I’ve mentioned a few times that I have been experiencing some pretty beastly detangling sessions in the last month or two. I mean, whether dry or wet, I’ve been battling matted, snarled, knotted hair like a mug!! Well, these shower skirmishes have required me to pull out ALL of my detangling big guns and invent a new one!! But before I list my tips, I wanted to share a link to a great article published on CurlyNikki last June: Tips on Detangling the Worst Knots.
Now, that article espouses the use of a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles, and that’s great for many. However, I’ve found my fine strands fare much better with finger detangling. So, that is something I think you have to judge for yourself.
So, without further ado, here are a few techniques that I’ve found help me tackle terrible tangles.
- If I’m dry detangling to pre-poo, it helps to look in a mirror as I see the tangle before I even get to it. This allows me to gently start releasing it, rather than potentially breaking hair by haphazardly combing through “blind” and encountering the resistance when I hit the knot.
- I pull apart the hair at my roots horizontally first, rather than combing down vertically. This creates space to loosens shed hair and allows me to start untangling hairs that are twined together.
- When I encounter a “matted” knot,” I gently try to remove the strands from the core of the knot. If my hair is wet with conditioner, I massage the knot with my fingers to loosen it. Then, I slide the knot UP to loosen it, rather than DOWN. For me, I find that down seems to tighten most knots, where sliding it up loosens it so that I can gently remove the strands from the central knot.
- If I have a knot that is not super tight and/or, I’ve been able to loosen it enough so that I can tell that it’s not a hard knot, I use a pin to widen the opening so that I can slide the strands out. I do this for single strand knots that haven’t completely closed too. This is tricky in that the knot has to be a little loose. If it’s tight, I don’t bother as I believe that the safety pin will end up poking and damaging the strand, which means that it’ll eventually knot again, break or split. So, again, I reserve this for knots that have a little “space” with which to work.
- When the above fails to completely eliminate a knot, that’s when I break out the scissors. But, usually, this is a shed strand knotted towards the very end of a strand securely attached to my scalp.
Okay, now I mentioned that I had to invent a new technique to deal with the nasty knots of late. Last weekend, I decided to try something that I’d never tried in the past for detangling:
- I diluted my slippery conditioner in a dye applicator bottle with water before applying it.
Joy in the morning y’all. The tangles just MELTED out of my hair. I didn’t run out of hot water before I got halfway through my head, I didn’t have one knot or badly matted section to work out. I didn’t have to do most of steps 1-4 above. I didn’t dry detangle or look in the mirror. I didn’t need a pin or scissors once!! I just gently separated the hair at my roots horizontally to loosen it and remove some shed hair, then gently finger-combed working up from my ends to my roots. And, I did this again today with the same results!! I think this works under the same principle as the Shower Stream. I don’t know why I never thought of this before! I dilute shampoo to give it more slip. I dilute conditioner to apply over my DC. So, why not dilute conditioner to detangle?!?! I won’t make that mistake again!!
Now, I’ll give this caveat. I have started wearing my stretched hair bunned all week. And, I’ve been using my modified kimmaytube leave-in, which is really keeping my hair moisturized. So, I think all of these things combined are giving my hair some much needed TLC and helping prevent bad tangles in the first place. That being said, I could still FEEL the knots slide out when I applied the diluted conditioner (Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, of course ). So, if your detangling sessions are turning into dreaded events and nothing is working, you might want to give this a try. You might even get your conditioner to go further!! What have you got to lose, right?