8 Ways to Deal With Tangled Hair

by Julia Teen

You know that slightly painful and oddly stressful moment when you can’t get your brush through the knotted, tangled mess that you call hair? We’ve all been there — a bunch of times, actually: après beach, after a shampoo session, and some of us have hair that loves to knot itself with no provocation whatsoever.

It’s so tempting to force your way through the jungle of hair, even though you know it’s the wrong thing to do, even though you know you are just making it worse. Resist the urge, because there is a better way. Here’s how to avoid and fix tangles once and for all:


Go For A Wide-Tooth Comb On Wet Hair

Combing through wet hair requires a wide-tooth tool to avoid pulling on your hair strands and to promote the even distribution of conditioner. Anthony Nader, hairstylist to celebs like Miranda Kerr and Cate Blanchett, advises always combing through from the tips of your hair first, then making your way up slowly. Work in small sections to avoid creating more tangles.

Try: Swissco Tortoise Wet Comb Wide Tooth Comb, $11.99, Amazon

Adapt Your Shower Routine

“Always finish by doing a rinse out with cold water to seal the cuticle,” says hairstylist Jonathan Mason, who has worked with Cosmopolitan, Nylon and Shape magazines. “This holds the hair in place to prevent frizz and future knots.”

Or Better Yet, Go Comb-Free

Mason also points to your fingers being the easiest, most gentle tools to use when blow drying your strands. Comb your fingers from the roots downward to prevent tangles from forming.

Blot, don't rub

Like we mentioned in our quest for the perfect blow-out, Nader says that rubbing or wrapping up your hair in a towel is not a good idea. Blot instead, he says. “Blotting your hair dry is safer, as you’re not roughing up the hair cuticle, which leads to knots.”

Get it Cut Regularly

Split ends are one of the biggest contributors to knots, says Mason. “Making sure your ends are maintained will keep them in check — especially for colored hair. Dye can weaken the cuticle and make it more susceptible to splitting again and getting tangled up.”

Change Your Sleep Style

“Invest in a silk pillowcase,” says Mason. “They are much gentler on the hair than cotton and will prevent knots forming.” Or, he suggests, style your hair up in a braid or bun before sleeping.

Try: Feeling Pampered 100% Silk Facial Beauty Pillowcase, $24.99, Amazon


Try a Wig Brush

One of Mason’s favorite tricks is to use a wig brush when your wet or dry hair is full of tangles, sprayed with a lightweight conditioner. “Wig brushes have metal prongs which guide the hair through the brush without straining or causing damage.”

Try: Brittny Professionals Wig Brush, $6.94, Amazon

For Extreme Situations, Reach for Leave-In Conditioner

In the case of near dreadlocks, Nader recommends stepping back and loading up on a leave-in conditioner or a dime size amount of creamy conditioner and letting the product absorb for a few minutes first. “Then lightly brush through from ends to roots again to gently detangle.”

Try: It's a 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin, $12.45, Amazon

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Image: Polina Nefidov /