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Removing the Most HARDCORE Tangles!

Have you ever gotten into a jam after you've taken out an extension set and you realized that maybe you left them in an eeeeensy bit too long?  Or maybe you didn't get the tangles all the way out before you tried to Untitled design(132)wash them? Either way, not to worry, I have your fix - and it's really not as bad as you think.

Meet Kat.  Kat has long fine hair.  She had her very first temporary synth dread install in for 2 months.  When they were removed, the hair was tangled and she made the newbie mistake of washing them before the tangles were completely removed.  The result, was somewhere between "Oh GOD" and "Oh NO!"

Don't worry though, for as rough as this looks, its still manageable.  You just need to know what you are looking at and come in armed with some basic skills to remove them.

The knee jerk reaction from many people when tangles are this out of hand is to immediately conclude "We need to break out the shears.  I'm sorry."  Don't listen.  It will be 100% fine, I promise.  First, lets review how we got there.  These tangles were not messing around.  This is one of her mats up close and personal.  When you remove tangles, you need to do so on clean and dry hair.  That is KEY.

It is so importUntitled design(133)ant, I wish I could scream it from the rooftops.  CLEAN AND DRY.  Resist the urge to slather tangles with conditioner or oil.  Coating the hair with product will do two problematic things.  1. It will cause the hair to stretch (as it does when its wet).  When hair stretches, it becomes like tiny strands of stretchy elastic.  All. Stretching. At. The. Same. Time.  It's horrible.  2. The product will stick to itself and create a coating - ESPECIALLY in large amounts, and even more so if you are trying to dry it out and recoat it.  Its like wax on wood - a tiny coat may hide scratches and shine things up, but keep coating it and you have an oozy sticky surface.

So if this is you, and you have coated your hair with product, use a clarifying shampoo twice to remove the product and dry your hair really well.  ONLY then, move on to the detangling process.

Step 1: Make a plan.  Chances are you aren't working with ONE giant mat, but a series of several that are loosely bound together.  Start in one area, Untitled design(134)and begin finding these sections and separating them.

In this image, you can see two dominant mats.  One in the center, and  one to the right that looks like it has two legs.  (Btw, this was how I could tell she just didn't get all of her tangles out from her DE install - the sections were still visible.)

Since the one in the center looks like it has some loft to it, I will start there.  Working ONLY on the last two inches, make sure the hair is free of tangles.  When the hair is free of tangles on the ends, that is the ONLY time when you should work deeper.  Its a great idea to keep a flat iron handy because when you get a section tangle free it will still be frizzy.  Flat ironing the ends before you move up higher will help keep the frazzled ends from fighting you as you move up, and it will give you confidence that you are actually making progress.  :)

Step 2: Now that this section has been detangled, make sure it doesn't come back to haunt you!

I know I said not to wet the hair, but once the hair has been detangled, it can be helpful to wet the hair down to keep it out of your way.  The only caveat - make sure not to get the still tangled hair damp or it will be harder to untangle.  Working in this way, each tangle should only take a few minutes to complete.

Untitled design(135)     Untitled design(136)

Looking like there is light at the end of the tunnel now!  So keeping our guiding principles in mind, we just set course and keep sailing.  I made a video for you, so you could see the process in action.  :)
Side note - Kat came over in a rush, I had two hours before I had to get on a plane.  I would normally show you from the studio, but this was fun, so don't judge.  ;)

You can find the brush I am using to remove the tangles here.  It is my absolute favorite for maintaining hair extensions and for removing tangles.  The bristles are soft enough to bend without breaking the hair but just stiff enough to get in there and do the work.

And in the end, all was restored!  For reference, I've included the amount of hair that was lost in this whole process.  It might seem like a lot, but remember, she had her hair in dreads for two months, so nearly all of this is natural shed being combed out NOT breakage.

Untitled design(137)  Untitled design(138)

Even dreadlocks can be removed with this method.  Its the same process, just a bit longer as the knots will be deeper.  Knotty boy makes a dreadlock remover which does have a conditioner to it - this is the ONLY product that I recommend for deeper tangles.  Unlike normal conditioners, it is designed to be used dry and will not cause hair stretch or build up.

I hope you found this info helpful!

4 thoughts on “Removing the Most HARDCORE Tangles!”

  • Lisa
    July 13, 2020 at 7:05 am

    mine are matted on the right side one big knot with I tips extensions in. Is this with her Extensions in or out?

    • Doc
      July 14, 2020 at 3:36 am

      It is with her extensions still installed. We do offer a more extensive free course on getting mattes out if you are having trouble.

  • Brittany
    July 16, 2020 at 4:50 am

    Hi there... I have a huge "dread" which was unintentionally made over 2 years ago....!! I need advice as to how the hell do I save my hair? I'm so scared that they're going to make me cut it all off!!!! ='( I'm terrified! Please help!

    • Doc
      July 17, 2020 at 5:05 am

      You will go through this same process. Little my little breaking the dread apart. I recommend the Knotty Boy Dreadlock Remover and a lot of patience.

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