There are a lot of different hair types out there and plenty of hair problems to match. However, there is at least one problem that anyone who has had long hair has had to deal with; rat’s nest hair.
Tangles and snarls are every long-haired person’s nightmare. Nothing hurts our scalps quite as much as tearing a hairbrush through one of these snarls either. However, you can’t just walk around with a matted bird’s nest on your head either.
You need to know, though, how to get knots out of hair without tearing your hair and hurting your scalp. Luckily, there are plenty of answers to this problem, both natural and on the market. In this guide, we will teach you the best methods to get rid of rat’s nest hair without pulling all your hair out in the process.
Why Does Hair Tangle?
So, we all know our hair tangles fairly easily. However, it doesn’t just tangle to make our lives miserable but why does it tangle? This is an important fact to consider since it is much easier to resolve a problem if you know why it happened, especially when it comes to avoiding future incidents.
Actually, there are plenty of different ways that you can tangle your hair. But what a tangle is in its most basic form is caused by the outer layer - or cuticle - of your hair breaking and getting caught on each other.The worse your hair breaks, the worse your tangles will be. This can be caused by a variety of things, such as;
● Rubbing your hair dry
● Infrequent washing
● Friction such as excessive rubbing against your pillow
● Windy days blowing your hair around
● Twisting or “playing with” your hair
● Complicated hairstyles
● Difficulty taking your hair down (small, elastic bands are difficult in particular)
● Heat damage
● Damage from bleaching and dyeing
In addition, there are also different hair types that are more prone to tangling than others. If you have curly, wavy, or coarse hair then you are far more likely to have issues with tangling and snagging.
However, this doesn’t mean that you are off the hook if you have thin or straight hair. You can still get tangles, you just might not have to worry about them as often. You should also still take precautions to make sure that your hair doesn’t get tangled.
How Can You Avoid Tangles When You Shower?
One of the best ways that you can deal with a problem is to avoid it in the first place. However, how can you avoid tangled hair? Below, we have listed some of the best ways to avoid your hair getting tangled up so you can avoid the hair pulling or time of the methods we will discuss later.
● Brush your hair before you shower. When you are shampooing your hair or conditioning, you tend to move your hair around and get it wrapped up around each other. To prevent matting, you should make sure to brush your hair beforehand, so you don’t make any existing tangles worse.
● Do not rub your hair dry. Rubbing your hair with a towel is a surefire way to tangle it up. There are a couple of ways you can avoid this and we will discuss better ways to dry your hair below. You should also make sure to avoid keeping your hair wrapped up in a towel as well. The “towel turban” may be an old favorite but it definitely isn’t doing your hair any favors.
● There are ups and downs for when to brush your hair. If you brush your hair while it is still damp, you will have an easier time get snarls out than if they are dried into place. However, wet hair is easier to break and is generally more prone to damage than dry hair.
● Run your fingers through your hair when it's wet. To avoid breaking, try to gently run your fingers through your hair while it's damp to avoid snarls. You can do this throughout the day as well to help with knots.
● Brush conditioner through your hair. Conditioner is one of the things we use that softens and strengthens our hair. Rather than just scrubbing it in, we suggest that you brush it through your hair with a wide tooth comb.
● Use a coconut oil and egg conditioner. We will explain the benefits of coconut oil below but we will also specifically talk about homemade coconut oil and egg conditioner. The important note we will make here is to apply this at least 30 minutes before you rinse it out, so you should apply it before you shower.
How Can You Avoid Tangles When You Go To Bed?
If you don’t acquire your tangles in the shower then chances are you probably woke up with your hair like this. Before we go over how to get knots out of hair, let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid getting knots in your hair while you sleep.
● Brush your hair before you go to bed. We might sound like we’re repeating ourselves here but the same thing we said for showers is true for sleep; if you brush your hair before bed, you are releasing any knots that could quickly turn into snarls and mats overnight.
● Use silk pillowcases. If you ask some people, silk pillowcases are the answer to life’s hair and skin problems. While we don’t know about all the claims that they make but as far as preventing tangles, we agree 100%.
● Hair caps. If you really want to keep your hair from tangling, the best way might be to just put it up in a cap before you go to bed. Once again, we recommend a silk cap if possible.
● Braid your hair loosely. Putting your hair up to avoid knots is one of the oldest tricks in the book. However, a ponytail still has a lot of potential for tangling. We recommend trying a braid instead. Not only will this keep your hair from tangling, it can give you some beautiful, heat-free waves and curls when you wake up.
How to Get Knots out of Hair and the Conditioners You Should Use
As we have discussed already at this point, conditioner is one of the best products you can use on your hair to prevent knots and keep your hair soft and smooth. However, what types of conditioner should you use to make sure you can untangle your hair properly? In our effort to help you learn how to untangle hair knots, we are going to go over a couple of the best conditioners for tangled and knotty hair.
One of the best ways to keep your hair from knotting is to nourish it and keep it healthy. One of the best ways to do this is with essential oils such as tea tree oils. Using a conditioner with tea tree oil in it such as the one we have linked will help to keep your hair healthy and far less likely to mat.
We have chosen this product specifically for a couple reasons. First, it is a hair and body wash, so it is safe and healthy to use for both uses. However, we also chose it because it is safe to use on all hair types, making it perfect for anyone who wants to use it.
Another fantastic way to improve how moisturized and healthy your hair is with shea butter. The conditioner that we’ve chosen, though, has argan oil and sea kelp in addition to shea butter, furthering its moisturizing effects.
This conditioner, however, isn’t for every hair type. Rather, it is best for curly and coarse hair. Luckily, though, these are some of the most common types of hair that struggle with tangles and snares.
For our third conditioner, we have the MagiForet Natural Hair Conditioner with Argan Oil. This offers another all-natural option for you to keep your hair healthy and free of tangles. Argan oil is also an excellent choice to keep your hair hydrated and strong.
In addition, this is a good choice for anyone with severely damaged hair. Of course, this is in part helpful to knotting thanks to the fraying on the shaft of the hair strands. However, this conditioner will also repair your hair internally and at the roots as well.
One thing you might have noticed in these suggestions is that they are both natural and organic rather than filled with chemicals. That is because these types of conditioners are much better for your hair and are much better at building strength in your hair without drying it out or even damaging it instead.
How to Make Your Own Conditioner for Knotty Hair at Home
Of course, buying your own conditioner isn’t the only option when it comes to finding a conditioner for knotty hair. Fortunately, you can make your own conditioner as well. For this recipe you will need the following;
● 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
● 1 and ½ teaspoons of coconut oil
● 2 teaspoons of honey
● 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
The first thing you are going to want to do for this recipe for conditioner is to pour the 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 1 and ½ teaspoons of coconut oil into a pan which you will warm on a low heat setting. Do not let this mixture boil while you are heating it.
Once it is heated, take the pan off the burner. At this point, you are going to add the 2 teaspoons of honey as well as the 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. You are going to want to use this conditioner mixture before it cools for the best effect.
After you shampoo, apply this warm, homemade conditioner to your hair. Once you apply this conditioner, leave it in your hair for 15 minutes to achieve the maximum effect. Then, just rinse it off with warm water like any other conditioner and remake this mixture as needed. Making it in bulk may not work, though, since it has to be warm when you apply it.
In addition to loosening any current knots, this conditioner helps to prevent future tangles and snarls as well. This is done by treating not only the outside of the shaft of the strands of your hair but it treats dead ends on top of that.
How to Dry Your Hair Without Tangling It
We have already gone over some tips as to what not to do when you dry your hair such as rubbing it or using heat excessively. However, what should you do to dry your hair and how to untangle hair knots?
The best way to dry your hair without damage or tangling, is to use a towel. Of course, we don’t mean rubbing it dry, though. Instead, you should wrap a towel around your hair and squeeze any excess moisture out. For this, you will need to start at the tips of your hair and work your way up to your roots.
This may seem like a slower process than your usual blow dry or towel rub and it is. However, it will save you the time (and pain!) of tearing a brush through snarls when your hair is dry.
How to Untangle Hair and the Importance of the Right Comb
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the type of hairbrush you use is important. After all, it doesn’t take a beautician to see that some brushes are more effect and comfortable to use than others. However, knowing which combs and brushes are best is a different story altogether.
When it comes to combs, you’re pretty much good with any wide tooth comb to handle your tangles. Brushes, on the other hand, have a variety of options. So, how do you know which brush is the best one for your tangles? Well, we are going to look at a couple different options so you know some of your best options. These brushes are best for tangled hair on tender scalps as well, so they won’t rip your hair either.
This brush is a favorite of personal users, moms, and hairdressers alike. This brush is so well-loved because it is gentle enough to be used on wet hair. As we have gone over, this is beneficial since it is easier to untangle wet hair but wet hair is particularly fragile. Of course, though, you can use this on dry hair as well.
If you are worried that this brush won’t get through your hair, don’t be! From thin, straight hair to thick, curly hair, this brush can handle it all. So, no matter what your hair type, these won’t tear at your scalp.
If you would rather have a detangling brush that you can fit in the palm of your hand rather than holding it by the handle, then our best recommendation is the Tangle Tweezer. This brush curves with your hand while you work with it, allowing you to have complete control over it as you use it.
Much like the wet brush, many people like this for knots because it is gentle enough to be used on wet hair as well as dry hair. It is also easy to use with any hair type from thin to thick.
When you are purchasing a brush or comb, think about what is best for your hair and its snarls. For combs, we suggest that you use a wide tooth comb so you can cover more surface area at once and separate the hair further as you brush.
When it comes to combs, though, you should try to invest in a comb that is safe for you to use when your hair is wet, like the ones we looked at above. This is because these types of brushes are gentler on your hair and while they will get the tangle out, they won’t rip at your scalp or tear your hair in the process.
What Detanglers are the Best for Getting Snarls and Knots Out of Your Hair?
There is a hair product that we have yet to go over and that is a detangling spray. Detangling spray is another type of conditioner that is sprayed into the hair to release any tangles or snarls. These detanglers work because they smooth the outside of each hair shaft so that they aren’t as likely to get caught on one another. Below, we are going to go over some of the best detanglers you have to choose from when you are looking to get rid knots from your hair and from your life.
The first suggestion that we have for you is a detangler called Not Your Mother’s Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangling Spray. This conditioning detangling spray is made to be perfect for both the fragile, new hair of children as well as the later-stage hair of adults that has gone through repetitive dyes, hairdos, and more.
By now, Pantene is a household name with shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, and more in their line of haircare products. They have become such a common name in the industry because - as you can probably guess - their products are tried and true. When it comes to this detangler, it is one that we would trust to not only use but use on our own families.
This detangling 3 in 1 leave in conditioner may not be a big brand name but it is a product we trust. First of all, it uses natural ingredients such as coconut oil and sunflower seed oil, so it isn’t harsh on your hair.
However, you still need your hair protected from the elements. This beach formula is one of the best detanglers that will protect your hair from UV rays. Not only does this save your hair from damage, it also keeps the color in your hair from fading.
The last product that we have on our list is the Opro Organic Protein Leave In Conditioner Detangler Spray. As the name suggests, this is an organic product, so you can trust that it won’t damage your hair as much as a detangling conditioner with a variety of chemicals in it.
Using natural oils in a product may concern some users, though, who are prone to oily hair. However, this leave in conditioner and detangler spray has been proven to not leave an oily residue. So, your hair won’t suffer because you got rid of your tangles and knots as well.
Any of these detanglers are an excellent choice to help loosen the knots in your hair. Whether they go by the direct phrase “detangler” or they go by “leave in conditioner”, these products will help you to get rid of even your most difficult tangles.
How to Untangle Hair: Ice Cube
The first method that we have to help you untangle your hair is for when you have something in your hair. This tip is especially good to keep on hand if you have kids so you’re prepared when they get gum or food stuck in their hair for the first time.
All you need for this trick is an ice cube, so it won’t run you any extra cost. But, why does it work? Well, what you are essentially doing here is freezing whatever is in your hair. At this point, you should be able to crumble the material out of your hair and brush the knot out.
After you get the material out of your hair, though, you should make sure to condition to get any of the last bits of the material of the strands of your hair. Then, brush with a wide tooth comb to gently loosen the snare. This may not work every time you have something in your hair but it is a good starting place.
How to Untangle Hair: A Sink Full of Water
If you have the time, soaking your hair is one of the best ways to release knots is to soak your hair. For this, you can either fill the sink or take a bath in warm water - whatever works best for you. The important thing is that you submerge your whole scalp in the water for a minute or two.
Then, you are going to want to use a generous amount of conditioner - more than you would use normally to just wash your hair - and work it through your hair thoroughly. After that, wrap your head up in a warm towel for ten minutes. It is important that you do not rinse the conditioner out of your hair before this as you need to let it sit.
Once your ten minutes is up, you are going to submerge your scalp again but make sure that your water is still warm, you can refill if you need to, of course. Now, use your fingers to comb the conditioner from your hair. You can repeat this process as many times as needed to get the snarl to untangle.
What If You Have One Giant Snarl?
The last method that we went over is a fantastic way to get rid of hair that is generally knotted when it’s difficult to brush. However, what do you so when you don’t have a bunch of little knots, but rather one massive knot? In this section, we are going to offer an alternative to the above method for this type of tangle.
Before we start this method, though, we suggest that you invest in a bottle of detangler. Not only will we use it in this remedy but if you are prone to these large snarls, it will serve you well in the future.
The first thing you are going to want to do with this method is to part your hair into sections, you can tie these off with hair bands. We are doing this so that we can work on the knot without getting the rest of your hair tangled into it at the same time.
Now it’s time for the detangler. Make sure to spray your hair thoroughly and soak the knot especially. To do this properly, squeeze the knot and make sure it is wet all the way through - you don’t want to do this without enough detangler.
Use a wide tooth comb and start untangling the knot from bottom to top. As you work on the knot, you may find that you need to add more detangler. This is fine; like we said, be liberal with your detangler.
Once the knot is unsnarled, brush through your hair once more. The waves that your hair has from the remnants of the snarl can easily get tangled again if you don’t brush it out. You can also spray more detangler in your hair if you want to be safe.
Coconut Oil for Tangled Hair
If you have a stubborn knot, you can always use coconut oil to moisturize your hair and loosen the tangle. Most people, though, do recommend putting the coconut oil in your hair overnight, so you might not be able to use this trick in a pinch.
However, if you find that you like this trick, there is a recipe for making your own coconut oil conditioner that uses a coconut oil and egg blend. You can use this a few times a week as needed. Though, you will want to leave it in your hair for 30 minutes before you wash it out.
Detangling Hair With Lemon Juice
Another remedy that you probably already have the supplies for in your cupboard is the lemon juice recipe. For this recipe, all you’ll need is 2 cups of water and a few tablespoons of lemon juice.
With this recipe, instead of a conditioner, you have made a hair rinse. When you have too many knots, you can put this mixture in your hair and wash your hair with it and your knots should loosen up a bit.
Detangling Hair Thanks to Mayonnaise
We know that this one seems a little far fetched and gross but we swear, it works. This is another remedy that is great if your tangles are caused by getting a material like food stuck in your hair.
For this remedy, there isn’t any recipe. You will just need to put a small amount of mayonnaise in your hair and leave it there for a few minutes. This should dissolve any materials that could be in your hair.
After a few moments, brush through your hair. Once you are done, you will, of course, want to wash the mayonnaise out of your hair to prevent it from drying into it and causing another problem.
Peanut Butter Can Help Knotted Hair Too
Much like the mayonnaise trick, the use of peanut butter to break up a knot or snare is best used when the knotting is caused by a foreign material such as food in your hair. Rather than just leaving this mixture in your hair, you will need to massage the peanut butter into the knot to properly break it up.
Once you are done getting the knot out with a wide toothed comb, you are going to want to wash the peanut butter out of your hair. This will help to prevent further knotting and any stickiness from the peanut butter.
Use a Hair Mask to Keep Your Hair Healthy and Tangle Free
If your knotting and tangling is caused by the fraying or splitting of your hair, there is a simple and easy solution. A hair mask is usually just a fancy term for deep conditioning your hair. While it may not sound as crucial put like that, you still need to make sure you do this from time to time.
Not only will this help with broken strands and split ends, you will also have a better health to your hair overall. This includes an increase in the health of your roots and even protections for color and even from environmental forces such as UV rays.
Simple Hairstyles are Your Friend
If you can, stick to what you know. By this we mean that you should keep your daily hairstyles simple. When you overcomplicate the hairstyle you wear, you are more likely to damage and tangle your hair. It is also important to use hair bands that won’t damage your hair either. This might mean trading your classic elastics in for a more forgiving scrunchie.
Of course, you can’t always miss out on these more complicated hairstyles. There will, after all, always be weddings, proms, and other formal events that call for something a little fancy. However, if you can cut down on the stress of wearing your hair like this everyday, it will go a long way in keeping your hair healthy.
Undo Your Tangles With an Embroidery Needle
Needless to say, this technique isn’t for the impatient or short-tempered. It also isn’t a method for when you have a snag that is making you late to work. Rather, most people use this method when everything else has failed thus far.
Why use an embroidery needle, though? Well, an embroidery needle - if you aren’t familiar with them - has a drastic curve to it rather than being ramrod straight. This allows you to easily pull strands of hair from the knot with precision.
Of course, the size of the knot and how difficult it is will change how long it takes to take care of it and how frustrating it will be. We suggest that you set an evening aside and be prepared to handle the knot with patience. That being said, this is usually a last step before just cutting the knot out of your hair.
Try Combing Your Hair At an Angle
If you are like most people, your go to is probably combing your hair straight down from top to bottom. However, some people argue that you should brush it out at a 45-degree angle. Not only will this handle knots better thanks to the increase in the surface area that your comb covers, but it also increases the shine and volume that you would usually get just for combing or brushing your hair straight to your head.
If you want some extra volume, you should try brushing your hair from underneath instead of overtop your hair. This “brushing your hair out” will keep your hair from sticking to the sides of your head rather than falling naturally.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Untangle Knots in Your Hair
With this recipe, you will - once again - be creating an acidic hair rinse to break up the knots in your hair. This is a lot like the lemon juice trick we used earlier, so they work in pretty much the same fashion.
For this recipe, you will need to get two simple ingredients that you probably already have; 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. When you wash your hair, you should use this rinse to condition and correct the pH in your hair as needed.
Olive Oil for Detangling and as a Conditioner
Olive oil has a lot of different uses when it comes to hair, cosmetic, and even skin care. As to haircare and helping with tangles, olive oil can be a lifesaver, especially if you are out of conditioner one day.
To use olive oil for this purpose, just apply it like you would any other conditioner. To maximize its effect, though, you can let the olive oil set in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out. When you do rinse this olive oil out of your hair, though, make sure to brush your hair out with a wide tooth comb to protect from any tangles after you have washed your hair.
Conclusion: Saying Goodbye to Rat’s Nest Hair
If you have a knot or snare in your hair, don’t panic or pull out the scissors just yet. Today, we have gone over several tips to help you get rid of knots and snares. In addition, we have also looked at several ways to prevent tangles from occurring as well.
With the help of a silk pillow, some coconut oil, or even the right conditioner, you can cut down on how much time you spend tearing through knots in your hair. This is only a small section of what we covered as well, though. If you have a knot, your options are nearly limitless, so don’t give up!