Usually when we think about matted hair, the first thing that comes to mind is a homeless dog in desperate need of a grooming. Unfortunately, this situation isn’t limited to our canine companions. We’ve all had that moment (or our kids have had that moment) when we freak out in frustration at our big knotted mess.  Before you lose it and grab the scissors, try these steps to detangle your mane next time it gets matted:


1. Wet the hair very well, or hop into the shower, but skip the shampoo. In our case, since she was already dressed, I drenched her hair with a spray bottle.

2. While the hair is still wet, apply generous amounts of a good detangler (something that should be a staple item in any curly girl’s bathroom) to the matted hair and the chunks of hair around it.


3. Brace yourself and dive into it with a wide-toothed comb. Make sure you hold onto your hair near the root for the chunk you’re working on, or it will hurt VERY badly. The goal at this step is not to get the mat out completely (purely wishful thinking) but to loosen the surrounding hairs, sort of isolating the mat as best you can.

4. Apply even more detangler to the mat and surrounding hairs, and massage it into the mat.

5. Working with the comb and your fingers, separate more of the hairs around the mat. If needed, you can hit it with a detangling brush to encourage that stubborn knot to loosen. In my daughter’s case, I found that the detangling brush really helped. Mind you, I usually do not brush wet hair — but I also wouldn’t usually have a daughter with matted hair. Desperate times…

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6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed until the mat comes loose. Alternate using the comb, your fingers and a detangling brush if you’re using one. Again, it took us a good half hour to get through her large knot. I remember having to rest my arms halfway through, because holding your arms up starts hurting after about 15 minutes.

Have you run into this problem before? How do you detangle matted hair?

MORE FROM NATURALLY CURLY: Detangling Without Brushing