View Full Version : Sister's fine hair...TANGLES (pic heavy)

December 27th, 2012, 11:59 PM
As several of you know, I have a 15 year old sister whose hair I take care of. It's not that she doesn't want to, it's that she needs help from me at times to treat her hair as delicately as possible. She wants to grow her hair to her ankles, and I'm not only a very devoted older sister, but a long hair lover (of course!), so I gladly help her with her hair as much as possible and as much as she needs me. I do a lot of research for her hair type, as we have extremely different hair, and teach her about her own type to the best of my ability, and we learn together what works for her. She has mid-back length hair, ii, very fine, 1b.
This is her hair:

She doesn't wear her hair down much because of the mechanical damage. However, on Christmas, she wanted to treat herself by wearing it down and showing it off, which I agreed was perfectly fine. However, at the end of the day when we sat down to braid it for bed:

We FINALLY got it all combed out... an hour later.

This was literally just from wearing her hair down for a few hours during our family Christmas. She wasn't running around and playing, she just sat and opened presents and visited with family. I don't understand how this could have happened. How do we prevent this, and does this mean she can NEVER wear her hair down without this horror mess?

Any and all replies are appreciated, I hope everyone is doing well.
Also, please direct me to any relevant threads. I looked through the thin/fine hair thread for a couple hours and also through some other threads about baby fine hair and tangling, but I have yet to see anything that is quite like hers.

Thanks all!

December 28th, 2012, 12:06 AM
Oh my goodness! I'd be terrified if that happened to my hair. At first I thought I had a similar hairtype to her but I've never had THAT happen. I think hers is finer than mine (it's also longer).

I would suggest trying coconut oil or a good leave in conditioner (I use Toadstool Soaps'). Both things have kept my hair relatively tangle-free.

December 28th, 2012, 12:26 AM
My hair is more coarse than her's so I don't think I can be much help. Sorry :( . My hair does tangle easily but usually just the hair around the nape of my neck and my face framing layers. It's annoying but it's not as bad as your sister's :( Awh, I feel bad for her. On another note. OHMYGOODNESS!!! Her hair when it's not tangled looks like a sheet of gold! So shiny and smooth!!!!

December 28th, 2012, 12:41 AM
First: Her hair is absolutely lovely, please pass along my compliments!

Second: I feel her pain. My hair does the same thing. When she was wearing it down while sitting around and opening presents with family, was she careful to bring it around to the front when she sat back against the chair? That's what will do it for me. If I lean back against my hair when it's down (or braided, really. Okay, any time I lean against it) any small movements I make (I'm a major fidgeter and squirmer) cause the hairs to rub against each other, which results in them turning into a giant matted mess.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a solution other than be VERY aware of where your hair is when you wear it down. My hair is classic now, and combined with having extremely narrow shoulders, it's hard to not be aware of it when it's down for me. Anytime I lean over for anything it falls forward, so I always have an extra hand to hold it out of the way, or I'll tie it up in a quick knot for a few seconds while I do something with my hands (that knot only lasts for about 15 seconds before my super-slippery hair escapes. How can it be so slick but tangle so bad??). Whenever I set down anywhere I either bring it forward over my shoulder to pool in my lap, or, depending on who I'm around, I'll drape it over the back of the chair. This doesn't work as well if you're going to be leaning forward a lot, though, as it'll then end up falling behind your back again. Also, some people find it odd, which is why I pretty much only do it at home while my hair is drying.
The other thing is that finger-comb obsessively while it's down to try to minimize the build-up of tangles. This is, again, something to be careful of in mixed company as some people find it very rude to continually "groom" yourself in public. Around my family and friends I don't worry at all, and that's mostly the only time I wear it down.

I'm sorry she ended up with such a big snarl after her day of wearing it down. It IS possible to wear fine hair down, it's just a little more work. I hardly ever do for that reason, but occasionally when I want to look nice I'll let it flow. If something like that happens again, I've found it much easier to comb out tangles like that in the shower (with my fingers, obviously, not with a brush) while it's slathered with the cone-iest conditioner I can get my hands on. The silicone provides a little extra slip.

I don't know how I had any hair left when I joined LHC. I used to wear my hair down all of the time and it ended up looking way worse than that by the end of the day, every day, so I'd just rip a brush through it and call it good. My poor hair! Learning to care for it has been so rewarding though. I'm on my way to my knees now and have never looked back!

December 28th, 2012, 12:52 AM
Yes, do pass on that her hair is very pretty!!!
It does look like gold.
I wish I knew more to help I am not a super finey so I don't exactly know. There are good ideas here.. Coney conditioners, maybe pick up a nice leave in or start using an oil to weigh it down slightly. My hair loves a mixture of castor oil and coconut oil. A true finey might come along and say my advice is terribly horrid though. I guess everyone is different. Anyway, The castor oil and coconut oil soaks up so fast and nice it does not even leave it oily or heavy. Its all about the amount you use (as I'm sure you know)You should get her a tangle teezer [if you like them/think she would like it and use it]
I am sure that you have told her how to carefully and gently brush out the tangle too. Its all trial and error..I hope she finds something to help it along and also get to her goal some day!

December 28th, 2012, 12:59 AM

I have fine hair, and this seems to work for me. It doesn't eliminate end tangling, but by keeping the hair in some sort of order, it seems to reduce those really serious, "deep" tangles. Sometimes I get tangles when actually putting this hairstyle in, as it's easy for the "top" hair to combine with the "bottom", though I've never tried the clip method outlined on that page, which could help with this issue by keeping it out of the way. I'm going to experiment with using a very short braid (2 crossovers each side) instead of a ponytail underneath -- this might be easier to do on another person so it could be something for you to try.

ETA: Whoa, I've always done this with a ponytailer but the pictures actually show a clip used. This could work better as it might be easier to keep the top and bottom sections separate!

Good luck as she has beautiful hair! :D

December 28th, 2012, 01:13 AM
Hmm you said she was sitting down for most of the day. I have fine hair myself and to me it looks like that's just from her leaning back against a chair and having her hair rubbed between the chair and her back.
I'm sure if she just keeps her hair over her shoulder while it's out or makes a point to sit away from the back of the chair her hair will be fine.

December 28th, 2012, 01:53 AM
My hair does that too!!! I'm a 1a II F, and I rarely wear my hair down because it gets so super tangled! I get big mats in the back of my hair if I wear a turtleneck, I hate it. I agree with what's already been said, pull hair forward over a shoulder if sitting back in a chair, finger comb the inside/back of the hair once in a while, avoid extra hair movement and flipping. I haven't noticed a difference in matting vs different products I've used. Your sister has the most beautiful hair, I hope she can find something that works for her so she can wear her hair down now and then!

December 28th, 2012, 02:16 AM
My hair gets like that if I wear my hair down while wearing a shirt with a hood or collar. Even coarse fabrics and most sweaters tend to just roll my hair around into little knots, then roll the little knots around into big knots, and so on. Winter is not a good time for wearing hair down. The seat back is another likely culprit. Again the coarseness of the fabric plays a part. My parents have two sofas in their house, and I always sit on the uncomfortable one nobody likes because it is smooth and much more hair-friendly; the comfy sofa is chenille, which also likes to grab my hair.

You could try some detanglers and see if you can find something that works, but it really is a bit of a learning curve she'll have to go through if she intends to grow her hair very long. It's amazing what a difference bringing your hair over your shoulder can make, especially if you're shifting around a lot. And even in situations where finger-combing in public would be frowned upon, you can usually manage to sneak off to the loo for a few minutes and do some quick finger-combing while there. It's a good way to find tangles early, and even if you can't get them all out then and there, you can be aware and try to keep it from getting any bigger.

December 28th, 2012, 02:18 AM
Thank you so much for all the replies, I have passed on the compliments. I guess only spending another day with her hair down will really tell us what works, but at least we now have something to work with and some hope! It's always good to know that she isn't alone.

December 28th, 2012, 03:31 AM
I have seen women who always have a comb with them and will get up every couple of hours to comb their hair (in the washroom ofcourse not in the middle of the sitting room!). I have decided to give it a try myself since their hair always looks perfect!

Maybe something similar would work for your sister's hair :)

Also yes your sister's hair is gorgeous!! It looks like something out of a fairytale.

December 28th, 2012, 05:04 AM
My hair gets like that if I wear my hair down while wearing a shirt with a hood or collar. Even coarse fabrics and most sweaters tend to just roll my hair around into little knots, then roll the little knots around into big knots, and so on. Winter is not a good time for wearing hair down.

This would be my guess, too. From the pictures it looks like it's just the underside that got so horrifically tangled. Perhaps the top she was wearing was particularly hair unfriendly. She still has beautiful hair, though.

December 28th, 2012, 05:57 AM
I used to have mats like that when I still used to henna (it somehow made my hair dry and more porous). Bleach did it too. Same thing. Regular hair dye: fine, but henna and bleach: terrible.

I suggest getting her a Tangle Teezer if you haven't already. It gets tiny knots out of my hair without pain or problems. It's especially important when someone else combs and brushes your hair.

December 28th, 2012, 06:48 AM
The same thing happens to me, and all the advice I've seen on here works for me as well. I also use a pretty heavy coney serum and concentrate on the underside of my hair if I'm wearing it down (since that's the part that tangles easiest). It also tangles MUCH less if I wear something woven, especially anything with a satin weave. If I'm wearing anything knitted, the hair goes up. Of course, when it's cold, that's all you want to wear. sparrowspring is spot on, winter isn't a great time to wear your hair down.:(

December 28th, 2012, 07:16 AM
I'm sorry about the tangling, but wow, your sisters hair is exactly the type of hair I want!! Sooo silky and shiny!! Jealous.

December 28th, 2012, 07:37 AM
I'd say it looks like a combination of what she was wearing and how she was sitting.

I've forgotten how easily or not my hair tangled at that length, but I would occationally get those matted messes. These days I hardly ever wear my hair down if it's not drying after a shower. But if I actually plan on going out with it down I'll either clarify with a SLS shampoo, douse it with balsam or use a coney serum of some sort.

December 28th, 2012, 08:28 AM
I agree with the clothing thing. I get that much more in the winter due to wearing wool or fleece-type clothing around my neck. The matting tends to start at the nape and work its way down gathering more hair in it if I don't finger comb the nape area frequently and keep it placed over one shoulder.

December 28th, 2012, 08:28 AM
This is exactly what happens to me also. I'd agree with another poster saying bring the hair forward over the shoulders, I just divide my hair and let it hang loose by my bra. I've found its not even chairs, it's usually from rubbing against clothing and slight tuns of the head that make the hair dred itself. Using no leave in, or leave in that wont attract lint is key, lint is a b**ch for tangles, even lovely oils for sealing are out of the question for me because of lint. Just those alone reduced tangles by half, using rinses such at catnip etc took the problem down to a 3rd of what it was and the rest i just manage with styling choices (uniform 1 direction curls only).

Cones, find out if she loves them or hates them, for many cones are the solution to tangles, since i hit waist and beyond, they are hideous. Also you may find as the hair grows longer the tangle clumps also appear further down, i wont go so far as to say the problem stops, but it definitly occurs less at the roots.

December 28th, 2012, 08:30 AM
Hi! My hair tangles bad since it's fine - although is way more wavy and frizzy/fluffy than your sister's. Until now (my hair is shorter, not even BSL) a smidge of jojoba oil on slightly damp hair worked the best for me... as it dries it becomes very comb-able and less prone to tangling.

P.S. - her hair's AMAZING, it really really looks like spun gold!

December 28th, 2012, 08:33 AM
This looks like my hair, and the same hair type exactly, apart from the colour. Do you find that you can never get the tangles completely gone? To some extent I have given up on mine and I don't know if brushing/combing it so much is even worth the effort, as it seems to cause more damage/make the ends break off. All the end pieces seem to wrap around each other even while I'm brushing and get all bent and weird, it doesn't matter how much I S&D, I just get them constantly. It's only sane when it's in a plait, but it tangles up whilst I'm plaiting it :/. When it's wet or damp it is beyond reason and I cannot leave the house or even get the tangles out with my fingers. Even when it's dry I struggle sometimes to get a tangle teezer through it. Actually, on many occasions when I've run out of time I have been forced to leave the house with huge knots still in the underside of my hair, which I just shove in a messy bun to hide it.

I don't bleach or dye it and haven't done for at least 3 years now, although it's possible there may be some on the ends, but that is all covered by many applications of henna. There is still henna on it but I haven't used henna for about 7 months either. I've never heat treated it at all. I like to wear it down, it feels more comfortable, but it's always a mess and I'm starting to think at BSL onwards it's just not a good idea anymore. Your sister isn't alone with this problem. Oil doesn't seem to help it just makes my hair look disgusting even in very small amounts. I don't really have any advice other than putting it up and for me silicone conditioner helps a bit (without it's even worse). Although honestly detangling in the shower doesn't help as it just tangles up on itself while it's drying and I think messing with it in the shower makes more of it shed. Also, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help if it's a problem overnight.
I'm starting to wonder if it's just this hair type...

December 28th, 2012, 09:56 AM
It appears that your sister is going to need to be vigilant if she wears her hair loose for any period of time. I'd recommend gently detangling it every 2 hours to be on the safe side.

December 28th, 2012, 10:07 AM
I'd suggest some sort of cony product to give the knots a slip and maybe up dos tangle teaser and coconut oil are in order.

December 28th, 2012, 10:18 AM
My hair does that a little, but not quite so badly since henna. The only thing that helped was to drench the underlayer with a coney leave-in. However, my underlayer is still extremely damaged and tangle-prone, so I just keep my wooden comb on hand at all times and rarely leave my hair down for very long.

Also, I have a friend whose hair is very similar to your sister's. Her hair does that even if she's standing up and wearing a silk top (i.e. on stage singing in a choir) :(

December 28th, 2012, 10:55 AM
Nthing everyone else. That's a standard hazard of fine hair. The smoother and sleeker the clothes she wears, the less it will tend to tangle.

Something I haven't seen mentioned is what I think of as "float factor". While my hair looks very straight, flat and limp, it floats around me if it's too short. I'm somewhere between waist and LHC hip right now, and my hair no longer floats up past shoulder level. At all shorter lengths, my hair would float pretty wildly and this would produce tangles. It wouldn't *look* tangled, but oh dear lord would there be tangles. Something as simple as sitting still, with my hair not rubbing on anything, sectioned so I could comb it would leave the "resting" section as tangled as if I hadn't combed at all.

While other people like the look of my hair worn down, I don't like it. I hate tangles and find them horribly unfun. I also hate having hair in my face, and even with short hair my hair floats so much it gets in my face a lot. So for me updos are a welcome relief from things that I hate about my hair.

December 28th, 2012, 11:26 AM
I have the same hair type as your sister. WOW look at those tangles. This happens at the nape of my neck and the ends of my hair too if I am not careful. I think it mostly has to do with her length wearing it down, this doesn't happen to me nearly that bad at APL and I wear it down and in halfups whenever I want to. Very long fine thin hair I can easily see this happening....
She should use cones from the neck down, and a leave-in on the ends either oil or a smoothing serum. I love toadstool leave-in conditioner it's very light and completely eliminates all tangles that a shower cones and comb couldn't even find. It never weighs down my baby fine hair. I really suggest this brand you can find it on etsy and there is a thread about it.

December 28th, 2012, 12:35 PM
I'm another who thinks it is the clothing... wearing something satiny-smooth should help.

The Tangle Teaser is another big help... pick one up if you haven't already. :)

December 28th, 2012, 01:19 PM
My 15 year old sis has the same problem but I think it's just bc she was too lazy to brush her hair... Idk maybe her hair tangles easy though?

December 28th, 2012, 02:11 PM
Looks like the same evil mischief the naughty mess pulls. A Heavy heavy warm oiling and conditioning helped a ton. Also focusing on making sure you condition the underside of the hair and back if the head, that was my biggest bad habit. I use to only worry about the canopy.

December 28th, 2012, 03:48 PM
My hair is very fine like your sister's. Mine doesn't tangle as badly as that, but I did wake up with a small dread at my nape this morning (despite sleep braid and satin pillowcase). 3 things really help with tangling for me: clarifying, S&D, and cones. I really want to stress clarifying. It looks to me like she has a lot of buildup causing the tangling. Lightly coney conditioners are great for me. I like Herbal Essences Hello Hydration for most days and HH Hydralicious when I need extra smoothness and detangling power. I do think her top is part of why it tangled so badly. I agree with the Tangle Teezer recommendations. I have one and it is gentle.

December 28th, 2012, 04:01 PM

I have fine hair, and this seems to work for me. It doesn't eliminate end tangling, but by keeping the hair in some sort of order, it seems to reduce those really serious, "deep" tangles. Sometimes I get tangles when actually putting this hairstyle in, as it's easy for the "top" hair to combine with the "bottom", though I've never tried the clip method outlined on that page, which could help with this issue by keeping it out of the way. I'm going to experiment with using a very short braid (2 crossovers each side) instead of a ponytail underneath -- this might be easier to do on another person so it could be something for you to try.

ETA: Whoa, I've always done this with a ponytailer but the pictures actually show a clip used. This could work better as it might be easier to keep the top and bottom sections separate!

Good luck as she has beautiful hair! :D


I am also beginning to think that I'm the only person on earth that didn't have good luck with the tangle teaser. It pulled and broke hairs just like anything else did for me, plus making my hair SUPER static-y in the process. But it obviously works for everyone else on the planet, so give it a try, lol!

December 28th, 2012, 04:24 PM
My hair does the exact same thing. Even the base of a simple braid will do that. It helps to wear a very slippery fabric if I'm wearing my hair down. But the best solution is to wear it up unless I'm going to be extremely aware of my hair every minute and watch out for it.

My pleasure is in combing my hair out when I take it down, not in having it down.

Oh, and a coney serum helps, too.

December 28th, 2012, 04:58 PM
What sort of coney serum would you all recommend? I'm not sure where to begin.

December 28th, 2012, 08:37 PM
proclaim glossing is a great cheap cone/oil mix serum, if she doesnt like cones then you wont have wasted dollar. a great non cone product is john masters organics citrus and neroli detangler.

December 30th, 2012, 06:41 PM
Where would I find that, or would I have to order it?

December 30th, 2012, 09:00 PM
For serum, I use the IC Fantasia ones (I have several) or my Chi Silk Infusion one.

December 30th, 2012, 09:35 PM
I've used granier fructis triple nutrition spray as well as organix coconut serum. I've also tried organix moroccan oil and silk drops. for a cheaper alternative, a drop of baby oil might do the trick. I use baby oil sometimes for detangling.

December 31st, 2012, 08:23 AM
I have the exact same problem! On Saturday I had my hair up all day, but had to go grocery shopping and I can't drive with my hair up (I have to have my head flat against the head rest) so I took it down. I walked into the grocery store and realized I left my clip in the car! Oh well, did my shopping, drove home. By the time I got home, my hair was in a huge matted mess, and I was only gone an hour! And that was with my hair over my winter coat, which is a slippery material! I so feel her pain!

Her hair looks thicker than mine though. I've tried cones and oils, and it helps to keep the tangling down, but makes my hair look horrible. It's a lose lose situation - hair oiled/coned doesn't tangle but I have to pin it away or hide in my house until I wash it. If I don't use oils/cones, it tangles almost instantly if I keep it down. Just braiding it causes it to tangle!

December 31st, 2012, 08:39 AM
I've been using this one for a year or so: http://www.sephora.com/bamboo-smooth-kendi-oil-pure-treatment-oil-P278003 It's kinda pricey, but a bottle lasts me around 4 months (and it can be found cheaper on ebay).

December 31st, 2012, 05:20 PM
I have very short thin hair but that happens to me.

Your sister has beautiful hair, but if hers is similar to mine, then she would have to keep brushing it once in a while, while having it down. Thats what works for me, plus using a little bit of Moroccan oil after the shower while its drying.

December 31st, 2012, 06:16 PM
My sister's hair does something similar.. but her hair type isn't fine. Unfortunately I have no help to offer.. My sister just rips through the tangled underlayer. Partly why she wants to cut hers shorter.

I personally would try wearing a more silky type top instead of regular t-shirt material and see if that helps. Hope she finds something that will work!