We can all agree that matted hair can be an absolute pain to deal with. And while any hair type can experience this hair care concern, if you’re working with naturally coily or curly hair, you may be more prone to those pesky hair mats. Without the proper technique, trying to detangle matted hair can take a toll on your strands. So, what’s a girl to do? Lucky for you, there is a light at the end of the matted hair tunnel. All you need are the right tools and hair care products to restore your strands. Follow along as we give you the full scoop on how to detangle matted hair and leave hair mats behind.
WHAT IS MATTED HAIR?
Let’s cut to the chase—what exactly is matted hair? Matted hair is the combination of attached and shed strands that twist together to form clumps or tangles. Basically, think of hair mats as a step up from traditional tangles and knots. In other words, they're bad news for your strands. Hair mats are often associated with dogs because their fur gets matted very easily, but trust us, it can happen with human hair, too.
WHAT CAUSES MATTED HAIR?
There is a myriad of reasons for hair to become matted, but the main culprit is none other than not detangling your hair the right way. Simply put, when you fail to detangle your hair, loose strands can knot around other hairs, which leads to tangles that eventually develop into hair mats. Hence, why we always say it’s important to detangle your strands!
Other causes of matted hair include not sleeping with a silk scarf, bonnet, or pillowcase (which can lead to strands becoming super tangled while you snooze), wearing protective styles longer than you should, not trimming your hair regularly, and styling your hair when it’s not properly detangled.
DO YOU HAVE TO CUT MATTED HAIR?
Worried that you may have to cut your strands? There’s no need to panic! You can totally detangle matted hair. Don’t jump straight to chopping the hair mats out of your mane. While that may be an effective way to get rid of mats, it won’t leave your locks looking their best. The key to success when it comes to detangling mats is to make sure that you’re using the right technique to release the tangles and knots.
HOW TO DETANGLE MATTED HAIR
It’s time for the reason you’re here—learning how to detangle matted hair! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you restore your strands.
STEP #1: SATURATE YOUR STRANDS
While you may be tempted to try and work a comb through dry, matted hair, this will only make matters worse. It’s essential to use a conditioner or hair detangler, like the L’Oréal Kids Burst of Sweet Pear Tangle Tamer for All Hair Types. Whether you’re working with dry or wet hair, this conditioning formula helps to smooth tangles and leave your hair with a sweet pear scent. To start, spray the hair detangler throughout your mane, making sure to focus on wherever you have hair mats.
Bonus tip: You can also use other hair care products to help work through matted hair. The L’Oréal Paris EverStrong Break Proof Lotion moisturizes, strengthens hair, and adds slips to help you detangle hair without any fuss. To use, simply apply a dime-sized amount to towel-dried hair.
STEP #2: LOOSEN YOUR HAIR
Once your strands are saturated with hair detangler, use a wide-tooth comb and gently loosen your strands. The key is to take your time, working from your ends up to your roots.
Editor’s note: Keep in mind, it’s normal to see hair shedding during the detangling process. Mats consist of hairs that have already shed, so as long as you’re gentle, you don’t have to assume you’re causing new breakage or hair loss.
HOW TO PREVENT MATTED HAIR
Now that you’re educated on how to detangle matted hair, it’s essential to know how to prevent future hair mats. Here are five tips to help you do just that.
1. DETANGLE YOUR HAIR WITH EVERY WASH SESSION
We can’t say this enough: You should always detangle your hair! As you can see, failing to detangle your hair can lead to knots, tangles, and matted hair. Every time you wash your hair, detangle your strands afterward.
2. GET REGULAR TRIMS
One of the easiest ways to make matted hair a reality is by skipping out on your trims. Not only can split ends give your mane a raggedy look and feel, but they can also contribute to hair mats. The best solution is to trim your hair every six to eight weeks to keep your mane in shape.
3. PROTECT YOUR STRANDS AT NIGHT
Before you decide to hit the hay, make sure to protect your hair. Every time you sleep without protecting your strands, you run the risk of your strands twisting together, which can lead to hair mats. To stay ahead of the game, cover your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet. This will also come in handy to lock in moisture for healthy-looking hair.
4. CONSIDER THE PINEAPPLE
The pineapple method is one of the best ways to keep hair mats at bay. A foolproof technique for natural hair types, pineappling prevents your curls from being crushed while you sleep and protects your hair from twisting into itself. Best of all, it’s totally easy to master. Simply gather your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head and wrap a silk scarf around the base. Now you’re ready to get some shut-eye!
5. REMOVE PROTECTIVE STYLES WHEN RECOMMENDED
Like we mentioned above, protective styles can cause hair mats. See, when you leave a protective style in for too long, you’re unable to comb your hair and remove the hairs that have shed over time. As a result, your strands can get tangled and lead to matted hair. So, what should you do? Simply put, you should only leave a style in place for six to eight weeks.
Next up: Congratulations, you finally know how to smooth out matted hair! Now it’s time to master another hair care concern: single-strand knots. Learn how to do just that with help from our article, How to Manage Single-Strand Fairy Knots.