How To Detangle Major Hair Tangles
Photo by arteunporro
Amalah! Congratulations on the birth of Ezra! I hope you and your family are well.
OK, so as the subject heading of this e-mail would indicate, my sex life is ruining my hair. Amy, I have perfect hair. It is long and straight and silky and chocolate brown and it never ever gives me any trouble other than the fact that it is sometimes greasy. But, with the use of Oscar Blondi powder dry shampoo stuff, I can usually get away with washing it every other day. (Except for my bangs. I wash my bangs everyday in the shower because Huge Oil Slick Forehead dictates it). Seriously. It is perfect hair. When people compliment it and say “You have great hair,” instead of being gracious and saying “Thank you,” I am a huge narcissistic jerk and say “I know.”
Anyway, after being single for about a year, I have a newish boyfriend. He is amazing. I think I might be falling in love with him. The sex is amazing. There is a lot of it lately and uh, all that time, um, onmyback, is not helping my perfect hair. When I get up, there is a huge HUGE knotted mess in the back of my hair. Like I said, my hair is long (it comes about halfway down my back) and straight and stays pretty nice using Kiehls’ Olive Oil hair pack a few times a week. I only brush it when I’m blow drying it. Usually no need for a detangler. Which I’ve thought of buying but, uh, won’t that make it greasy if I use it on dry hair? And then I’ll have to wash it more? Which I kind of don’t want to do because won’t washing it more on top of all the knotting and combing and detangling damage it more? Right now I’m just sort of combing through all the knots as gently as possible but I cringe thinking about BREAKAGE! All that BREAKAGE! And was sort of hoping you had some ideas.
(And yeah, I know, poor me, getting laid and having lots of knots in my hair. I should probably just SHUT UP ALREADY.)
So technically, I’m having the same problem, with the big knotty tangles. Although my tangles are because I spend my days with a short fat bald male who demands constant access to mah boobs, so I wear hoodies almost every day and for some reason the underside of my hair gets really, really tangled from rubbing against the fabric of the hood.
But let’s just say it’s the same problem as yours. Totally.
There’s an art to de-knotting major hair knots, and it can be done with little to no breakage, IF you are very patient and use the right tools. Do NOT attempt it while your hair is dry — ’tis futile. But at the same time, don’t start attacking knots while your hair is sopping wet either — too delicate, too much breakage. There’s a sweet spot for this, when your hair is just slightly damp.
You could technically use a spray bottle of water to dampen your hair, but I prefer leaving knots alone until after I’ve showered and conditioned it thoroughly. Brush your hair before you shower — small knots become BIG knots in the shower — taking care to not yank directly on any major tangles, but still getting as much hair around the knot free and combed out. Shampoo your roots, condition the ends and any clumpy tangles you feel, use a towel to absorb excess moisture WITHOUT turbaning.
Let your hair air dry to the point of “just damp.” Then use a wide-tooth comb to gently comb as much hair free from the tangle as possible. When you get down to the worst of it, spray or rub some detangler or leave-in conditioner on your hands and then massage the tangle. Get it really good and coated with product. (I use Catwalk’s Fast Fixx, which is really light and not greasy.) Then work it with the comb again, starting below the knot. If you feel resistance, stop and pull the comb out — you want to avoid getting the comb’s teeth directly engaged with the knot. Just keep combing all around and below and sooner or later the knot will disappear. It usually takes me about 10 minutes of gentle combing to eventually get it all out, and with the right stage of dampness and enough detangler (and patience) I never have to actually cut the knot out.
Is there a way to avoid the tangles before they happen? Well, in your…uh…situation, probably not 100%, unless you want to braid your hair ahead of time. Not the sexiest of looks, but a long single braid will protect your hair to a decent degree. Regular use of a lightweight detangler/leave-in conditioner will help, and no, it shouldn’t make your hair greasy. If it does, it’s just not a good one. Look for one (like the Fast Fixx) that specifically says you can use it on wet or dry hair.
And brush that perfect hair a little more often. Tangles beget tangles, and you can avoid the Big Ones by getting rid of the Little Baby Ones. Brush it thoroughly before going to bed (for sleeping or sexing) and before you shower, at a bare minimum. Shedding hair IS normal, and getting rid of the no-longer-growing hairs on a regular basis actually helps keep your hair and scalp in a healthy, not-knotty balance. So don’t avoid brushing your hair just because seeing hair on the brush afterwards unnerves you.
Published February 16, 2009.
Last updated February 16, 2009.