner a few times a week. This will help minimize breakage and keep your hair smooth.

Include regular haircuts in your routine, ensuring that damaged ends are trimmed.

When styling your hair, use tools and accessories specifically designed to prevent tangles and snags.

Avoid using tight rubber bands, which can break hair and cause tangling. Instead, opt for soft hair ties or fabric-covered bands.

Be mindful of how you handle your hair when it’s wet. Towel-dry gently and avoid aggressive rubbing, which can worsen tangles.

Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase, as these materials can help reduce friction and prevent tangles overnight.

Finally, remember to be patient while detangling. Work in small sections, and always use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to minimize breakage.

How Often Should You Brush, Wash, and Dry Your Hair to Keep It from Matting?

To keep your hair from matting, it’s essential to brush, wash, and dry it properly and regularly. The frequency of these activities depends on your specific hair type, age, ethnic background, and activity level.

Brushing: Brushing your hair daily is generally recommended, as it helps remove loose hair and prevent tangles. Aim to brush your hair regularly, at least once a day to keep it smooth and manageable. 

If your hair is thick or curly, consider using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush designed for your hair type.

Washing: Most people find it suitable to wash their hair every other day or every two to three days. However, some studies suggest that daily shampooing can be beneficial for your scalp and hair health.

When washing your hair, make sure to lather, rinse, and, if necessary, repeat the process. Allow the shampoo to sit in your hair for 30 seconds before rinsing to ensure it effectively cleans your scalp and strands.

Drying: How you dry your hair can also impact its likelihood of matting. Avoid rubbing your hair with a towel, as it may cause friction and tangles. Instead, gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair and let it air-dry or use a hair dryer on a low-heat setting.

If using a hair-dryer, keep the nozzle moving to minimize heat damage and evenly distribute the air.

What Should You Do If You Can’t Detangle Your Hair To Remove The Hair Mats?

When hair mats have formed, it can be extremely difficult to detangle them. The best way to detangle your hair is to start at the ends and work your way up slowly.

This will help prevent hair loss and further tangles. Begin by washing your hair with a gentle shampoo that won’t strip away natural oils or cause more damage than good.

Once you’ve shampooed your hair, use conditioner that is specifically designed for detangling purposes such as a leave-in conditioner or deep conditioner treatment. 

Separate the matted sections of your hair into small manageable clumps. Gently untangle each clump and be sure to use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush to minimize breakage when brushing out the knots.

If possible, try using a blow dryer on a low-heat setting with round tip attachments to keep the cuticles smooth while drying and removing any excess moisture from the strands, which will make it easier for when you begin detangling each section. 

Take extra care when detangling around any matted sections as breaking or ripping these areas may lead to severe breakage, split ends, and even thinning of large patches of hair on top of potential scalp irritation due to tugging at delicate root areas during removal of these stubborn knots.

Start with separating each section until you reach smaller clumps that are easier to handle, then move onto unraveling tiny pieces by using an appropriate oil like coconut oil.

That keeps frizziness under control while aiding in easy separation of strands without too much pulling or tugging at already fragile hairs which could potentially cause further damage resulting in more serious problems such as complete baldness if not done correctly. 



Matted hair can be a real challenge to deal with, but with the right approach, products, and tools, you can detangle matted hair without causing further damage, and remove matted hair painlessly without cutting.

You’ll want to start by washing your hair with warm water and shampoo before applying a deep conditioning treatment or detangling conditioner.

Then use your fingers (or natural oils like coconut oil), a wide-tooth comb or brush to help coax out the knots.

Finally, make sure to keep up a consistent hair care routine of deep conditioning treatments and protective styles to avoid future tangles.

All products featured on Gemma Etc. are PR samples or gifted items, unless otherwise indicated. This post may contain affiliate links. If you wish to find out more, please see my Disclaimer within my navigation bar.