Matted Hair

Brushing long hair
Photo: Voyagerix/Shutterstock
Q: I find that my hair is all matted in the morning when I wake up. I use a treatment on it every week - a Kerastase treatment. It's kind of fine as well, but greasy. When I comb it in the mornings, there's lots of breaking as well. Can you please advise me on what I should do?
A: It sounds as though your hair could benefit from the use of a sleeping cap or a silk/satin pillowcase. If you are a restless sleeper and move your head about in the night, you are rubbing your hair against the fibers of the bedding and are likely roughing up the cuticle of the hair which leads to the hairs catching on one another and knotting, tangling and matting together.
This can be especially problematic if the hair is chemically treated with hair color or a permanent wave. Chemical processing can leave the hair porous and damaged, which already makes it vulnerable to friction damage. You should be using a shampoo and conditioner formulated for fine, limp hair, and should be conditioning the hair daily, even if you don't shampoo.
In addition, when you dry your hair, you need to use a light, spray-on, leave-in conditioner after the hair has been towel-dried, but before you run a comb through it. If you shampoo and condition the hair at night before bed, you need to apply the leave-in conditioner to the hair before you comb it, so that the hair can be combed without tangling. The spray-on conditioner allows you to target the ends of the hair, and avoid the scalp, to help reduce the build-up of oiliness.
And speaking of the oiliness: a couple of tips that can help reduce the oil production in the scalp are scalp massage, which will increase the scalp circulation and regulate the oil production, and cool water rinsing after the hair is shampooed and conditioned, which helps close the pores of the scalp and delays the production of oils.
The treatment you are using weekly is good for strengthening the hair and should be continued, but you may also want to add a deep conditioning moisturizing crème on a weekly basis as well. Apply the conditioning crème, cover the hair with a plastic cap and leave the conditioner on the hair for at least 15 minutes, then rinse the hair with lukewarm/tepid water, followed by cool water. The cool rinse helps to close the cuticle layer of the hair and will help it to remain smoother.
If you must use a hair dryer on your hair, be sure to use on that has a diffuser attachment. With fine hair, it shouldn't increase your drying time too much, and you should, whenever possible, only dry the hair to a "mostly dry" point, allowing it to dry naturally the remainder of the way.
Finally, be very gentle with your hair. Do not use natural bristle brushes, only wide tooth combs and brushes with widely spaced tines. Comb or brush the hair by working your way up from the ends to the scalp in short sections to remove tangles. This should help you to ensure that you keep your hair free from breakage while it is recovering from the damage you have experienced.
See also:
How to protect your hair while you sleep
How to get rid of tangled hair
How to detangle matted hair
Causes and solutions for oily hair