A bad knot is never fun to deal with, but it is possible to unravel it without harming your hair in the process.
woman combing hair bathroom mirror
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Just when you thought your morning hair care routine was going to be a breeze, you wake up to a stubborn knot—one that you simply cannot relieve. If you reach the point where you think your strands will begin to break during the removal process, pause, take a deep breath, and heed the following expert-approved tips. Ahead, hair care experts explain how to free your hair of that nasty knot in no time.

Why Hair Becomes Knotted

When you're battling a bad knot, you might wonder how your strands became so twisted and tangled in the first place. Usually, it comes down to the products you have in your hair. "Hair becomes matted when formulas are not applied correctly," says Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, a celebrity stylist, the founder of TSD Hair, and a Tangle Teezer brand ambassador. "If there isn't enough conditioner or you aren't using the right type of product, hair tends to draw up in knots." The way you sleep can also lead to knots; tossing and turning can result in a nest of tangles. To mitigate this, Anthony Cole, a Sebastian Professional International Artist, says to either tie your hair into a loose, low ponytail with a fabric hair band or wrap strands in a silk scarf. He also suggests sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase.

How to Tackle a Bad Knot

If you are struggling to detangle a bad knot, Cole recommends applying a moisturizing conditioner or mask to the problem area. From there, hold the knot between your fingers and, using an upwards motion, gently comb it through with a fine-tooth comb. "Once the knot is out, shampoo and mask again," he says. "Before brushing or combing your damp hair, spray on a leave-in conditioner." Using this product—he recommends using the Sebastian Professional Potion 9 Lite ($18.96, amazon.com)—will make strands more manageable and avoid additional tangles. If you have a curly or coily curl pattern, consider the Aussie Miracle Curls Leave-In Detangling Milk ($6.99, cvs.com). No matter your hair type, Cole notes that this detangling process should work—just make sure you use the richest mask or conditioner you can find, since a "lighter mask won't provide the slippage needed to detangle the knot."


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