How To Detangle Matted Hair & Prevent It From Happening Again

Matted hair is the combination of attached and shed hairs entwined in clumps or web-like tangles. They are more severe than regular tangles.

How does it happen?

Matted hair occurs when it has not been combed to remove shed hairs. Loose hairs can knot several times around attached hair, create a tangle, and lead to matting if not removed. Some people are just prone to knotting while other may be suffering from a damaged hair cuticle, causing more friction from the lifted cuticles.

Does it have to be cut out?

No, matted hair can be successfully detangled without cutting the hair. It takes patience, work, and the right tools, but it can be accomplished and end up saving your strands and your nerves from being shot.

How to detangle it

While some may decide to seek a professional (hair stylist) to fix their matted hair, it can be done at home with a few tools and some serious patience.



Dampen your hair with a spray bottle of water, or briefly holding it under a shower or sink at low water pressure. Most hair treatments are meant to be applied to damp hair, but if you let the hair become dripping wet, it may be more susceptible to breakage.



Loosen the matted strands by saturating hair with a good detangler, oil, or moisturizing conditioner but never a shampoo and water only. This is not the time to skimp so really saturate it. Deep conditioners are great at restoring moisture to your hair and making them easier to untangle, while detangling conditioners are meant specifically to add more slip to your hair.

Coconut oil, olive oil, or Moroccan argan oil can be used instead, and may be especially useful for textured hair. If you dislike the feel of oil in your hair, you can try a hair detangling spray.

If using ordinary conditioner, it will finish moisturizing your hair within a few minutes. Coconut oil and similar oils should be left in for at least 30 minutes for maximum effect, but no longer than 2 hours.Deep conditioners vary as shown on the packaging instructions, but are typically left in for at least an hour, and may be left in overnight for extreme cases.



Once the hair treatment has had time to take effect, attempt to gently pull apart the tangled sections of your hair. Small knots or loose mats can sometimes be pulled into smaller, separate tangles from the root side of the knot, nearer to your scalp.



A comb with sturdy, widely spaced teeth is essential for combing out severe tangles. Fine combs and brushes are likely to meet too much resistance, forcing you to either pull out clumps of hair, or stop brushing.

Always comb tangled hair starting near the ends. Place the comb a few inches (several centimeters) from the end of the tangled hair, and brush downward. Repeat until that section of hair is free of tangles, then move the comb slightly higher up. Repeat until the entire length of your hair is combed. For long or thick, severely matted hair, this may take an hour or more.

If you have a sensitive scalp, hold a section of your hair as you brush it. Grasp a portion of hair about the thickness of a marker or glue stick between your fingers, and give it a half-twist to keep the comb from pulling directly on your scalp. Comb this portion of hair beneath your hand, moving your grip higher once the hair below it is successfully untangled.

If a mat of hair refuses to come apart despite all your efforts, you may need to thin it out. Open a pair of scissors and hold your hair tight with your other hand. Run the bottom blade of the scissors along the underside of the mat, then gently tug at your hair to remove loose strands.

Use a wide-toothed comb until the severe mats and tangles have been straightened out. Switch to a fine-toothed comb or a brush to remove any small knots that may remain.

There will be significant shedding so do not panic and remember we lose on average 100 hairs a day, and since the hair is matted those shed hairs are locked in and need removal.



Rinse out any hair treatments completely once your hair is untangled. If you have tightly coiled hair, and the severe mats have separated enough to allow you to part your hair, clip each section of hair to keep them separate, and rinse one at a time.



  • Do detangle regularly to decrease the chances of it occurring, especially if you are prone to matting
  • Do not put off detangling, as it may turn into a more tedious and damaging detangling session or matting
  • Do regular protein treatments to fill the gaps in damaged cuticles, as this will decrease friction, tangles, and matting
  • Do not keep extensions in any longer than advised

76 comments on “How To Detangle Matted Hair & Prevent It From Happening Again

        • Glad you have someone to help you…I have been begging my husband for over a month now. I am cut cutting it all off at this point, who cares…nobody

          • I do. I care. If we live close, I’ll do it for you, no matter how long it takes. Been working on mine for 3 days and can’t even get scissors or a knife in it, it’s twisted so very tightly, like a huge knot. I’m wearing a bonnet and working it on every day until I can get it out or save up to get it professionally done. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar, wd40(that helped a lot), conditioner, leave in treatments, coconut oil, cooking oil, mayo and nothing got it out. My hair is down to my butt bone and 3c curls and now it’s matted to above my neck, to my scalp almost. Don’t lose hope. If I’m not, you’re not!

        • I’m really hoping this process works for me! I have very long fine layered hair and it has been matt e three. Weeks. I’m really not wanting to cut it out. Its matted up into my neck line too. Going to work on it today. Wish me luck!

        • I’m hoping this will save mine! I was very I’ll for a week and was in bed (not showering, not brushing). I appreciate this well-written and very easy-to-understand. It’s probably going to take some time, but I’m glad to read that there’s hope! Thanks so much!!! 🙂

    • I’m scared to go to a salon! Do people actually make appointments for this?

      I have trigeminal & glossopharyngeal neuralgia s. I was in so much pain – and tossing and turning in pain – that I just couldn’t brush my hair nor cared to for several months. And now it’s so tangled that that it looks like I’d have to cut my hair short. I am so embarrassed to actually seek a professional but I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried defanging on my own and don’t seem to have any luck. I’ve used detangling combs and brushes. Could my comb be too wide?!

      • My stylist let me come in early to do a detangling before a trim for. 4a-c natural hair. Do not be ashamed! It happens to all of us. Also consider finding another woman in your situation and swap. Good luck. And stay hydrated. That’s what got my hair this time!

  1. I am definitely going to try this! I have bleached my hair with all over or highlights and never had a matting problem BUT the past year or so my hair knots and Mattes so severe I end up putting it up in a ball on top of my head because I have so much trouble brushing it out, until it’s been weeks or longer since I have washed it then I stay up late one night combing, brushing,pulling, and then cutting all why crying my eyes out because it makes me feel so down on myself. What’s sad is I have had my Cosmetology license the last 5 years and have never had any problems, but because I have been raising my grandson the last two years since an infant being a stay at home Mimi, I didn’t renew my license this past October because I have been so depressed about not being able to afford to highlight my hair and it being completely unbrushable, matting up I have let myself go becoming someone I’m not. Any advice would be a blessing!

    • It can definitely be fixed. The article gives some great suggestions. Hair masks definitely help a lot with moisturizing as well.

      • These tips are great my hair has been mated for nearly 1 week! I love my hair and it really pushes me down not to have strait hair that isn’t all tangled that makes you feel imbarassed when I go somewhere m hair is still a bit matted but I hope if I do this more my hair will be back to normal soon! Pls work

    • Buy Neutrogena T-Gel Maximum Strength (smells horrible but works the BEST) combine this with a rich deep conditioner after lathering shampoo, bend head over in shower brush bottom up (never from top to bottom) I sectioned mine because I have long hair. Once you’ve saturated hair with both products, rinse then reapply deep conditioner, once out of shower, section off and again, flip head over and brush, bottom of head to top. Believe me, this is tedious, but it WORKS. Had severely matter head due to years of bleach and this finally did the job. Also, got rid of acne scars, and indentations on body from hair being pulled so taut!

        • I use a product called the Eva nyc deep conditioning mask and let me tell you that product is amazing. These tips in the article are also fantastic, I wish I had seen it before because it literally could have been me that wrote the original comment except I am 26, so not raising a grandson lol. Another one I use and live is the Pantene pro v 3 min miracle daily moisture renewal. It’s a hydrating deep conditioner that can also be used daily My hair comes down to my butt and is very thick, it used to be curly but since it’s so long I think the weight is what makes it dry straight now. I had pink hair for three years so I bleached it often during that time, and I also had the underneath of the back of my hair shaved for a while and opted to just grow it out since i didn’t want to cut it all off for it to be even- so I’ve been dealing with the different lengths. Now that the bottom is getting pretty long, a few inches past my shoulders, however, I’ve noticed the shorter hairs are a big part of my tangling and matting issue. I never had super matted hair until I stopped bleaching and dying my hair at all a year and a half ago. I’d say around 6 months to 8 months in I started noticing that the tangles we’re getting worse and worse and that it was becoming really painful to brush them out— so I would start to avoid it. Sometimes going weeks to a month without fully going to town on them until it was smooth. I would sometimes run over the very top layer & put it back up but brush out just the length of my ponytail so I could go in public without looking like I didn’t care for myself. And like you said I would cry while I actually untangle it all the way- because as someone who does beauty and loves doing my hair and makeup and using my fave products, it really hurt my confidence and self esteem because I hadn’t ever been in that situation. I follow all these steps and still every few days I will end up with a mat especially if I wear my hair up in a bun. Not as bad as when I first did it a few months ago. Just trying to fully moisturize my hair so when I do get a cut I won’t have to lose a lot of my hair that took over eight years to grow out from a pixie cut. It’s definitely a process but I’m learning it is possible. I’m glad I thought I was going to have to cut all my hair off the first time I realized that I had a huge mat in the back of my scalp area.

        • My hair is extremely matted, I haven’t washed it in months. I have let myself go so bad, because I am in a relationship that is not healthy. But it is time to peel off. I need help with what was my gorgeous hair

    • Hey Lisa,
      You are not alone,
      I’ve become someone I never used to be also. I used to take super good care of myself & my medium length hair. My problem with my hair is the same as you,
      due to depression mainly because of too many disappointment’s & guilt. So about 10 years ago I didn’t feel I deserved to take care of myself, I can barely shower & wash my hair anymore, approx. twice a month.
      It’s terribly embarrassing. My hair has only become severely knotted in the last two shampoo’s. The last time, I only had spray on conditioner, but could not comb or pull apart one knot the size of a small orange, I just gave up because I was making it worse, I got scared & I also
      just threw it up into a bun & clip, that was over a week ago, finally checked U-Tube when I came across you post. I mainly want you to know, you are not alone. Ok?
      Sincerely, Marion

    • Wow. Exactly what i am going through right now. Cant Believe i let it go this long!! Who does that? And.since im not working at the moment, i barely.go out..( and then there’s COVID…) I feel so uggy and lazy and it’s so bad now, i am trying to avoid cutting it out..just keep coiling it up with an elastic or hat for trips to the store.Lol .Sincerely, Dumbass

      • I thought it was just me. Since being over 60, I have become depressed, especially with the Covid isolation. I never had matted hair until now, maybe it is due to dry skin. I only wash my hair twice a month due to the mats and I wear it in a bun also. I found it is easier to un mat it after you wash and condition your hair, but it still takes me a half hour to get all the mats out. I wonder if it is caused by staying in the A/C all day that drys out our hair. Anyway, I am not alone, so I already feel better

      • Honestly i am having this issue now. The only reason mine is so matted is because i actually got covid from my son and it got pretty bad. I laid in the bed for about 3.5 weeks and when i first started getting sick i had took a shower and instead of brushing my hair i just put it up in a bun and i got so sick i could barely move for about 7 days i couldnt eat and barely could drink anything so i ended up in the hospital for severe dehydration and nausea. I apparently got the part of covid that messes with your GI tract is what the ER doc told me but i was there for 5 days then came home and laid around for another week trying to gain my energy back and now i have a severely matted hair ball on top/back of my head because my hair is up in a bun and its hard to get it out with having to give up due to keeping your arms above ur head for soooo long. I hope these steps work. Because im scared its going to get worse.

        • That’s exactly how I got a huge matted knot in my hair. I caught covid and I was so sick for over 2 weeks. I couldn’t move and or take care of myself properly. My hair was so long & thick down to my lower back it became so matred right at the top of my scalp and I had no energy to reach my arms up from being so sick. I still can’t get it out. It’s stuck to the top of my head. It’s embarrassing & I’m so depressed. I have to wear it in a bun & everyone I try to get it out I get so stressed & angry I just give up. I’ve tried everything. I don’t go anywhere or take pics with my kids because I look so ugly

    • This is why some moms are so beautiful. In a little while when they’re all grown up you’ll find time to bring yourself back, but you don’t feel down about yourself. Wear your mom bun with pride. I do! Xx

      Tea tree conditioner helps me get the knots out.

    • I’m going through the same thing with my chronic depression my hair is currently a birds nest bun on the top of my head and I really don’t take care of myself at all anymore but I really want to keep my long hair so I guess I’ll be trying this method today and hope I don’t give up and do something stupid to my hair.

    • I don’t have advice @ this moment per se b/c I’m going thru the SAME thing (possibly worse..? I’ve had my hair wrapped in a head scarf, totally covered, for most of the year) so I’m crossing my fingers for both of us that this works (and anyone else going thru this!).

      As we speak, my boys and I are late to Thanksgiving @ my best friend’s house… partly due to my hair issues.

      I can hear the hurt and upset in your “voice” (written words) and the need to talk it thru and process it all—for now I’ll say please don’t beat yourself up, you’re human as we all are and we all have our challenges to work thru… you are not alone! Lol I know it’s just hair but I get the struggle and the feelings are real—I know mine are!!

      Sending prayers and best wishes to you, we will both (all!) get thru this, God willing!

  2. My daughter has long beautiful, thick blonde hair and this matting seems to be an increasing issue. She freaks out if I say anything about cutting it. I think we’ll have to add a protein treatment to her routine when I get these mats out. If anyone has any suggestions on what to use and how often, I am all ears. Thank you so much.

    • I always use Mayo for protein treatments about 30 mins in the hair it does smell while on, shampoo till no oily residue is left and then wash as normal. It will no longer smell like Mayo but it will leave it incredibly soft and shiny!

  3. This has helped me reading this I’m going to try it all. My hair is so tangled it feels like a big ball of hair. I don’t have the time so I pull it up too. I’m glad I’m not alone. Thank you

    • I’m a mom trying to detangle my daughter’s matted hair. I just want to say thank you all for commenting/ sharing / and to let me know that she is not alone. ….. and that I love you ALL !!!! Don’t lose hope ! Get the help you need to fix this problem and don’t keep pulling it back. … signed , heartbroken mom in nj

  4. Kimburly Ann Keefas

    I’m really screwed. My long beautiful red hair is down to my calves. Covid came, and quarantine and depression followed, and I’m older now (red hair doesn’t turn gray for years!), 66, and I couldn’t brush it! I have a HUUUUUGE ball around my neck. I’ve tried from the bottom and can’t get anywhere. This nice lady I found on Craig’s list charges $100 an hour and I can’t afford her. She told me never wet a matt, bc it tightens the knot. So I’m afraid to try this, bc wetting such a huuuuuge knot would tighten it, according to her. I plan on cutting it back to my butt if I can clear the matt so I can brush it and this doesn’t happen again.
    Is really long hair ok with this wet method?

    • Try using oils instead or slightly dampen it with water and lather it with conditioner and start from bottom to top.

  5. I’m fighting a losing battle with depression and had combed my hair probably 2 times in the last year. My is on big dreadlock and I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t bathe and don’t brush my hair and don’t cook or clean or anything. Depression due to domestic abuse has broken me down so much, I don’t know where or how to even begin healing. I stopped living a long time ago and am just a mural that my kids pass as they try to live their broken home lives. Darn covid hasn’t done much to help matters. Locking us up in our homes to stay safe (supposedly). Plz advice on dreadlock types hair or how to get out of the hole I’m in would be much appreciated.

    • I came here to say this exact thing. I’ve been battling and losing severe depression too. I haven’t brushed or washed my hair in almost a year too. I’ve been trying to climb out of this rut I’m in and I want my hair back, I’m so scared of how matted and dreaded it is tho when I see it I think I either can’t handle that pain right now or I’ll do it tomorrow and tomorrow never comes. I need help too, I don’t mind having to cut some of my hair but I’m scared I’d have to cut it short..too short. I hope you have found something to help u and urself in general. If there’s anyone else out there with advice,please help me

    • Hey girl, because of my depression it’s hard for me to do normal things that are easy for other people. My hair is so freaking matted. It’s embarrassing and it makes me cry. I just wanted to let you know I’m here for you. If you found something that works please let me know. I’m going to try to routine above but I feel there’s no hope for me ☹️

    • This made me so sad to read. But your words grabbed me so tightly…I nearly cried. It looks like there are way too many of us going through this same hell. But like others have said, we’re not alone. Reach out online and talk to people if you don’t have anyone in RL. I don’t. Many years ago I turned to the web to help get me through tough times and without it I may not be here.

      It seems a little crazy that an article about snarly hair has brought on such a deep conversation but it’s one we’ve all needed to have. I think I’m going to start a Facebook group related to depression and beauty, maybe covid involved as well….Sadly I cant leave a link here because it hasn’t been created yet but I’m hoping it’ll take off and get popular due yo the subject matter, that way yall will be able to find it and we can all support each other through these trying times.

      As far as the hair mats, I’m going to try mayo first personally and then move on to coconut oil, deep conditioning and/or masks and then go from there. I appreciate this article but personally it’ll be my last choice because my hair is thinning out too much because of this already.

      Sending big hugs to everyone and please be strong….we can do this…we can feel beautiful and worthy again, because we ARE!!

      P.s. you’re welcome to pm me on fb or email me at if you just need a friend or if you’d like to get the name of the fb group I’ll be starting, for us all to support each other.

      • I’m with everyone in the comments! My waist length hair is matted despite attempts to brush out initially. I’m trying the regular conditioner with a plastic bag over my hair first. I’ve got coconut oil, olive oil, and I believe shea butter around if the initial treatment isn’t completely successful. Crossing my fingers.

  6. Michelle Rena Fisher

    Oh my goodness I thought I was seriously the only one going through this. I have depression and have usually been able to manage it without meds. But last year right before COVID hit, my car broke down, and then CoVID, then I lost my job and my depression slowly turned severe before I even knew it was happening. Three months ago I noticed bad tangling in my long hair so I just put it up and figured I would deal with it later. I am so tenderheaded that dealing with tangles is literally torture for me. Well I barely was getting out of bed, never went anywhere, kept putting my hair up to “deal with it later”. Then all of the sudden last month I try to take my hair down and it is literally a ball of tangles. There is about a handful of hair that is still free from the ball, but I have had my hair up in the same bun for three weeks so I started feeling hopeless. I am disgusted with myself and was looking up wigs online when I decided to search for hope. Y’all have given it to me so thank you. You’ll never know how much it meant to me to hear that I am not alone. You strong ladies are giving me some mental strength back. I just wanted to thank y’all for that and I am going to go face my hair and if it takes all weekend, I will not stop until I am tangle free! Or bald…lol.

  7. Praying for all of you. My only suggestion is once you finally get your hair untangled, to do a wash & deep condition then and put in one or more braids – that way you won’t have to think about your hair until you have the energy and time to do it.
    I pray this never happens to you again.

  8. Thanks and God bless all of you! Me too, thought I was alone with this level of self-negligence, and so disgusted and lost, until I read all of your brave and honest comments on here tonight. Wow, what a comfort to find out that you are not alone! I am probably The Worst of all y’all tho…I cannot remember the last time I even showered lol! I think it may have been November!? Its like…wtf is happening and who am I?!? I am a chronic pain sufferer and the last few years the only things that kept me keepin up appearances were my doctor and pharmacy visits lol…they were my last connection to humanity, and myself too, so it seems…its like what’s the point? I should note here that I did get lucky with very little body odor lol. Oh, and my all gray roots are at least 3 inches grown out. No haircut over a year. Also, brushing teeth less often lol, that’s never been me, ever? But hey, now we’re all 6 feet apart and masked, so I’m not offending. So, all good lol.

    Anyway, enuf of my whine – really just wanted to say, I just did this last night, sat and untangled my unruly ratsnest for almost 2 hours ugh – and I agree, I personally would advise not to wet it. I used Biosilk spray on shine oil, or any kind of oil will do, and just would give the hair starting at scalp a spritz, and gently pull apart the hairs from each other, then the loose ones will all fall out and scare the cramp outta you lol, but yeah the daily shedding is normal, so just expect it. That’s all. Repeat spritz as often as needed. I sprayed my fingertips also. Patiently put in the time and save your hair, but it is a mindless task really – so I just watched an entire movie, then used a good natural hair brush and braided it. It did feel amazing to be able to run my fingers all the way thru it again! Hope this helps someone and we all start to come back to life again very soon ❤

    • I’ve been going through depression myself I don’t wash or brush my hair in over a year you have no idea what it became I have to put my hair up in a bun have no more hair left it is all matted I don’t know how to fix it please somebody help me how there I just totally gave up on myself I will do anything in this world to be able to brush my hair again are used to have a beautiful long hair where I try to fix it I got a scissors and cut half of my hair off so I don’t even know what it looks like right now there’s pieces missing out of it and I was scared of the outcome anybody have any suggestions how do I fix this

      • im in the same boat as you…… my hair is completely matted to my ROOTS, if I have to cut it, it will be a short boy haircut): my hair is long down to my tailbone so thatd suck, its been up in a bun for over a year now and with or without an elastic there’s no difference it jsut stays up): im commenting back to ask since you commented in 2020 if there’s anything you’ve done that helped yet? I don’t know what to do):

  9. My hair is So matted that I put a head band in my hair n it looks like its done up in a bun,but in reality there is no elastic is my hair. I can’t get a brush even close to my scalp . anyway getting this out without scissor

  10. Wow… As I read all of your comments tears are rolling down my face… I know it’s been said in almost every single comment but I seriously thought and feel like the only woman so severely depressed enough to stop caring enough to even shower let alone brush my hair. It’s kinda bittersweet to know that I am not alone… I don’t feel so down on myself but I’m so sad that there are so many other beautiful humans going thru this I’ve been trying to unmat this for 3 days now. Tried 6 different products, best friend bought me a special detangler brush and today I’m buying a detangler comb and gonna try 1 more product. Not wanting to cut my hair cuz it’s finally getting long after a pixie cut 4 years ago. I pray you all find the strength to (even if it’s slow, like my own life) love yourselves! Please hear me when I say YOU ARE ALL WORTHY OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS! AND NO ONE DESERVES TO BE PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY OR EMOTIONALLY ABUSED!!!! YOU ALL MATTER AND ARE LOVED!! GOD BLESS

    • I am literally blown away. I’ve had SO MUCH shame I too thought I was the only one, with my little ones even being affected by this tho I try to mitigate that but it’s hard sometimes…. the pandemic has truly exacerbated the isolation or kicked it off for those who were on the brink. THANK YOU everyone for sharing your stories… I won’t even bother since my own is so frighteningly similar to the other women here…it’s Thanksgiving and as I ponder what to do with my enormous matted knot of once beautiful brunette hair, I am still ashamed we are late to dinner @ friend’s but grateful for this tiny ray of camaraderie… ♥️

      • My daughters’ hair seems to get matted every few days. They are 9 and 10 years old, so they are old enough to brush their own hair, although I usually have to go behind them and fix it.

        What’s sad is that a lot of times I throw their hair up in a bun to deal with later. I usually do well for a week or so and then fall off track again and let their hair get matted up again. Their hair tangles so easily, though. It’s so hard to manage and I often feel like a failure when I fall behind and let it go. My depression affects my children too as bad as I wish it didn’t. So any moms here..just saying you’re not alone.

  11. You are ALL speaking my truth!! Thanks for the humility and encouragement everyone..absolutely trying this today <3

    • I concur honey. I thought I was the only one suffering, from this strange onset, of a depression. I have been sitting in the house, with no desire to take care of my hair(matted needs to be detangled), showering on a need to basis, use to love to cook, and take better care of my cats. My family keeps saying that I’m just sad because of the recent deaths in my family. Maybe so, but I must pull out of this black whole, before I have to take meds. At my age, 67, I can’t allow myself to never get to see my grandkids, I allow more time to go by,, as they wouldn’t recognize me. Ok, No more putting off my hair care from day to day. Thanks to these brave, super women and men, sharing their life’s story. It helped me, so much.

  12. I’ve tried the wide tooth comb so many times. none of them has ever worked, I might have to cut my hair to a normal men’s length

    • But why normal? What is considered truly normal to one, may not be normal, to the next person! Just be you. When you look to the mirror, admire what you see. Long hair or short. You have to feel good about yourself. Don’t cut it off and throw in the towel. I’m going to try to detangle my hair,, using a home made mineral oil treatment. Lots of great tips, in this post. Thanks everyone.

    • I don’t, never have considered any men’s hair length to be ‘normal,’ just whatever they prefer. CONFIDENCE with one’s self is the most attractive feature anyone can possess and it translates into their actual appearance, too. Audrey Hepburn is a prime example. She had short hair before it was ‘normal’ to see that much on women–it was the era for long, glamorous tresses. It suited her perfectly, in large part due to her attitude of confidence and her seeming lack of great concern for things so temporary and impermanent as mere appearances. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) now has short hair, has for years, and often cuts her own hair unassisted. My (personal) belief is that the many women who have drastically cut or even shaved their hair throw ‘norms’ to the wind, are unapologetically themselves, and have a confidence far deeper than outward appearances can give a person.

      If shorter hair really isn’t for you: I’d suggest experimenting with the brushes made for detangling (Tangle Teezer, Wet Brush, etc.) and maybe try a good leave-in conditioning detangler. Good luck and try to simply have fun with it!

  13. I broke my arm in 3 spots…can’t brush it. I have long hair…it’s matted and tangled, terribly .Its a ball of hair. Still can’t brush it, can’t get my arm up that high, what to do. Plus no hairdressers are answering their phone.

    • Oh I feel so terribly sorry for you, have you got a friend that could help you? I’m on my own too, my friends don’t live here…

      My suggestion would be to get a good oil, some disposable shower caps. This may take you a very long time but never mind that, using your good arm just put the oil on and then put the shower cap on… leave it… put another one on at bed time, in morning tease your hair out with your fingers.. repeat the process until you feel your hair can use a wide comb or tangle brush, keeping your hair really moisturised whilst your unable to use your other arm will really help you not get more matted hair.
      Can you buy a Blissy Silk pillowcase? This will help your hair from getting matted.

      I wish you all the very best,

  14. Holy cow. I thought I was the only one. I’m 25 and I have a 10month old baby and I think in this whole 10 months my hair has been good for about 5 weeks (spaced out) I hardly have time for me and I have stopped caring for my hair. It’s down to my hips and I need to cut it to my shoulders because I just don’t have the time or energy to care for my hair anymore. I don’t think I’m depressed but who knows anymore. I probably am but less depressed than I was a few years ago so I’m just like I’m not depressed lol. You’re all beautiful and I’m honestly so glad I found this post because it makes me feel less bad about myself.

  15. I came here to find a remedy for a very severe matt (semi close to my scalp, covers 1/2 of my head on the right side – very fine/thin hair – and I am wearing hats and buns for the last 3 seeks because I don’t know what to do.
    BUT rather than just finding a quick answer, I was so moved my the caring, concern, empathy and support of the women on this thread.
    I too have dealt with depression and abuse (thank God I broke free 3 years ago … after 15 yrs) — and it becomes so debilitating and isolating.
    I LOVE HOW WOMEN RALLY TO HELP EACH OTHER!!!! It’s a truly beautiful thing. I’m not a man-hater by any means … but I have observed than most women who have “issues” (called crazy or unstable or aggressive or petty or pessimistic or promiscuous … u know the labels), have all come to acquire these maladaptive coping mechanisms at the hand of a man’s mistreatment or neglect – or can be traced thru a path that leads there.
    I’m convinced that the more we share/encourage/support and give strength to one another, the more we can heal, and work towards prevention. Thank you for ALL for this wonderful reminder, in such an unexpected place!

    • I love your comment. It is inspiring. I am also sad about the emotional and psychological abuse you had to endure. Breaking away from a manipulative narcissist is very hard. I broke up my toxic relationship 2 1/2 years ago and he still texts me everyday. We live over 400 miles apart now, so i’m not physically scared of him, but i don’t block him on my phone because he goes into a rage and starts emailing all my accounts. When I block one email address he just makes up another. So I placate him but I don’t lead him on. It is so stressful. I can’t date because he would get mad and a huge part of me doesn’t want to hurt his feelings – even after all he did to me. I want him to leave me alone, but I would have to go through the hassle of getting a restraining order, and it could backfire. RIght now he doesn’t try to visit me, but if I served him with a restraining order, he might drive up here. I am scared of that. Anyhow I feel for you and i hope you were able to get the matt out of your hair. It sounds like we may be around the same age (since you were in a 15 year relationship) – i just turned 50 and I’m guessing you are in your 40’s. Chemically, there is so much going on in my body because of menopause. So I may try hormone replacement. The SSRI does nothing for my depression and doctor’s aren’t really trying to find a solution for me because covid is almost “over” and they think all these people with depression will just snap out of it when life goes back to normal. I really doubt that. So many people were affected. They lost loved ones, they lost their job, they disconnected from friends and family, they stopped going to the gym, the club and restaurants (where they could interact with people and make new friends. But it’s good that we know other people are feeling the same way. It lets me know I am not broken or isolated, what I am feeling is common and I am not alone. Thank you for helping me with your comments. This is better than any convo on reddit. <3

  16. Thank you ladies for helping me feel more forgiving and less shameful about myself. I have been deeply depressed also and staying in bed whenever I can. All that time in bed has made my ponytail into a tangled mess. I work from home and need to go on zoom, but from the front my hair looks ok. I have some clip-in bangs that really help. I have been washing and conditioning my hair about once a week but haven’t been able to run my fingers through it for a few months. At first, the extra volume in my ponytail was nice, but then I realized it was getting matted like one giant dreadlock. I use a silk pillowcase, but haven’t washed it in weeks. I have changed the sheets, but I get tired and don’t finish putting new pillowcases on. I used to be an athlete, now changing my bed sheets is an exhausting task. Anyhow, you inspired me to put on Netflix and slowly work on small sections of my hair. I used cheap leave-in conditioner because I heard cheap products can have more detangler, which sits on top of the hair and gives a soft feeling, instead of penetrating the cuticle like the high end products. I sprayed each section of hair down and used a vent brush, working from bottom to top. It took almost two hours, but all the tangles are out! A lot of hair came out, but probably not more than what would have shed off if it wasn’t caught in the tangles. Thank you for the inspiration and emotional support.

  17. I just had another thought. I live in colorado, but most of the people i work with live in San Francisco / Silicon Valley. almost all of the women I work with have short hair. long hair is still the fashion here but I think short hair is making a comeback. So if you do decide you need to cut the matt out, You can get one of the cool, short cuts that are becoming so popular. And if there is enough untangled hair you may be able to donate your hair for cancer patients. Several of you said you may cut your hair but you were sad about it. I just wanted to point out some positives if you do have to cut your hair,

  18. Wow, is THIS a story for the sociologists and anthropologists!
    I am like Sailor who commented in April.
    Depressed and have a big ball of matt. Looks like a bun. I’ve washed it a couple times and massaged my scalp, ignoring the damned matted ball. I’ve wet it, put a detangler on, added almond oil, Paul Rogers leave-in conditioner today; but it is such a tight mess I am afraid I’m going to have to cut it out. My hair is past shoulders and fine. I am a girly-girl and would feel less feminine if I had to cut this matt ball out. Some hair at my crown will be only 1″.
    I could go to a hairdresser and I may have to resort to that but with Delta raging and a new diagnosis of melanoma and living alone I am afraid to expose myself to illness, knowing I have myself for care.
    You gals have given me the impetus to keep trying and I will.
    I think washing it and ignoring the matt has def made it worse.
    I swear, this is an amazing snapshot of life during Covid times.
    I KNEW this pandemic would be traumatizing for the world. This is nothing to be cavalier about. It is serious stuff, affecting the whole world
    Just look how social isolation, not going to work, isolating has messed with our minds. That said, I would not go running around outside w/o a mask or be vacationing like normal because it is not yet safe. Be careful. The virus will keep mutating and getting tougher and more complex as it keeps gathering steam off the vulnerable. Be safe everyone and Thank you for sharing.
    I truly don’t feel so alone or so ashamed.
    So we have to hang in there, pamper ourselves if we have the will or energy – I know I won’t be. I can’t even keep my hair going.
    You should see my house!
    I am grateful I searched and found you lovely women, as I don’t feel like such a loser.

  19. I just wanted to say “thank you”. My teenage son has been growing his hair out for a couple of years and I just noticed a couple of days ago that he’s developing mats on the underside. I have no idea if he’ll let me help him with this (he’s at an age where he’s very prickly about getting help from mom with anything!) but if he will I now know what to do and I’m very grateful for the advice (i was prepared to get out the scissors!)

  20. I’ve got hair that goes halfway down my back, but I just started working night shifts (10pm-7am) so when I’m not working I’m usually sleeping. I’ve been showering once or twice a week but haven’t been brushing my hair, just putting it up in a bun. now my hair is matted, someone asked me today if I have dreadlocks . it’s matted right in the middle of my hair for most of my head. I tried brushing it out the other day and after about 30mins got maybe an inch of hair unmatted, but it’s still really bad. I’m so ashamed of it that I haven’t been able to ask anyone for help with it. I also don’t have any friends to call & live with my bf & his mom (she’s a lot older so I doubt she’ll be able to sit w/me for a few hours just trying to brush my hair.) I’ve bought a Kare Co. “detangling hair brush” + L’oréal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water + the No Haircut Cream Leave In + Restoring Shampoo & Conditioner, and even though my hair is soft, it’s still severely matted. I’m going to try dampening it, running scissors underneath the parts I can & brushing it out from bottom to top. I know this will probably literally take a few hours & I’ll end up shedding a lot since it’s been almost 3 months since I’ve been able to actually brush my hair. I hope I can do it & I wish I wasn’t too embarrassed to call up a hairdresser. If it becomes more than I can handle I’ll try calling all the salons near me (I live in Payson, AZ & there isn’t much up here.) I hope it won’t come to that but I can’t keep living w/my hair like this. it’s ridiculous. IF I am able to get my hair unmatted I’ll post again here to explain what all I did in hopes that maybe it’ll help someone else. I’ve gotten to be so lazy that it’s unhealthy when it comes to my hair. I used to dye it a lot & was so proud that it was getting longerm If I can do this w/o having to cut my hait off then I definitely won’t let something like this happen again! But I am VERY grateful that when I googled “how to brush out matted hair”, this was this 1st site that came up bc seeing that I’m not alone had given me enough hope to try to do something about it & knowing that I’m not the only person going through this has helped me feel less alone & less shifty about myself. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

  21. Hi all. I recently had a stroke, was immobilized for a couple months and suffered slight paralysis for a few weeks, so as a result I stayed in bed all day in the hospital, and I’m still coming back from it, slowly regaining strength and movement again. But because of the hospitalization for months on end, staying in bed cuz I couldn’t move, my hair is BEYOND matted and I have already resorted to cutting a good deal of it off cuz I simply didn’t have the strength then to even lift a FINGER, let alone brush my hair. I’m so disheartened by this cuz I’ve always been growing out my hair and I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t want to cut it all off. Do the methods listed here really work/does anyone know of extreme detangling specialists or salons in Austin, TX that deal with stroke patients?

    • My mom has been helping me this whole time and she herself said she’s afraid to cut off any more hair because the matted hair and knots are near my scalp so she’d basically be cutting it all off if she cut anymore.

  22. I have spent days trying to brush out my daughter’s beautiful thin blonde hair but I have made very little progress. We don’t have access to any natural oils because the nearest stores are 2.4 miles away.
    My daughter doesn’t like the idea of cutting her hair and she is scared to go to school until her hair is back to it’s normal self.
    Can anyone please help?

  23. I caught covid and I was so sick for over 2 weeks. I couldn’t move and or take care of myself properly. My hair was so long & thick down to my lower back it became so matted right at the top of my scalp and I had no energy to reach my arms up from being so sick. I suffer from severe depression so this just added icing to the cake. I decided to cut my long hair up to my shoulders but it’s just matted to my scalp & it’s been giving me headaches. I can’t cut my hair off. I can’t imagine doing it. I still can’t get it out. It’s stuck to the top of my head. It’s embarrassing & I’m so depressed. I have to wear it in a bun & everytime I try to get it out I get so stressed & angry I just give up. I’ve tried everything. I don’t go anywhere or take pics with my kids because I look so ugly & I’m embarrassed plus it’s caused dandriff which I’ve never had before, and it’s stuck inside the matted hair so everyone can see it. I just want to get it out & wash it & feel the weight lifted. I’m too embarrassed to go to a hair dresser. I’ve never let myself go like this. I’ve always had beautiful hair. I’m disgusted with myself. It’s hard for me to do normal day to day routine activities like showering & I sleep alot to escape my depression & anxiety. I’m glad that I’m not alone. I thought I was but I’m not glad that others are suffering & I hope we all figure this out together.

  24. Tip from a mother : use a fork for them real bad knots. Yes your regular fork from the kitchen. Just the right size tool. I have long haired kids and sometimes that’s the only way )))

  25. There is no way to prevent tangles if you have fine, straight hair. I’ve struggled with it all of my life. The only thing that ever helped me was a boar hair brush. It gets the tangles out.

  26. I really hope to find something to work. I am 19 and just got married. I don’t know what has happened lately but I have not been taking care of myself. I have no energy , don’t want to brush my hair , or wash it. I have just wanted to stay in bed and do nothing. my hair is currently matted horribly as I haven’t brushed it really since before thanksgiving. It is horrible. I sat one night trying to get all of the nots out but ended up giving up. I feel horrible and so embarrassed but I don’t know what to do. Any advice would be amazing. I have naturally curly hair and it is pretty dry and damaged. It has always tangled easy but it is horrible right now.

  27. Please join my Facebook group, Covid: from humans to zombies

    Another place to share our feelings of sadness, and hope, since Covid took over.

  28. my hair is severly matted for months, and every time i try to fix it clumps of hair have to be ripped out. i haven’t done this recently, but i’m afriad of losing more hair because i can see it thinning on the side. it is so matted it feels like a hat of hair, and one thick clump all stuck together. i really hope doing these steps can prevent me from losing more hair and spare me the pain of having to rip it out.

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