How to Detangle Severely Matted Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide (No Matter Your Hair Type) | Flora finesses beauty

How to Detangle Severely Matted Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide (No Matter Your Hair Type)

November 16, 2023 3 min read


Few people can escape the horrors of knotted hair—the babies, the balding, and the buzz-cutters are pretty much the only ones safe. For the rest of us, knots are an unfortunate part of life. 

While a good detangler and hair brushing can usually fix your everyday tangles, sometimes those knots and tangles take on a life of their own. In those situations, we’re faced with the upgrade no one asked for: What were once simple knots and tangles become deeply intertwined, lumped together mats. And matted hair is no joke.

While your first thought might be to grab the scissors, fight that instinct. With the right tools and temperament, getting rid of mats from your home is possible. Read on for advice from hair health expert Shab Reslan and trichologist Bridgette Hill on removing mats and how to avoid matted hair altogether.


Matted hair is a combination of attached and shed strands that twist together to form clumps—think traditional knots and tangles, but worse. While everyday knots can be removed fairly easily, mats are tough, if not altogether impossible, to remove with a brush or comb alone. 

Hill describes matted hair as “hair fibers that become intertwined around each other in a tight interlocking pattern that become fused, creating a cluster or clusters of an unorganized mass of hair fibers.” And while those with drier or textured hair types, like curls and coils, are certainly more prone to matted hair, it can happen to anyone. 

The number one cause of hair matting, according to Reslan, is product buildup on the hair shaft from styling products, improperly shampooed hair, conditioner or hair masks left in for too long, and the like. Over time, that buildup eventually makes hair so dull and coated that strands easily tangle together due to the ensuing friction.

Hair can also become matted from a lack of hair brushing, combing, and other detangling methods, Hill mentions. When tangled, hair fibers lack moisture and can become intertwined, eventually leading to mats. Other causes include improper use of hair accessories or hair ties, long stints without trims, and failure to protect hair overnight.


Here’s the good news: Cutting matted hair is the absolute last resort. That being said, Hill warns that the key to detangling extreme mats is having patience—and being prepared with the proper tools. As for the tools, she suggests the following:

  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Detangling brush
  • Pin-curl or rat-tail comb

Watch this short video to learn how to detangle hair.



Congratulations: You’ve successfully de-matted your hair. Now you want to avoid future mats. The key here, according to Hill, is practicing proper scalp and hair care, using accessories designed to prevent tangles and snags, keeping the ends of hair hydrated with a light serum or leave-in treatment a few times a week, and scheduling regular haircuts. For long hair, or hair prone to knotting, consider protecting your strands at night with a silk pillowcase, scarf, or bonnet.


Matted hair is an absolute pain to deal with, even with the right tools and techniques. In an ideal world, we’d avoid matted hair altogether, but we know this isn’t the case. Life happens, and mats happen.

Luckily, the right tools and techniques—and a whole lot of patience—can most likely save you from a major chop. So find your inner peace, grab a great comb, and get to de-matting.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Complete Hair & Feet Care: Tips and Treatments for Healthy Living

Natural Beauty Tips for a Glossy, Confident Summer in Europe
Natural Beauty Tips for a Glossy, Confident Summer in Europe

May 28, 2024 7 min read

Read More
The Dos and Don’ts of Straight Hair Maintenance
The Dos and Don’ts of Straight Hair Maintenance

May 07, 2024 6 min read

Effortless Shine: Straight Hair Care Essentials Unlock the secrets to maintaining the sleek, radiant look of straight hair with our expert guide. Discover the daily dos of gentle washing and heat protection, the don’ts that could lead to damage, and the right techniques for washing and styling. Learn the importance of choosing suitable hair products, the role of regular trims, and how to manage tangles and frizz. Embrace these simple yet effective strategies for long-term care and keep your straight hair looking its best. Dive into our blog for all the details and transform your hair care routine today!
Read More
Must-Have Beauty Tools: How an Electric Eyelash Curler Fits into your Beauty Regimen
Must-Have Beauty Tools: How an Electric Eyelash Curler Fits into your Beauty Regimen

April 17, 2024 6 min read

Read More

Sign up for our Newsletter