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View Full Version : DESPERATE FOR HELP! with my extremely matted hair!



KellyBaby11
November 5th, 2015, 08:23 AM
Due to being bedridden for months, my hair was severely neglected. My ponytail/bun turned into one big knotty and matted mess. I see this as a loss cause and am willing to chop it off. The only problem is that once I do chop off the ponytail, how do I deal with the matting of the hair that remains (there is matting leading up to and before the ponytail itself) ? Please help me with any recommendationsyou have on products, techniques, remedies, basically I am open to anything that can help! I am absolutely desperate and determined to rectify this situation. Any and all advice or help will be greatly appreciated! :)

I've included some pictures so you can see the gravity of the situation I am in:
The first shows a side view of the bun/ponytail that I'm going to chop off.
The second and third show the extreme matty mess leading up to the ponytail from an
upward angle. As seen by these pictures, I am absolutely desperate for guidance and advice
on how to move forward and rid myself of these matty knots once and for all!

Please help me! Any feedback would be beyond appreciated.

http://s30.postimg.org/3n5wxfsqp/unnamed_2.jpg (http://postimage.org/)

http://s7.postimg.org/n3fa7z74b/unnamed.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
http://s4.postimg.org/kmf4godh9/unnamed_1.jpg (http://postimage.org/)

Freija
November 5th, 2015, 08:31 AM
Don't chop yet! If you're going to cut anyway, you might as well try de-tangling first, to see if you can save any of it, right?

I would carefully take out any pins, grips, etc, and snip out the elastic hairband if it's still there. Then I would wet it and soak it liberally in the slippiest conditioner you can find. Kinky Curly Knot Today is very good. Let it soak in (but cover it in a shower cap so it doesn't dry) for a couple of hours, then try taking a small... if not section, then an edge, and carefully try to work through it from the very bottom up, with your fingers. Every time you get a length free, from root to tip, plait it so that it can't just mat up again. It might take you several sessions over several days, and you'll probably lose some thickness, but I bet you'll be able to save a lot of it.

Nique1202
November 5th, 2015, 08:32 AM
Well if you just cut off the ponytail then the rest of your hair would be uneven anyway, so you'll have to cut out the rest of the matting at the same time. If you're willing to go short, then have somebody trim most of the matted sections by hand then maybe take hair clippers to it with a longish guard to even things up.

Soulina
November 5th, 2015, 08:36 AM
I agree with the above, don't cut yet. Even dreads can be untangled with patience. Few bottles of conditioner, time, maybe few helping hands and very small sections. Perhaps watching videos how people have opened their dreads can give you ideas how to get your hair back.

parkmikii
November 5th, 2015, 08:58 AM
Seconding to watch people who took out dreads on youtube. Also use a lot, but a lot of conditioner, preferable with silicone in it as it helps detangld a lot better.
Use a very wide toothed comb at first and don't try to rip all out with a fine tooth comb. Also try to section in, take a section and use a claw clip to keep the rest out of the way and brush the free section. Comb it starting from the ends and work your way up bit by bit. Also, be very very patient, it can eat you a whole day or two.

lapushka
November 5th, 2015, 09:16 AM
Yes, it can be salvaged, just drench, and I mean *drench* it in conditioner and then take a comb to it, very carefully, a wide tooth comb and a Tangle Teezer if you have one. Get one if you don't.

OMG how did this happen. It is serious, not gonna lie!

kelseyxface
November 5th, 2015, 09:21 AM
Try to salvage it! At least give the fighting effort before conceding to the sheers. At the very least if you can't get all the knots out, it might be the difference between cutting up to your ears or cutting up to your shoulders. Best of luck!!

natural_shine
November 5th, 2015, 09:29 AM
I'd soak it on coconut oil for 3 days. just keep it oiled for a whole weekend at least. Than get a really strong hair mask and mix it in mefore you wash. Just one wash with a gentle shampoo though, than condish, than put on a mask and keep it for an hour, and only than rinse. It will still be a little oily after this, just let it be. You must oil it a lot for a few weeks. An avocado mask would do good too. Just avocado alone-I wouldn't risk to put any animal protein in there.

these are my 2 cents.

later edit- looked at it better. It looks like it's been bleached before, than permed over. There is no salvation for that, sory to say, there is just no way, you'll have to cut it.

Rushli
November 5th, 2015, 09:44 AM
Do you have anyone to help you? My sister had BSL (probably waist+ stretched) type 4a (or b?) curly hair that got matted up really good while she focused her energy on her high maintenance newborn. They came for a visit and I sat down for hours and help detangle it. I used oil and condish to help too, but wish we would have let is soak longer. The TT did not really help us, but a wide tooth comb did. I also section hair when I could and just worked from the bottom up.

lapushka
November 5th, 2015, 10:11 AM
later edit- looked at it better. It looks like it's been bleached before, than permed over. There is no salvation for that, sory to say, there is just no way, you'll have to cut it.

Nope, I think it's natural hair, it's just the terribly matted state of it. Or *has* it been permed?

restless
November 5th, 2015, 10:12 AM
later edit- looked at it better. It looks like it's been bleached before, than permed over. There is no salvation for that, sory to say, there is just no way, you'll have to cut it.

Maybe Im missing something here, but how can you tell its been bleached and permed? :confused: There are no roots and she says shes been bedridden for months. Why would she bleach and perm during those days but not comb?

OP Im sure theres a solution here. My vote also goes to soaking it in conditioner for hours and then detangle small sections at the time. People have even detangled full heads of dreads before! Good luck :)

Freija
November 5th, 2015, 10:15 AM
later edit- looked at it better. It looks like it's been bleached before, than permed over. There is no salvation for that, sory to say, there is just no way, you'll have to cut it.

Where did you get that from? Regardless - I've seen threads on here in the past where people salvaged tangles as bad or worse, and I firmly believe it is worth a try. I'd avoid oils, avocado masks or anything else 'natural' for the moment - if you get avocado in your hair and can't get it out again you'll be in a worse position than ever. Also, avocado and plant oils will add softness and shine but not necessarily slip - they might even make it stickier - and slip, right now, is the one thing you need. I second everyone who has suggested you load up on silicone-heavy stuff.

I wouldn't shampoo it, either; that won't help detangle it. Just wet it, saturate it in conditioner and let it soak.

lapushka
November 5th, 2015, 10:20 AM
I second everyone who has suggested you load up on silicone-heavy stuff.

I wouldn't shampoo it, either; that won't help detangle it. Just wet it, saturate it in conditioner and let it soak.

^^ This. Best thing you can do. Conditioner conditioner conditioner!

natural_shine
November 5th, 2015, 10:25 AM
[QUOTE=Freija;3114230 I've seen threads on here in the past where people salvaged tangles as bad or wors[/QUOTE]

I've seen hair with perm over formerly bleached hair, that's how it looks, so I just pointed out a posibility.

ok, if this is not the case, she can pamper it and save it somehow.

But if it is perm over bleach... oh, I dare anyone to save hair like that. It just can't be done, it crumbles like dried biscuits.

queenbee1
November 5th, 2015, 10:27 AM
I'd drench it in oil, detangle and then clarify.
Best of luck. :)

Sarahlabyrinth
November 5th, 2015, 10:59 AM
I'm sure it can be saved:) Please don't despair, I just wish there was an LHCer nearby who could help you. I also wish you a good recovery from your illness :)

Try the conditioner, conditioner, conditioner. And gentleness and patience, with a wide toothed comb. Do let us know how you get on - cheering for you!

ETA: It may take days to get the tangles out, so don't be disappointed if it isn't done just in one day. Patience and gentleness will be your friend here.

lapushka
November 5th, 2015, 11:06 AM
Yes, I'm eager to know how you get on! I feel so sorry for you (I'm sorry if you don't like that :o) and wish I could help somehow.

furnival
November 5th, 2015, 11:37 AM
I had dreadlocks for more than fifteen years and I combed them out. It's definitely possible, you just have to be extremely patient! I gave up putting anything on mine while I combed them as I found it dried out over the long detangling sessions and eventually made things more difficult. I just took one dreadlock at a time and very slowly and carefully teased the hairs out of it from the bottom. I didn't have a comb so I used my fingers and occasionally a cutlery fork (I know, very un-LHC!). It took me more then a month, but these were waist-length dreads that had matted up really firmly over the years. I did lose a lot of hair and ended up cutting a fair bit off which would have saved me a lot of time had I done it first...

I think you've got a good chance of saving your hair- just dedicate half an hour to it here and there, gently pulling hairs out of the mat from the bottom. I don't know if it would vary with hair type, but I wouldn't recommend putting conditioner/oil/whatever on it as it's going to take you much more than one session to untangle it and I found wetting it and applying conditioner and rinsing it out again was counterproductive. I plaited the hair I'd untangled after every session to stop it matting up again. Just have perseverance and don't expect to be able to do it all at once! Good luck to you :flower:

Anje
November 5th, 2015, 11:54 AM
Slippery conditioner might be great, but I think I have one better. If you don't mind the idea of having to wash it a couple times to get it out, this seems like a job for drenching it in silicone hair serum (or frankly, silicone lube would work great too and probably be safer for skin). As I see it, the advantage of serum is that it's not going to have to stay damp to stay slippery, and I think the lack of water will mean that any curls you have won't tighten and shrink.

If you wanted to go the oil route, I think that's also pretty decent for detangling. However, I'd suggest olive oil over coconut oil if you do that, purely because it seems way more slippery in my hair.

Will you have anyone to help you with this? I imagine it might be a several-day project. Find advice for people combing out dreadlocks -- that too can be done, and those are intentionally formed and encouraged mats that have often been around for many months or years. If people can get those out, you can manage this! I do suggest that when you have a segment of hair free, braid it. Keep it separate and out of the way from the still-matted hair, just to help make it easier to work with and minimize re-tangling.

Deborah
November 5th, 2015, 12:00 PM
Only you know what will make you happy. It depends on how much you care about having long hair right now. If that is not a big issue, I would immediately cut it to about chin length, then try to untangle it, first by hand, then with a comb. Once the tangles are all out I would then have it cut again, to shape it up nicely. If the tangles will not budge at chin length, then I'd cut more until they will give way, then have the remaining hair cut into some nice shape that you like. Hair grows every day, so even if you are forced to cut it short, you can grow it back again any time you want. At this time I would shoot for quality rather than quantity.

It's all up to you. Good luck!

renia22
November 5th, 2015, 01:10 PM
As others suggested, I'd go with a silicone conditioner and a wide toothed shower comb. Not sure what country you are in, but you can get something like Herbal Essences Hello Hydration or Moroccan My Shine conditioner (both provide good slip), and a Goody shower comb, for under $10 at Wamart. I'd start there, I agree with others that the natural oils might be hard to wash out and might add to your problem. You have a lovely head of hair, good luck, it will probably be a pain and will take some patience, but it looks salvageable...hope you don't have to resort to cutting.

MsDiva
November 5th, 2015, 04:38 PM
I have recently had to deal with a similar issue with a pupil at school. The advice from a hairdresser was that if all else fails, try diluted fabric conditioner. Make sure it is diluted! Good luck.

cathair
November 5th, 2015, 05:00 PM
I'm sure it can be saved:) Please don't despair, I just wish there was an LHCer nearby who could help you. I also wish you a good recovery from your illness :)

I imagine that would be incredibly helpful! Do you have anyone to help you? Which country are you in OP?

I find conditioner more helpful than oil with tangles, but it might be something you have to experiment with. It's probably one of those, 'your mileage may vary' things.

hennalonghair
November 5th, 2015, 08:30 PM
Where did you get that from? Regardless - I've seen threads on here in the past where people salvaged tangles as bad or worse, and I firmly believe it is worth a try. I'd avoid oils, avocado masks or anything else 'natural' for the moment - if you get avocado in your hair and can't get it out again you'll be in a worse position than ever. Also, avocado and plant oils will add softness and shine but not necessarily slip - they might even make it stickier - and slip, right now, is the one thing you need. I second everyone who has suggested you load up on silicone-heavy stuff.

I wouldn't shampoo it, either; that won't help detangle it. Just wet it, saturate it in conditioner and let it soak.
I agree. Oil at this point would not help but just make the situation far worse. Just use lots of your best conditioner and start detangling with a wide tooth comb starting from the very bottom. Once you get a section done then pin it or wrap it in a scrunchie.

|Xei
November 5th, 2015, 09:07 PM
Slippery conditioner might be great, but I think I have one better. If you don't mind the idea of having to wash it a couple times to get it out, this seems like a job for drenching it in silicone hair serum (or frankly, silicone lube would work great too and probably be safer for skin). As I see it, the advantage of serum is that it's not going to have to stay damp to stay slippery, and I think the lack of water will mean that any curls you have won't tighten and shrink.


Seconding the silicone serum. Had a client in hair school whose hair turned into a giant knot from chemical over processing, and this was the only thing that would help take the knots out. The serum was from AG.

missrandie
November 5th, 2015, 09:41 PM
We use straight silicone serum on our horses who have matted tails (dreaded from top to bottom) and manage to save the tail- I see no reason why the same can't be done here. Good luck OP!

BraidedBrunette
November 5th, 2015, 09:50 PM
Remember to start coming from the bottom! 😱

Sweets
November 6th, 2015, 12:46 AM
I would definitely use something silicone based, I would try a lube first. Best of luck to you, and I hope your health is getting better. :puppykisses:

furnival
November 6th, 2015, 05:36 AM
I'd just like to repeat the advice I've given as someone who has actually combed out an entire head of old dreadlocks- putting conditioner/lube/etc on your hair may not be the best way to go about it. I tried it, but after a short while the stuff had dried onto my hair and had to be re-wet/ rinsed out, which I'm sure was helping to mat the hair up again. It didn't really help much with the actual detangling process either. In the end I just sat every evening and patiently tugged hairs out of dry dreads from the bottom whilst reading a book. Expecting to detangle your mat in one go might leave you very frustrated- just do a little at a time, section by section, whenever you have spare time. There isn't any magic solution unfortunately, only perseverance. Good luck :)

cathair
November 6th, 2015, 07:02 AM
I can imagine conditioner drying on not helping at all. It doesn't seem to help for those really tight knots that turn into little balls at the ends of my hair either. Makes my fingers slippy, but not the knot itself.

I can see it helping for looser bits though. Perhaps it's just best left till later on in the process? Or doing once right at the beginning to see what comes loose, then doing it dry and conditioning once the bulk of the matting is gone?

Miss P
November 6th, 2015, 08:29 AM
OMG! Okay I've had a matting issue but it was never anything like that! What I did was get a heap of conditioner, heat it up a bit, completely DRENCH it and leave for 5-6 hours before CAREFULLY detangling. The same principal applies just on a larger scale, I suggest you leave it for longer and detangle in sections so you don't feel overwhelmed. Remember, progress will be slow and there will be shedding (especially since you've been bed ridden for a while). But do not give up! Slow and steady :)

lapushka
November 6th, 2015, 09:24 AM
Remember, progress will be slow and there will be shedding (especially since you've been bed ridden for a while). But do not give up! Slow and steady :)

Yes, lots of sheds will be stuck in there, from not combing on a regular basis (looks like you've been bedridden for a while there) and they will "knot" up the rest, so carefully detangle.

Can I ask why you were in bed for an extended amount of time? Or am I too nosy? :)

LongCurlyTress
November 6th, 2015, 09:42 AM
I agree. Oil at this point would not help but just make the situation far worse. Just use lots of your best conditioner and start detangling with a wide tooth comb starting from the very bottom. Once you get a section done then pin it or wrap it in a scrunchie.

This is absolutely excellent advice!! As a last resort, you can cut it...but until then, give it a go with lots of conditioner, a wide tooth comb and detangling very small-not-bigger-than -1inch sections... Good luck hon!! :blossom:

Anje
November 6th, 2015, 10:38 AM
To be honest, if it's bad (or in the bad places at least), I don't think I'd use a comb. I think I'd go at it with fingers and maybe something like a non-sharp embroidery needle or a rat-tail comb with a metal spike. I think in many cases, it's going to be a matter of working out a teeny bit at a time, and working one smooth object through and out of the tangle is going to be enough of a chore.

meteor
November 6th, 2015, 12:16 PM
KellyBaby11, for being bedridden for months, that's not that bad actually! I honestly believe this can be salvaged over just a few days or patient work. :cheer:

My advice would be:

1) Get as many hands as you can for detangling help. Do you have any friends/relatives who could help you out with this? If not, I'd consider getting some professional help for this - there are salons that undo dreads, for example. It will still take many hours, but significantly less if you aren't the only one working on it.

2) Use fingers, wide-tooth rakes and needles, edges of rat-tail combs...

3) As soon as you have any section of hair freed, immediately braid it and keep it away from the matted sections. As you detangle more sections, braid them up as well! This is extremely important, because it's easy to re-tangle at this stage, and even a few free strands added from other sections can make a matt a lot less manageable.

4) Add your slipperiest stuff (e.g. silicone serums) as you go - it's best to be strategic about when and where you place it. It must be wet enough to give slip, so ideally don't just let it sit and dry up on tangles... if the consistency is too thick, mix it with water/oil - use whatever works (gives best slip) specifically for you - it's different for different hairtypes.

5) Maybe watch some Youtube videos detangling very serious matts (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7nZ48QIzG4) - to give you some tips/tricks and motivation.

6) Use any opportunity to detangle: e.g. while listening to lectures, watching TV, listening to music or audio books... It WILL take time and patience. Stay positive and don't give up! :flower:

Best of luck to you, KellyBaby11! :flowers: We are all rooting for you! :cheer:

lapushka
November 6th, 2015, 01:14 PM
OP, are you still around? :hmm:

darklyndsea
November 10th, 2015, 06:43 PM
Earlier this year, about 1/3 of my hair tangled extremely badly and took about 3 weeks to detangle. Your experience may vary, but I found that oils and conditioners dried in my hair and didn't help detangle. Most of my detangling was done with my fingers and an Amish pin (it didn't bend out of shape or break, and only having to deal with one point of detangling at once worked better than multiple points like with a comb). You can do it if you want to make the effort, or I bet a good hairdresser could give you a flattering short style! While it's matted, covering it up with scarves might make you feel better about it.