Feeling frustrated with your tangled hair? You’re not going through snarl struggles solo. We asked several stylists why hair becomes tangled and how to keep your hair tangle free.
So if you suffer from tangled texture, read the tips below for silky smooth strands.
The Real Underlying Cause of Tangled Hair
No one likes having a head full of tangled hair. Those knots are the reason many of us take measures into our own hands and bring out the scissors. But before taking that drastic measure, find out what causes the hair to tangle in the first place. It happens when the outer layer of your hair, the cuticle, becomes damaged and opens up. Unlike a healthy cuticle, which is smooth and closed, the open layers of the cuticle become snagged on each other, resulting in tangles and knots in your hair, leaving you frustrated and considering picking up the scissors. The more damaged the cuticle is, the worse the tangles.
A damaged cuticle is caused by a variety of these factors.
Heat: If you use heat tools, such as blow dryers, straighteners, curling rods, on your hair regularly, you’ll experience split ends more frequently, as they eliminate the moisture in your hair. Excessive sun exposure can have the same damaging effect. Be sure to protect your hair and avoid potential tangles by using a heat protectant or wear a hat or bandana when outside for long periods of time.
Chemicals: Another way to harm your hair is by exposing it to extreme chemicals, such as bleach, hair dye or other hair products with harsh chemicals.
Not washing your hair properly: It is possible to overwash your hair and strip it of its natural oils. Instead, don’t wash your hair every day and use a gentle, natural shampoo free of sulfates and parabens. When you do wash your hair, massage shampoo on your scalp and use conditioner on the ends of your hair.
Using your towel vigorously: When you hop out of the shower, squeeze the water out of your strands or pat it dry instead of tying it up with a towel. If you do leave your hair tied up in a towel, be sure to brush it out first.
Genetics: Some people have a condition (sometimes inherited) called trichorrhexis nodosa that causes the nodes around your hair shaft to grow thicker or weaker than usual and the hair to break more easily. It also could also be caused by iron deficiency, hypothyroidism or too much ammonia in the body.
Lack of moisture: An absence of moisture in your mane leads to the weakening of your strands and increase of split ends and tangled hair. Always moisturize your hair if you’re tangle prone, says TRESemmé Celebrity Stylist Jeanie Syfu. No matter what your hair type is, never skip on conditioning the ends, she advises.
Additionally, you may experience tangled hair more often if:
- You don’t brush your hair throughout the day
- You sleep with your hair down
- You have super thick and curly hair
- You have long and fine hair
How to Prevent Tangled Hair
Brushing your hair before bedtime is a great way to start avoiding tangles. Avoid abrasive brushes and use a wide-tooth comb instead to detangle your hair. Also, consider styling your hair differently throughout the week, so you’re not repeatedly stressing the same area of your hair and potentially damaging it.
Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase causes your hair to rub against the material, so before going to bed, make a braid to protect it and minimize friction. When your hair rubs against a cotton pillowcase, moisture is drawn out of it, making it dry and causing it to easily get tangled.
Don’t shower with your tangles, as it can be even more painful to detangle wet hair and make it more prone to breakage. Instead, use a detangler product pre-shower to help eliminate extreme tangles. Rinse with cool water before jumping out of the shower, which will seal the cuticle and works wonders for a tangle-free life.
If your hair still feels dry after a shower, leave in your conditioner to get extra moist and smooth hair. Or consider applying a hair mask to your damaged hair. In fact, doing a hair mask once a week for 30 minutes will turn your damaged hair into healthy hair. Masks can help restore moisture and other nutrients to your hair. You should also let your hair air dry as often as possible. Skip the blow dryer whenever you can to prevent damage.
If you get tangles from too much product in your hair, put a couple drops of light hair oil or a similar detangling product and brush through the damaged area in order to break down the product and soften up the hair.
Take Down Your Tangles
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Photos: Paul Scott via Flickr
John Richardson via Flickr