Posted on: January 28, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 2

Long hair is still very much in fashion. While it takes more patience and time to take care of your long flowing locks, it pays to keep it looking shiny and clean. Long hair is not without its share of troubles and annoyances. Among the most common hindrances to having great looking hair are hair knots. Not only does knotted and matted hair look dirty, but it can also result to hair breakage and hair loss. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with more bad hair days. With a bit of work and care, you can get rid of hair knots and bring back that smooth salon shine in your hair.

What Causes Hair Knots?

Dreadlocks, braids, and other hairstyles are very popular, and are examples of knots that look good on hair. Knots that make your hair look knotted and messy are caused by many things, including:

  • Split ends. The ends of your hair are rather frail and weak compared to the roots and the base of a hair strand. Split ends are caused by physical stress to the hair, or damage resulting from heat and chemical treatments. Over time, split ends can cross over to healthy shafts of hair and form knots.
  • Rough hair. Healthy strands of hair are smooth and strong. Sun damage, chemical damage, and poor hygiene can cause hair strands to form scales and a flaky surface. Strands of hair can find their way in between scales, and cause knots to form.
  • Heat damage. Salon treatment tools like hot blow dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners can cause damage to your hair.
  • Wind and water. Not all types of long hair cascade in the wind or get weighed down by water. Some hair types may tangle when messed up by strong winds or when doused with water.
  • Dry hair. The number one cause of hair knots is dry hair. Hair is made from proteins, and need to be replenished with moisture. Dry, tangled and matted hair is more prone to hair knots than healthy, rejuvenated and shiny hair.

Now that you know some of the common causes of hair knots, it’s time to bring back that smooth shiny hair that seems to glow with a light from within.

Comb It

You may not know it yet, but lots of people have a lot of hair knots. Breezes, sun damage, and other factors can give you hair knots that you may not notice at once. From time to time, you need to comb your hair and keep the strands in place.

If you really want to keep your hair looking fantastic, you need to keep at least four types of hairbrushes and combs:

  • A fine straight comb
  • A straight comb with wide-spaced teeth
  • A very fine hairbrush with natural bristles
  • A wide-toothed hairbrush with soft artificial bristles

Comb Properly

Many tangles and knots are caused by improper hair combing and brushing techniques. The key in combing is to take your time, and cover as many hair strands as you can in a single brush stroke. People have many beliefs about combing, and some of them are very helpful when it comes to untangling and removing hair knots:

  • Use short strokes. Some people have the tendency to use long, sweeping strokes whenever they comb their hair. The best way to comb your hair is to start from the ends, and work your way up with progressively longer strokes.
  • Comb at an angle. The key to getting that shiny salon shine with a comb is to maximize the surface area of the tool. Instead of using the straight comb perpendicularly, comb at a 45 degree angle along the length of your hair.
  • Brush. Some people forget to use hairbrushes and simply use a comb to fix up their hair. A good quality hairbrush works wonders for removing tangles, preventing knots, and giving your hair a smooth and shiny luster. Always have two flat hairbrushes on hand; one with fine natural bristles, and one wide-toothed plastic hairbrush with soft bristles to keep your hair looking at its best.

Use Conditioner

Knots are a pain to remove, especially if they get stuck or tangled in between the teeth of a comb. The easiest way to remove the knot is to apply hair conditioner to your fingertips, and gently rub the knot away. Try to stay away from shampoo and conditioner formulas, because you’re not after cleaning the hair as much as you’re removing the knots.

For best results, comb your hair afterwards with a fine-toothed comb. Leave-on hair conditioner is best for this purpose, especially if your hair is dry and you don’t have time to go to the salon, the sink, or the bathroom. Conditioner also helps replenish lost proteins and nutrients on your hair strands.

Moisturize Your Hair

Dry and matted hair is more prone to tangles and knots. Some shampoos and other hair treatments can damage your hair and deplete it of moisture. Gels, waxes, and sprays tend to dry out your hair and cause flaking and breakage. Aerosol hair sprays that contain CFCs are also dangerous to the environment. Gels and sprays are also sticky, and cause more tangles than they fix.

As much as possible, try to use hair creams to style and fix your hair. Creams, along with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, can help restore the moisture content of your hair. You can also use mousses and water-based hair treatments if you want added body and volume for your hair. Check the ingredients on the bottle first before using the hair treatment. If it contains heavy metals like zinc, manganese, or other toxic ingredients, then don’t use it. Opt for natural ingredients like aloe vera, coconut extract, menthol, vitamins, and amino acids.

Wear a Ponytail

If you have messy or light hair, one of the best ways to prevent it from tangling is to wear your long hair in a ponytail. While it feels good to let your hair down, it can get tangled by breeze, friction, movement, or when you sleep. A ponytail or any other hairstyle prevents your hair from getting tangled or messed around. Avoid braids, knots, corn rows, and other complicated hairstyles that give your hair more knots.

When you use a ponytail, avoid ones with metal trim or plastic decorations that get in the way of your hair. A simple one made of cloth-covered elastic or a simple neoprene elastic band is enough to keep your hair in place. Barrettes, pins, and clips are also a great way to keep your hair in place.

Protect Your Hair

Sometimes a ponytail or a braid is not enough to keep your hair in place. A hat, a cap or a bonnet is useful if it’s windy outside, and your hair cannot handle the stresses and pressure of wind and weather. Make sure that before you wear headgear, your hair is dry and combed properly. Some of your hair strands may end up fussed up and stuck to the fibers of your hat.

Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D, which is good for your hair. While you should give your hair as much sunlight as it needs, it also helps to avoid direct sunlight. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible. If you’re on the beach, stay under a beach umbrella if you have dry hair. It also helps to keep your hair wet. There are also some leave-on hair conditioners that act as sunblock.

Get a Haircut

If knots and tangles are a big problem for you, you may need to get a haircut. Trimming split ends is usually enough to get rid of knots at the ends of hair. If you have difficult to remove hair knots way up the shaft, chances are you have a hair disease. Hair diseases like trichorrexis nodosa (bamboo hair) are not fatal or life-threatening, but there’s little you could do about it, unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars for a full hair rebonding treatment.

When this happens, you often have no other option than to cut your hair above the knots. The good thing about a haircut is that it gives your hair a chance to grow and restore lost proteins. Long hair requires a lot of maintenance to be shiny, supple, and clean. Shorter hair is more manageable than flowing locks, and is less prone to knots and tangles.

Besides, it’s just hair; it will grow back.

Keeping your hair looking at its best takes a lot of effort, patience, and maintenance. A few knots and kinks here and there are normal, but too many knots can spoil your perfect flowing locks. With these simple hair care tips, knots and tangles will never be a problem again, and you’re just one step closer to that shampoo commercial hair you’ve always dreamed of.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of hair knots.

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