Knotty hair conjures up images of childhood wailing and brandished scissors. Sadly, the problem does not always go away with adulthood, especially for those with fine but plentiful hair. One way of dealing with tangles is to drag a brush through the top layer and jam on a hat—otherwise, try these suggestions!
Avoiding Tangled Hair
Dryness, split ends and friction all contribute to knotty hair. Keep your hair well-moisturised to give it some ‘slip’. Snip out split ends as you see them—split hairs are damaged hairs, and the roughness and increased volume of splits can easily create tangles. Make sure you are using gentle hair care techniques to keep your hair free of damage.
To avoid friction, try sleeping on a satin pillowcase at night. Cotton pillowcases have fibres which rub against the hair, while satin allows the hair to slip freely about. Slipping a satin petticoat or nightie over your pillow is a cheaper option—the difference will be obvious when you comb your hair the next day. Never leave barrettes or clips in your hair overnight, or they may be ‘eaten’ by your hair and be difficult to remove.
Tangles also frequently occur while washing hair. Never pile your hair atop your head and scrub. Instead, detangle it before hopping in the shower, and shampoo your scalp only. The length of your hair is rarely dirty enough to require scrubbing, and will be sufficiently cleaned by the shampoo as you rinse it out. Next, comb the conditioner through your hair with a wide-toothed comb, and continue combing as you rinse out. This way your hair should not require further detangling before it dries. Don’t rub at it with a towel—let your hair dry naturally, loose or wrapped in a turbie towel.
Keep Your Hair Tied Up
The looser your hair is, the more chance it has to become tangled and damaged by rubbing against your clothes, getting caught under handbag straps and blown about in the wind. Braids are a perfect way to keep hair from tangling. Practice braiding your hair at night until you get the hang of it—’sleep braids’ don’t have to be perfect, and are a wonderful way to protect hair from tangles while you toss and turn. Once you’ve mastered the techniques, braids can be worn in endless combinations and styles during the day.
Buns are another excellent way to protect hair from tangles. Using the sock bun method, even fairly short hair can be kept out of harm’s way.
Removing Knots From Hair
Bobble-tipped brushes are damaging to hair, and useless for removing knots. To detangle hair, use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb and begin with the bottom few inches of hair, gradually working your way up. Always start at the bottom of a knot and tease it out downwards, rather than pulling it wide apart. Once detangled, use a boar bristle brush to polish and protect your hair.
Some people find damp hair easier to detangle. Use a spray bottle of professional detangling product, or a mixture of water, jojoba oil and aloe vera. For really stubborn knots, saturate the hair in conditioner for a few minutes before attempting to remove the knot.