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View Full Version : Help! I have a big matted knotted ball of hair!



Fleur01
June 21st, 2010, 04:36 PM
I really need advice from anyone with expertise in this area please.
I was sick for awhile and neglected my hair and when I went to wash my hair, voila, there was a big matted section in the back of my head that I couldn't get through. I have tried everything, shampoo, conditioner, oil, detangler, treatments, used different combs, brushes etc and I can't make any progress with this. It will loosen up for awhile and then it will harden and tighten up and has the consistency of a hard rock right now. It's hard to get underneath some of the pieces they are matted so tight together. Is there a trick to this? A special tool that exists? It seems to be looser on the bottom but the ends have all mushed together at the top so I can't get any hair out. Cutting it is the last resort although I would be willing to snip strategic pieces to loosen it a little...I have alot of hair...it is fine but there is alot so it wouldn't make a big difference. I am desperate for advice...and yes I have learned my lesson and will take better care of my hair...I just need to resolve this first. Thanks a bunch!

trillcat
June 21st, 2010, 04:45 PM
I really need advice from anyone with expertise in this area please.
I was sick for awhile and neglected my hair and when I went to wash my hair, voila, there was a big matted section in the back of my head that I couldn't get through. I have tried everything, shampoo, conditioner, oil, detangler, treatments, used different combs, brushes etc and I can't make any progress with this. It will loosen up for awhile and then it will harden and tighten up and has the consistency of a hard rock right now. It's hard to get underneath some of the pieces they are matted so tight together. Is there a trick to this? A special tool that exists? It seems to be looser on the bottom but the ends have all mushed together at the top so I can't get any hair out. Cutting it is the last resort although I would be willing to snip strategic pieces to loosen it a little...I have alot of hair...it is fine but there is alot so it wouldn't make a big difference. I am desperate for advice...and yes I have learned my lesson and will take better care of my hair...I just need to resolve this first. Thanks a bunch!
Are you talking about that big back of the nape of neck ball that happens?
OOoh if so, that is nasty. There is no trick to it I have found, just lots of conditioner and fingers, not combs or brushes, to free the hair. And lots of patience.
One bad one I had that resulted from a week long bought of just could nto get out of bed to function flu took longer than the flu recovery to untangle. I had to cut some out, it was not fun. I got most out, but, it took a long time, and weird looking hair.

Meaghan
June 21st, 2010, 04:47 PM
I backcombed all of my hair because I wanted to start my dreadlock journey, and a month in I decided I didn't quite yet have what it takes. My head is almost all detangled, and I've just been trying to detangle with my fingers from the bottom up, very gently clawing at it to loosen bits up. As slippery as conditioner is, I've found it's only helped a little bit in the beginning stages.

I know it makes your hair weaker, but give detangling a try when your hair's wet, if you haven't already. Either way, you're going to get a lot of broken hairs.

Just keep at it, it should all come out eventually, especially since I doubt you neglected it for a whole month.

error
June 21st, 2010, 04:51 PM
That is by far the worst dilemma ever it actually has happened to me before I have stick straight tangly hair . About two years back i got into an accident and spent a week in the hospital tossing and turning in pain. This resulted in the godzilla of knots my boyfriend actually picked the knot apart gently with his hands while I was sleeping! So cat is def. right use your hands and lots of conditioner because knots tend to make hair dry and brittle ! aww good luck! let us know what happens!

pepperminttea
June 21st, 2010, 05:15 PM
I get this too, normally if I've been neglectful left my hair in the same braid for a week. Keep at it with conditioner and fingers, maybe some extra virgin olive oil too; put on a movie and work on the knots while you're watching it, something that'll keep you calm so you won't lose patience. You'll get it eventually. :)

lastnite
June 21st, 2010, 05:38 PM
do you have one of those metal teaser picks, something like this (http://www.wilshirewigs.com/graphics/accessories/detail/xs59.jpg), and use the metal part? sometimes you can use them to help loosen up the hairs, or even a toothpick can work. a couple of times I had those type of knots, I tried to loosen out as much hair as possible, and then seem to get to the base....and I usually cut it at that point. Once it looks like most of the hair is just breaking instead of coming lose, it might be best to cut it since having broken hairs will just cause split ends. I know not the best answer, and hopefully others have better ideas, but mines seemed impossible. usually when I'm sick and need to rest in bed for a few days I try to get my hair oiled and buned, it seems to help prevent them.

spidermom
June 21st, 2010, 05:57 PM
Get a friend or family member to help. It's easier to deal with matts if you can see what you're doing.

Nae
June 21st, 2010, 06:06 PM
Yes, I second having a friend or loved one (preferably a gentle one) help you out so that they can see what they are doing. Tons of condtioner, oil and lots of gentle loosening will hopefully work eventually. Best of luck, keep us updated.

MagieNoire
June 21st, 2010, 06:23 PM
sorry to hear about your problem. I managed to get a major (fist size) knot on my crown that eventually required cutting it out. before cutting, I gently tugged/pulled strands from the root above the matted ball - since nothing in and below the knot could be saved. I shudder to think back on it. took days to go hair by hair but I was able to save a good portion. best of luck.

GRU
June 21st, 2010, 06:26 PM
I'm going to ditto the gals above.

Use something for lubrication -- a slippery conditioner or oil.

Use a thin item to try to work little bits out at a time (the tail from a rattail comb works, as does a straightened-out paperclip).

Most of all, BE PATIENT! That matted area didn't get there in an hour, it's going to take more than an hour to get it all out!

A friend of mine was on bedrest for premature labor several years ago, and I went to the hospital and got one of those snarled masses out for her (then I braided her hair in pigtails so her hair was pulled to the side for the rest of her hospitalization).

If you can get someone else to work on it for you, that would be best. If not, just try to do SMALL areas, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Do it while you're watching tv or listening to music, and give yourself breaks on a regular basis.

Just celebrate your small successes... enough small ones added together make for one big success!

Yozhik
June 21st, 2010, 07:26 PM
Ooh, sorry to hear about this! I had one of these, but it was when I was pretty young, and not at all gentle to my hair. I think my solution was to rip through as much of it I could rip through :(

Don't go that route, obviously, but lots of luck and sympathy :) (have patience, too) :flower:

christine1989
June 21st, 2010, 07:40 PM
I always use a thick, creamy conditioner and comb it as best I can with a wide tooth comb. If I just keep running the comb through it usually loosens up. If you are really desperate you could try oil like coconut, olive or grapeseed which should help to separate the strands.

Debra83
June 21st, 2010, 07:51 PM
Sorry, no advice, but I wish you success!

mizk5110
June 21st, 2010, 07:52 PM
My friend with below-classic hair get these all the time - it definitely helps to have someone else work on it, preferrably when watching a movie or talking about something that will distract you. (spoken by the one who picks out her knots!) Lots of conditioner, and absolutely NO combs or brushes - fingers only! - until it's most of the way out.

Arctic_Mama
June 21st, 2010, 07:54 PM
I have to agree with the other longhairs... Get a relative or friend to help, and soak your hair in the slipperiest conditioner you can find. Biolage conditioning balm is about the most slick I can think of.

After a good hour or so soak, do NOT rinse it out, just detangle it when the conditioner is still in, and you should have the best change of loosening the knot. You may have to cut a section or two, but most of it should be salvageable.

Laylah
June 21st, 2010, 08:08 PM
I once got one of these (http://www.comparestoreprices.co.uk/images/ro/round-brush.jpg) stuck in my hair, and even after I got it out, I had a huge knotted mess in my hair. My suggestion is to take turns with someone, combing out tiny sections at a time of the mat. It will take hours, but your can do it :). Just loosen little bits at a time, add some oil, and use a wide tooth comb. Braid the loose parts of your hair first to keep them from getting tangled into the mat, and after you comb each section, braid it too. It helps to watch a movie or otherwise entertain yourself while doing this, because it will take a while.

Anje
June 21st, 2010, 09:22 PM
Haven't specifically had a mat like that, but I've heard good things about Cowboy Magic (http://www.cowboymagic.com/products-detangler-shine.html) which is actually a horse product, for getting out mats. Failing that, I suspect a bunch of silicone serum would help a bit.

Definitely get someone to help you, since getting the mat untangled will be a lot easier for someone who can see it. Ideally, someone who has a bit of patience and that picking-at-things personality trait. Those combs with a few smooth metal tines look useful too, for slowly prying the thing apart.

ibleedlipstick
June 21st, 2010, 09:29 PM
First off, DON'T PANIC! Seriously, the one thing your hair does not need at this point is frantic tearing and plucking at the knot.

Secondly, find a friend, loved one, or trusted hair stylist to help you.

Third, find something that will lubricate your hair- oil, conditioner, something slippery and moisturizing. Apply it to your hair before even getting your hair wet.

Add heat.

Moisten your hair, and add more conditioner or oil or both, and gently start trying to separate the hairs. Go strand by strand if you can. Be gently, like untangling a fragile necklace. This is time consuming, but it can be done.

When the mat is out, re-condition the entire thing and leave it in for as long as possible before rinsing out. You should probably really baby your hair for the next few weeks.

Good luck!

Fleur01
June 23rd, 2010, 12:01 PM
Hi everyone, Thanks so much for your suggestions and your kind and gentle words. I was amazed at how many posts there were in response to my dilemma. Well a quick update....I spent yesterday trying to finger detangle my hair and didn't make alot of progress but I got a few of the ends out without breaking too much hair hopefully. I tried rinsing out all the deep conditioners etc from my hair under cold water for about 10 minutes and then starting to work at it. It loosened things a little bit as it was starting to feel like cement but then it got hard and dry again. I live in a very dry climate and without product in your hair it starts to frizz very quickly which made my hair very hard to work on. Anyway, today I am going to get some cowboy magic and I have a new rat tail comb and will try to wedge the end through the giant mass of hair to break it up a little. The problem it that there are smaller knots within the bigger knot and they are keeping it all together. I am too afraid to go to a salon, my boyfriend has been helping me quite a bit but the knot seems to be stumping both of us. I am afraid when I go to the salon that they will gasp at my hair and not be so understanding. My hair is everything and I will try to preserve it at all costs! At this point I am desperate and am losing hope. If anyone has any other insight please let me know. Thanks kindly!

Fleur01
June 23rd, 2010, 12:03 PM
Hello again,
Sorry I forgot to ask, is it better to work on a bad knot when it's wet, damp or bone dry. I have heard all three at different times so not sure what works best. Thanks

slythwolf
June 23rd, 2010, 12:32 PM
Hair (like other protein fibers, such as wool or cashmere) is most fragile when it's wet. If it were me I'd work with it dry.

MissMB
June 23rd, 2010, 03:50 PM
Hey there. Well it happened to me once.

My hair was to my navel. I went 1.5 months without brushing it, putting if off after the flu. I attempted everything I could at home. I went to Head Start and she tried getting it out for an hour and a half if I remember. They used their best product, but after so long my scalp was red and I was in tears from the pain. She informed me that the fact that I had been washing it actually made the matting worse. Also, if we had been able to get it out, my hair would have been so damaged it was pointless. So I got it cut in a small bob to my jawline. It wasn't fun, but I probably had no choice. Luckily for us, hair does grow. :)

Anyway, I hope some of the girls here are able to help you and offer the best methods available to you. I thought of cutting 1 snip at a time into the actual matted ball until you can wiggle or brush it out. You will lose all the hair in the ball, and your hair will be much thinner, but you will still have the length.

Good luck Fleur01! I hope you find a solution.

kdaniels8811
June 23rd, 2010, 04:48 PM
GRU said everything I was going to say. Good luck and patience to you. I certainly hope you can comb this out and not have to cut it out. We are all cheering you on.

kdaniels8811
June 23rd, 2010, 04:56 PM
I just found this thread under henna and recipies - Recipe: Detangling lotion w/ broccoli seed oil. It may help untangling that knot. Good luck!