So, what is matted hair? Expect matted hair to be a (unwanted) step up from regular knots and tangles. We’ve all had matted hair at some point in our lives and anyone with long hair knows the struggle. Mats form when loose hairs continuously twist around attached strands, causing a tangle that isn’t quickly removed. They can appear as clumps and are difficult, if not impossible, to remove with just a brush or comb. If you don’t comb your hair on a regular basis to remove shed strands, your hair may become matted. Also, if your hair has split ends, it’s way more likely to mat because the splitted hair also wraps around the other hairs around it. Matting can also be caused by poor detangling techniques, going too long without a trim, or not protecting your hair at night. Matted hair is more common in individuals who have drier or textured hair, such as curls and coils. If you have long hair or if it’s fragile from chemical treatments, you’re more likely to get serious mats in your hair. To prevent matted hair, it is advised to regularly brush your hair and get a trim every few months.
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Reasons hair matting happens
- Not protecting your hair. Protecting your hair at night not only helps you keep your hairdo the next day, but it also preserves your hair’s health. Place your hair in a pineapple, twist, or braid your hair if you’re keeping a twist out/braid out (try not to re-twist/braid every night) to keep your style. Wearing a satin scarf, hat, or pillowcase while sleeping can help avoid matting and damage. If you sleep on a cotton pillowcase without any hair protection, your hair will brush against the cloth. This might drain the moisture in your hair and cause it to mat.
- Wearing protective styles for too long. Protective styles are a great method to keep your hair length while also reducing the stress of having to manage it. Even though protective styles are beneficial, wearing them for an extended period of time can do more harm than good. When your hair is freshly cleaned and hydrated, apply the protective style. Protective styles can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks, depending on the style and how well they are maintained. I wouldn’t leave it in for more than six weeks because it can produce matting if you leave it in for too long. Carefully wash and untangle the hair after removing the style.
- Matting can occur if you style your hair before it has been properly detangled. Use a conditioner and untangle your hair on wash day. If it will make it easier, you can apply a conditioner with a lot of slippage. You may also use your preferred tool, such as your hands or a wide toothed comb. Make sure your hair is gently detangled from the ends to the roots. If necessary, divide your hair into parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Your hair type. For example, having fine, thin, and fragile hair is one of the most common reasons of matted hair. Your hair is more likely to tangle and knot the longer it gets. Thin, brittle, and fine hair, on the other hand, is especially prone to matting. Thin hair is more likely to break, resulting in numerous loose strands. A knot can easily form when a few strands of hair are trapped together, and if not properly addressed, it can quickly turn into a mat. Also, naturally curly hair is another hair type that is prone to matting. Individual strands of hair curl around each other frequently in those with tight curls, resulting in knots that quickly grow into mats. Long hair that has been improperly handled is far more likely to mat than short hair. The reason for this is that there is more hair for individual strands to get tangled in. Excessive tangles and mats can be avoided with frequent brushing and adequate haircare maintenance. Hair that has been heavily processed is often drier and more prone to tangling. Hair that is properly cared for and gets regular hydration and conditioning is less likely to cling to neighbouring strands. Processing your hair often, on the other hand, can cause it to become dry, sticky, and brittle. When you’re in this situation, your chances of getting matted hair increase.
Does it have to be cut out?
Without cutting the hair, matted hair can be properly detangled. It will take patience, hard work, and the correct tools, but it can be done and will save your strands and nerves from getting shot.
How to prevent matted hair from happening
- If you find your hair starting to mat, there are a few things you can do to help limit the damage and prevent it from matting further. Consider applying conditioner to the afflicted region to begin. Conditioning matted hair will make it easier to remove the mat. Additionally, try to isolate the mat as much as possible. You’ll limit the odds of the mat spreading further and keeping it from becoming severely knotted if you separate it from the rest of your hair.
- Brush your hair on a regular basis. You can brush or comb your hair on a daily basis, but you should comb it at the very least after washing it. Make sure you utilise an untangling tool, such as a wide-tooth comb or a Wet Brush. Starting with your fingertips before going on to a tool can be less painful. Begin from the bottom and gradually work your way up. That way you would avoid pushing the tangles to the bottom making them accumulate at the end of your hair
- Use detangling products. Use a detangler, conditioner, or both after you wash your hair. Detangling products smooth the surface of individual hairs, reducing the possibility of friction and, as a result, matting. To get the most out of any product, keep it on for a few minutes. Finally, you’ll want to use a wet brush, which is designed to be used on damp hair, as the name implies.
- Protecting your hair at night, whether with a silk scarf, silk pillowcase, or the pineapple method (placing your hair in a high, loose ponytail), is an easy approach to avoid mats. It will keep your hair moisturised and prevent strands from tangling together. A good silk or satin pillowcase is a good investment because it prevents the hair from snagging on the pillowcase while you are sleeping, and it does not absorb the moisture in your hair and consequently drying up your hair. Before going to bed, loosely braid your hair. If your hair is tangled when you wake up, braid it before going to bed to reduce the amount of tangling that can occur. You could also put your hair up in a bun.
- Stay away from drying hair treatments. Bleach and other chemical treatments can cause hair to become damaged and dry. This may not be a concern if properly cared for. However, the more you process your hair, the weaker the hair shaft becomes, leading to knots and breakage that elevates your hair getting matted.
- Concentrate solely on your scalp when washing your hair. Because you’re rubbing your hair all over throughout the shampooing process, you’ll get a lot of tangles. Concentrate all of your shampooing efforts on the scalp exclusively to keep the amount of movement on the ends of the hair to a minimum.
- Once a week, oil your hair. Apply a generous amount of coconut, argan, or rosehip oil on your scalp. Apply to the strands of your hair. It should be left on for at least 60 minutes, if not overnight. While your hair is still damp, apply a light oil like argan or rosehip oil, or a serum. Apply to the strands of hair. It’s best not to rub the strands together. Apply the oil or serum with your fingers in a “brushing” motion.
- Detangling should not be pushed off because it may result in a more time-consuming and destructive detangling session or matting.
- Fill the holes in damaged cuticles using protein treatments on a regular basis to reduce friction, tangles, and matting.
- Extensions should not be left in for any longer than is recommended.
Matted hair and mental health
Depression makes people feel as if they don’t need to groom themselves any longer. This could be because they are experiencing pain or numbness on the inside. And one of the first aspects of their appearance that they neglect is their hair. Hair, however, is one of the first elements of the body that you notice when it isn’t well cared for. It easily becomes dirty and begins to create build-up, which absorbs lint and dirt. The hair strands are essentially glued together in what may be termed as natural matted knots over time. The longer you sit without washing and unwinding your hair, the worse it will become. When individuals with depression look in the mirror, matted hair usually makes them feel even worse. They would cover their heads whenever they go outside.
Depression treatment, of course, comes in a variety of forms, and you can still seek help. On the other hand, you can try little forms of therapy on your own to put you in a better mood. The detangling of your hair is one of them. Simply witnessing every strand of your hair shed its knots and become silky and shining again will give you confidence and reaffirm your belief in yourself.
It’s a good idea to seek professional guidance from a hairstylist in a specialty salon. They’ll know exactly how to deal with your hair and save it. You’ll also gain from forming a bond with an entity that is concerned about your well-being.
You might expect some of your hair to fall out. The threads and hairs, as well as fragile endings that had been locked in the knots for a long time, have now become free. All of the waste will fall off when the hairstylist unravels them, leaving only the healthy part of your hair.
The detangling session lasts a long time. Untangling all of your hair will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how long and messy it is. However, you should not see this as an additional cause of tension and anxiety. Quite the reverse, in fact. Consider it a long salon appointment where you can rest while a professional pampers your hair.
Taking care of your hair is a slow and steady process and doing it will end up making you feel better.
How to untangle matted hair fast
While some may decide to seek a professional to fix their matted hair, it can be done at home with a few tools and some serious patience. Before you reach for the scissors, keep in mind that there is another approach to remove matting. You can disentangle matted hair with a little time and the appropriate tools. Naturally, if your hair begins to mat, you’ll want to remove the tangled areas as quickly as possible to prevent them from spreading. It’s best to deal with matted hair as soon as possible because it prevents breakage and excessive damage to your hair, as well as making the condition worse.
Saturate your hair with detangling spray or deep conditioner. When you try to brush out or pull apart tangles, matted hair is frequently dry and brittle, and it pulls tighter. Conditioning the hair allows it to relax and become moisturised, making it easier to untangle. To help prevent the mat from spreading further, you should also treat the surrounding regions. Allow 30 minutes for the conditioner or detangling spray to soak in your hair. To make the detangling process easier, your hair needs to absorb moisture and nutrients.
Wide-tooth combs split the hair apart and can easily pull huge strands away from one another. For combing out severe tangles, you’ll need a comb with sturdy, widely spaced teeth. Fine combs and brushes will almost certainly meet with too much resistance, prompting you to either rip out clumps of hair or cease brushing. Begin loosening strands of hair with the wide-tooth comb. Begin at the ends and work your way up to the roots, gently removing knots along the way. It is typical to see a lot of hair coming out, as this is the shed hair that caused the matting in the first place. To avoid a tight pulling feeling, hold your hair close to the root if it’s uncomfortable. Begin at the top of the mat, separating any large strands from the mat itself with your fingertips. You’re less likely to damage your hair or create breakage unintentionally if you use your fingers.
Once you’ve detached as many strands from the mat as possible, proceed slowly through the mat with your detangling brush or comb. Attempt to separate the still-matted region as you detangle it to prevent hair from becoming caught in the mat again. Use the wide-toothed comb to finish separating any narrower strands that may still have tangles after you’ve removed most of the mat with the comb or brush.
Last but not least, rinse your hair with cool — not hot — water. This will keep your strands smooth and separated while also removing any leftover product. Carefully rinse the conditioner out of your hair with cool water. Then, to enhance hydration and prevent the likelihood of your hair becoming matted again, add a leave-in conditioning treatment or detangling spray to the affected parts. Keep in mind to take your time when brushing out the tangles. When you can easily move your fingers through your hair, you’re done. If you can’t get a mat of hair to separate despite your best attempts, you may need to thin it out. With one hand, open a pair of scissors and the other, tightly grasp your hair. To remove loose strands, run the bottom blade of the scissors along the underside of the mat, then gently tug at your hair. Using a wide-toothed comb, work your way through the severe matting and tangles. To eliminate any remaining minor knots, use a fine-toothed comb or a brush. There will be a lot of shedding, so don’t be alarmed. We lose about 100 hairs every day on average, and because the hair is matted, those shed hairs are trapped and need to be removed.
Painlessly detangling matted hair
While fast detangling matted hair is ideal, it can be uncomfortable. There are, however, ways to effortlessly untangle your hair without causing pain. If you have a sensitive scalp or are concerned about injuring yourself, follow these procedures to detangle matted hair without pain:
- Begin by showering and rinsing your hair with warm water. Apply a moisturising shampoo to the affected regions and gently massage them with warm water and soap.
- Once the shampoo has been rinsed off, apply a deep conditioner and leave it on for at least fifteen minutes to moisturise and loosen the matted hair strands.
- Rinse out some of the conditioner, allowing water to continue running with some conditioner remaining in the hair. This will allow the hair to have a lubricating agent that will help separate the matted strands from each other.
- Start at the bottom of the matted hair and work your way up with a detangling brush to avoid the matted hair piling up at the bottom of your hair. To avoid any pulling as you brush through the matted hair, section it off and hold it with your hand at the top near the roots of your hair. Running water and conditioner assist avoid pulling and straining, allowing matted hair to move more freely.
- To assist detangle and remove knots, add additional conditioner to the hair as needed. There’s no such thing as too much conditioner at this point. Use just enough to detangle the hair effortlessly. Rinse the remaining conditioner out of your hair once the mats have been eliminated.
- Patience is key. When it comes to detangling hair mats painlessly, you should always take your time. Forcing the hair to detangle and doing it in a short amount of time can be painful and can rip your healthy hairs out.
Other solutions for matted hair
Another option for getting rid of matted hair that we haven’t mentioned is to chop it out. While many people despise the notion of cutting their hair, you may need to do so if your hair is excessively matted. Severely matted hair is often already severely damaged, making it more prone to matting in the future. Hair matting can be reduced over time by cutting away matted parts and keeping hair shorter in length. Furthermore, once you’ve detangled your hair, taking adequate care of it in the future might help maintain it healthy and prevent the likelihood of subsequent issues. Shorter hair requires less maintenance and upkeep and it is also a great thing to get a haircut to freshen up your hair.
Matted hair is characterised by entangled hair strands that form distinct clumps. These harden into tangled hair clusters. They are more difficult to detangle than hair knots or tangles. Curly and kinky hair is more prone to becoming matted.
If you don’t comb or wash your hair on a regular basis, it may become matted. Dirt, dust, and sweat accumulate in your hair, causing it to knot. If you do not detangle these knots or wash your hair at least once a week, your hair will become matted. But you can detangle your hair without cutting it.
It’s difficult to detangle matted hair. Detangling matted hair can cause hair shedding if you have textured, dry, or frizzy hair. Detangling, on the other hand, can be done without causing discomfort or losing too many hairs if done correctly. To lessen and even prevent hair matting, combine the steps listed above with the proper hair care routine.