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View Full Version : Giant Tangle - Help!!!



JamieLeigh
March 19th, 2010, 05:25 PM
All the search results I've weeded through tell how to PREVENT tangles in the long run, not how to get a large tangle out.

My friend is having a horrible time, she's got a huge knot in her hair. I would estimate her hair to be about hip-length and 2b/ii. She normally doesn't use conditioner, just sulfate-free shampoo.

Here is what she says: It's near the head :( on the top side..it is massive..I tried everything..gentle combing with wide tooth comb and coconut oil, needle to seperate..impossible to divide that knot into smaller pieces..now my scalp is hurting like hell after my friend tried for 2 hours and she pulled it too much. I'm out of my mind.

It's nothing sticky or foreign, just hair knotted up on itself. She's tried conditioner, using a wide toothed comb, and coming at it from the bottom, one hair at a time instead of from the top, pulling it apart.

I really don't know how to help her, as I've never had any major matting occur in my length. :( Any suggestions on how to get out a huge hair snag?

IndigoAsh
March 19th, 2010, 05:30 PM
that totally sucks!!! I used to get mats a lot, it was so bad, they were so huge. It would take my husband and I over an hour to untangle it. What we did to speed up our endeavor and not rip my hair apart was to basically bathe it in oil and work it apart. It'll take some time and she might need an extra pair of gentle hands, but it can be undone. I know for me afterwords the hairs would be kind of frazzled looking so I'd just brush it out after we got the tangles/mats undone and I'd wear it in a bun or braid for a couple of days to kind of reshape the hairs.

deviantkitten
March 19th, 2010, 05:30 PM
My only suggestion is to go out and buy some detangler
I would have said coconut oil or condish, but you said she tried that already. Did she ge her gair wet, then put condish on the knot? That may help? Maybe???

rach
March 19th, 2010, 05:37 PM
vinegar rinse might help (close up the hair shaft) so the hair stands are less grippy and try after untangling the hair with finger combing under water.

well coned conditioners too maybe?

hope some of that might be of some use.
hopes she recovers from this . With that much hair thats quite a tangle.

DragonLady
March 19th, 2010, 05:37 PM
She may be forced to cut the mat open to work on it. :(

I'd tell her to buy a kid's detangler spray, and let it soak in real good before trying to seperate the biggest part with fingers or maybe a hair stick. Then, slowly try to pull it apart into smaller sections that can be combed.

chargersfan
March 19th, 2010, 05:38 PM
I used to get knots like that on the underside of my hair when it was longer. The only thing I could do was cut them out. :( I tried e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. It's one of the reasons I joined this board - to prevent them to begin with, so I can learn to grow my hair long w/out getting those kinds of knots.

ravenreed
March 19th, 2010, 05:47 PM
I have cut more than one of those out of my hair over the years. I use a slippy conditioner to prevent just that problem.

MandyBeth
March 19th, 2010, 05:56 PM
First - DO NOT put water on it. Water will just make it mat up more, it tightens the matting. What about straight oil or silicone serum? Slather it in, soak the mat really well and let it work into the knot a bit. My mom used olive oil, simply because we had it on hand, and it worked.

Second - If you can not pick it apart - take cuticle or hair cutting scissors and start from the bottom to trim a very few hairs (like 2) at a time to see if that loosens up the tangle. Obviously cuticle scissors are NOT good for hair due to risk of fraying the cut - but they have an itty bitty tiny point and are small enough to actually only cut a hair or two at the time. It should eventually loosen the knot once you cut the right hairs, but it may be a pretty significant chunk.

Third - when trying to loosen the matting - hold between the mat and the scalp, it'll help not pull on the scalp so hard. You can also try wiggling a comb behind it if it's too tight to get a hold on.

Fourth - With help (and it will take a long time!), take a sewing needle and under light, slowly pick out the top layer from the bottom edge.

Five - for professional help - if you can find anyone who puts in good cornrow braids, they may have some tricks towards getting tangles out, since I know if I braid my own hair into lots of braids, it's fussy to pick out.

ETA - VERY IMPORTANT PART....

Carefully section out the hair that is NOT tangled. Put that into a few braids, whatever doesn't pull on the scalp. Thus keeping it out of the way so that those strands do not want to join into the tangle.

Once it's braided so more hair will not join in - soak it in the conditioner or oil or product of choice. Put a soft band in a few inches lower so it doesn't pull, and braid the lower section - thus hopefully keeping it from pulling up more length into the knotting. Then take the braid out before untangling.

Now that it's soaked and the rest of the hair is out of the way - sit and let the oil/whatever soak into the mat and leave it alone. If a cool pack feels good, do so carefully - or if something slightly warm feels good - again, carefully. Try some NSAIDS to help with the scalp being irritated and inflammed from the pulling. And try to just not mess with it. The rest of the hair being out of the way won't get tangled, and the scalp will enjoy the break, and the oil will get more into the knot.

Mother tested method - worked on our evil knots growing up, tho' the longest of our hairs was probably BSL ish.

JamieLeigh
March 19th, 2010, 06:09 PM
Thank you guys so much! She's extremely upset, says her hair is her life. I know some of us can understand that statement!! Lol. She is a not a member here, she just lurks. She says she can't ever think of anything good to say in these boards. :)

Pagancat
March 19th, 2010, 06:26 PM
http://www.hardwareworld.com/3-IN-1-Silicone-Spray-Lubricant-11-Oz-Spray-p9W79PM.aspx

Silicone spray lubricant will lubricate anything. Sound gross, I know, to put lubricant on your hair, but if your friend is desperate I'd give this a try. I used it to detangle a huge knot in a necklace and it worked great. It will make anything sllppery!

JamieLeigh
March 19th, 2010, 06:29 PM
http://www.hardwareworld.com/3-IN-1-Silicone-Spray-Lubricant-11-Oz-Spray-p9W79PM.aspx

Silicone spray lubricant will lubricate anything. Sound gross, I know, to put lubricant on your hair, but if your friend is desperate I'd give this a try. I used it to detangle a huge knot in a necklace and it worked great. It will make anything sllppery!

I've actually tried this on gum that was stuck in my husband's hair, it was something his dad recommended, and it worked for that. I'll pass this along, thanks! :)

ravenreed
March 19th, 2010, 06:32 PM
I so don't have the patience to do this! Which is probably why I just cut them out.

Plus I find that if my hair has been knotted up badly, it stays crimped and likes to grab onto other hairs and try to reknot... However my hair has 'personality,' and tends to be hard to deal with sometimes.


First - DO NOT put water on it. Water will just make it mat up more, it tightens the matting. What about straight oil or silicone serum? Slather it in, soak the mat really well and let it work into the knot a bit. My mom used olive oil, simply because we had it on hand, and it worked.

Etc ...snip

MandyBeth
March 19th, 2010, 07:10 PM
My hair likes to tangle up with it's neighbors also. Tho' I never really wanted long hair growing up - didn't dislike, just didn't want to sit still long enough to manage it. More with my sisters who loved having long tangly hair and would tolerate the picking out of tangles. Usually works better with some more helping hands I think.

When Ty cut his locs off, I made him let me try this on the ends first - talk about a knotted mess then! Took a good hour to make a dent in one, but yes, most knots CAN eventually be undone. Tho' for long term care afterwards, well, he shaved his head, so can't tell you on that.

I can rather quickly snip and pick apart a Great Pyrenees coat, but that was done to get rid of the mat so we could shave the dog. But that way cut out a LOT of hair, so it's a lot faster, but you'll lose a section. But I can give details if wanted.

Ursula
March 19th, 2010, 07:27 PM
I find it sometimes helps, with a large tangle, to use my fingers to gently separate the tangle into sections, as if dividing the hair to part it. Using the fingers is important because you want to feel how the tangle wants to separate, and work with it. As the tangle is broken into several smaller tangles, they eventually become combable.

Sylvanas
March 19th, 2010, 07:37 PM
My friend uses fabric softner to comb out her dreads. Apparently it gives great slip. I'd read the label first though, to check for any harmful ingredients. From personal experience I'd recommend vinegar rinse and waiting for the hair to dry before combing. Splitting the knot up into smaller sections is also very helpful if it can be done. At any rate - be prepared to lose some hair, but don't worry; it'll probably look a lot worse than what it really is :)

Ursula
March 19th, 2010, 07:40 PM
It is worth remembering that a tangle will hold shed hairs. So if you see hairs coming out of the tangle, it is not necessarily breakage or damage, it is likely to be naturally shed hairs that could not fall away.

Brat
March 19th, 2010, 08:51 PM
They sell stuff at feed stores for horses, forget the name of it, but it is specifically made to detangle manes and tails... might help?

Rhiannon7
March 20th, 2010, 05:19 AM
I got them alot, in the exact same spot as your friends has the knot. had to cut them out since Nothing worked for me. but now when i do get a big knot i simply apply alot of almond oil, wet the hair thoroughly, put condish on it and alot of oil and slowly use fingers and hair stick to untangle the knot, then either wash the hair detangle wet and allow to air dry. or if it too late at night to wash, i braid and wash in the morning.

She might need an extra pair of hands to detangle, it always helps when someone else does this but it will take time to detangle that knot. hope this problem is fixed soon.

piratejenny23
March 20th, 2010, 11:34 AM
i have read that fabric softener is used for tangles in both dog grooming and wig styling...a few days ago i was reading about detanglers and ended up on an equestrian site, where WD-40 was recommended (as well as "Cowboy Magic" and several other brands of detanglers).

these may not be substances anyone would want on their hair on a daily basis, but for emergencies--well worth a try!

if your friend needs to rest her scalp and/or arms from the detangling task, i recommend using a sock or stocking "condom" to separate the tangle and keep it from picking up any other hairs. cut the toe out of a sock and slide it over the section of hair, using a barrette or elastic to secure it at the top. this way she can go about her day without losing ground.

a technique i use when faced with a bad snarl is to hold the tangle in one hand while with the other i grasp a few hairs--or even just one hair at a time--above the knot (between knot and scalp) and try to work them free. sometimes half or more of the strands are not really knotted at all, just caught in the middle or wrapped around a bit. with this method i have narrowed down a palm-sized mat to only 2 or 3 hairs that had to be snipped!

amongst the 12 or more detanglers that i have tried, John Frieda's "radiant red color envy daily sealer" has been the most effective. while it's not really marketed as a detangler at all, it's very very slippy and really smooths out every strand.

best of luck to your friend!

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 05:00 PM
Hello everyone :)

This is my very first post here. I happen to be Jamie's friend, the lady that had a MASSIVE know in her hair. It really was that bad, and had the texture/thickness of a STONE. It was horrible, and has given me a couple of restless nights.

Fortunately, I went to see a hairdresser yesterday, just across the road from my place. It was odd considering I do not normally trust hairdressers, yet the guy I spoke to seemd kind, so I let him have a go. He must have spent nearly 2 hours, after that the giant knot was gone. He had to cut a tiny amount, but it is not noticeable by anyone but my own eyes.

I wanted to thank everyone so so much for their contributions. I really love this forum, you all seem so supportive. And thanks ever so much Jamie for caring about my hair like it was yours. You are amazing.

TiaKitty
March 21st, 2010, 05:15 PM
Good to hear it's solved! I am curious, how did you get a knot like that in the back of your hair? Are you curly?

My daughter is very curly, and she gets frequent mats. Some I cut out, and others I can get out by picking them apart. She hates it and so do I.

When Santa brought her a satin pillowcase, most of her matting disappeared!

I hope you have a satin pillow case, or would try one in the future to try to avoid this catastrophe again!

PineappleJello
March 21st, 2010, 05:16 PM
So good to hear that everything worked out, I was just looking for this forum to see if there had been any progress made on it :)

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 05:56 PM
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it :)

Welll it has happened for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a friend of mine (Asian guy with hair to his knees) told me that the best lesson he's learnt, hair-care-wise, was to not fiddle with it to much, to the extent of not combing it for a week. Secondly, last Sunday, I knew that my upcoming week would be really hectic, with no time to eat, and only time for a daily shower. So I thought, why not trying what my friend suggested. I then combined my hair into a single braid, and left it without touching it for nearly a week. When I removed it, I had to rush out for an errand, and it was extremely windy here in London. Then I went home and feel asleep. The following morning, the 'stone' was in my hair..there was nothing stuck on to it, just the length of my hair that become a massive knot. I was horrified, and dare I say, tried almost everything that was suggested in this thread. I also had a friend over, who wanted to help, and put the know in a pot of warm water..I then read it was not recommended to put it in water..and indeed...it was then even tighter, so I was so upset.

I have cotton pillowcases actually, are satin ones any better?

Has any of you ever been through phases when you did not comb your hair everyday, and if so did you have a similar problem?

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 05:58 PM
Oh I have very straight hair btw. Are curly hair more prone to mats?

Isilme
March 21st, 2010, 06:48 PM
Glad it worked out! Start using conditioner and use a satin/silk pillowcase! It's all about preventing tangles and slippery fabric is the best.
Have you read the newbie's beginner guide? It helps a lot:)
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=39
ETA. this guide is also good for preventing tangles since splits and tangles have so many causes in common
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=8

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 06:57 PM
tak sa mycket :)

I'll check that out. Why do you reckon that split and tangles are related? I do not actually have a lot of split-ends.

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 07:02 PM
Also Isilme, do you dye your hair? I have dyed mine, and now miss my natural hair color. So I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to how to do that. My original hair colour is now reaching my forehead, and the rest of my hair is lighter. I would like to find a colorist that will dye the rest of my hair in a colour matching my natural colour, quite visible thanks to my significat regrowth. But I would not do it if it dries it, so I do not want any bleach pplied to my hair. Thanks so much once again :)

Isilme
March 21st, 2010, 07:18 PM
They are not always related, but often. Splits look like this: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=79 I would compare that to velcro, and we all know that velcro likes to grab things unfortunately.

Yes, I dye my hair with henna and sometimes I add a semi permanent dye called special effects. Henna is wonderful for your hair if you like red and the fact that it's very permanent (or you can mix it with indigo and get black) henna tightens the cuticle and generally makes your hair stronger. And it gives amazing shine and a fabulous flare of red/orange in the sun that makes it seem like your hair is on fire:) What colour is your hair naturally, red?
Here is a good article about henna that our fabulous Nightshade has written.
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=7
Oh, and it's nice to read someone writing swedish!:D

Anna-Rapunzel
March 21st, 2010, 07:29 PM
aw I love Swedish, and Norwegian :) we could write it, though we need to be understood by others :D

Henna seems fantastic! and your hair looks amazing! Do you go to a hairdresser to apply that henna?

Naturally my hair is a medium brown, with some natural lighter highlights. And the dye is a dark blonde. So I am unsure what I could do to dye the part of my hair that is not showing my natural hair color.

TiaKitty
March 21st, 2010, 07:40 PM
:D Yeppers... satin pillow cases are the way to go if you don't want the back of the head snarls from sleeping.

I think curly hair does mat and tangle more than straight or wavy hair. That's just my opinion, thoug!

I have to brush my hair every day, usually twice a day, in the morning and before bed. Sometimes I brush it more, but only if it is kind of freaking me out by touching me or just feeling tangly.

I don't think you should try that experiment again!!! It might work for your friend's hair, but not everyone's hair is the same...

There's lots of great advice and product information here. If you have time to wander, check it all out. Lots of helpful people, too!:p

satindesire
March 21st, 2010, 07:56 PM
Asian hair has a different texture than Caucasian hair. So really, taking his hair care tips as what you should do for your own hair isn't advisable. I strongly suggest that you brush your hair at LEAST once a day to avoid tangles...Hopefully this won't happen again! ^_^ I'm super happy that you got your tangle out! Kudos to the hairstylist that helped you! :D

LoveMyLongHair
March 21st, 2010, 08:03 PM
They sell stuff at feed stores for horses, forget the name of it, but it is specifically made to detangle manes and tails... might help?

Cowboy Magic detangler is what I think you are thinking of, and yes, it does an awesome job. We sometimes have used WD-40 on knotted manes and tails in a pinch

lydiajo
March 21st, 2010, 09:31 PM
My daughter is very curly, and she gets frequent mats.
I hope you have a satin pillow case, or would try one in the future to try to avoid this catastrophe again!

My daughter has the same problem. Her hair is fine and straight. It becomes almost felted. I am making her a satin case to see if it helps.

Brat
March 21st, 2010, 10:20 PM
Cowboy Magic detangler is what I think you are thinking of, and yes, it does an awesome job. We sometimes have used WD-40 on knotted manes and tails in a pinch

Cowboy Magic, that's it, thanks! :cheese:


Glad the knot is gone, I might have just gotten frustrated and cut it out!

Sorus
March 22nd, 2010, 07:59 PM
Wow, so much great info here! I'm glad the knot in question was removed with minimal cutting.

I have occasional problems with mats at my nape, usually when I leave braids in for too long. I have a satin pillowcase, but they still happen if a braid stays in for more than 24 hours. However, since discovering L'Oreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture getting them out hasn't been a problem. I also oil well with coconut if I'm going to leave them in for a long time.

JamieLeigh
March 24th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Thanks you guys for being on top of things and responding so quickly! :flower:

And welcome Anna-Rapunzel!! Didn't I tell you you'd LOVE this place? :crush: