Matted Hair

Combs and scissors to un-mat hair
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: Hey, I'm just wondering: is there an oil I can get for my hair to try to un-mat it? I suffered with depression for a while, and I let my long, curly hair go crazy and now it's all matted. If you could help me in any possible way, I'd be very grateful.
A: Well, the first thing I suggest is to get a small assortment of combs with varying tooth-widths. You'll need at least one wide-tooth comb, a comb with moderate-width teeth, and a normal two-ended styling comb. You'll use these in descending order of size to slowly try to unravel the hair.
You also need a good leave-in conditioner/detangler. There are several companies that make them so choose the one you like best. In addition, pick up anti-frizz/smoothing serum as well. These products will help to seal the cuticle layer and make the hair easier to untangle.
I warn you now, sometimes matting can prove too difficult to remove and some women find it easier to simply cut the hair and "start fresh". When you undertake this, it's likely going to be a long and tedious process, so be very patient and work carefully.
When you are ready to begin, spray the hair with the leave-in conditioner/detangler, but only the areas of the hair you are going to be working on at the moment. If needed, press the hair with your fingers to aid in penetration of the product. Apply the anti-frizz serum in the same way - by patting the hair. Don't "rub" the hair at all. If you do, you risk making the matting worse.
Once the section of hair is saturated with product, use the widest tooth comb and work from the ends to the scalp along the hair shaft. Take tiny steps, no more than a centimeter at a time. As you reach a point where you can get the wide toothed comb through the hair, shift to the next smaller size and repeat the process, until you can use the standard styling comb and your hair is tangle free.
You may want to have small scissors on hand, in case you encounter a real snarl that you don't think you can untangle. A single vertical snip will often release these real problem knots. And in the worst case, it enables you to make progress in the untangling without sacrificing significant length.
With curly hair, there's a good chance that unless you have to snip out a lot of knots, the cuts you are forced to make will be unnoticeable once you've finished and the hair is dried and styled.
I wish you the best of luck.
See also:
How to get rid of tangled hair
How to minimize post-shampoo detangling
Detangling conditioner