Inside: Tips to help you get knots out of curly mixed hair without yanking or cutting them out.
Mixed curly hair is prone to knots and mats, as you may know.
Not only are they frustrating for you to try to get them out, it probably comes with tears and/or frustration from your kid as well.
Sometimes when I’m detangling my daughter’s biracial hair, I think I’ve gotten all the tangles out and then accidentally pull a knot that I missed.
What I, (and probably all surrounding neighbors) can’t miss, is her ear shattering scream!
Now part of that is, pulling on a knot hurts. I get it, I remember my mom yanking on tangles and knots.
But the other part is dramatic effect…She just really wants me to know just how unhappy she is that I snagged a tangle! (As if I’m purposely pulling it and need to be reminded that it hurts with shrill screams…um no!)
The tears or ear piercing screams are enough to make you wanna just get some scissors and cut it out instead of trying to untangle it!
When your kid has a knot in their hair, it can also be tempting to just pull the comb through, especially if your kid is over it, or you’ve already been trying to get this stubborn knot out for the last fifteen minutes.
While it seems harmless to just pull the tangle out every once in awhile, it’s actually causing more damage than you think.
When you pull out the knot, you’re ripping the hair which’ll cause split ends, those split ends will cause the hair to be more fragile, and it can cause more knots in the future.
Your next go to step if you can’t rip it out may be to cut it out, especially if the knot is big enough, or it’s a mat.
However, cutting it should be a last resort.
While this may be a better option than ripping the knot out, because you’re cutting the hair cleanly instead of causing split ends, if the knot is large or high up on the head, you run the risk of cutting out a lot of hair.
These aren’t your only two options though to get stubborn tangles out. You CAN get knots and mats out of curly hair, but it does require patience!
Again, I realize it’s not easy especially if your kid is young, so while you’re working on getting the knot out, try giving your kid something to do that they enjoy so it takes their mind off what your doing.
Think coloring, favorite tv show, educational games on the tablet, listening to music, having them comb through a doll’s hair, etc.
Before we dive into how to get knots and mats out, let’s find out…
Why does curly mixed hair get matted?
1. Not sleeping with a satin hat or satin pillowcase and sheets.
If you’re not comfortable with your kid sleeping in a satin hat or your kid’s not a fan of them, then you definitely should get some satin sheets and pillowcases. If they’re sleeping on cotton ones, their hair will rub on it causing loss of moisture, tangles/mats and breakage.
Learn more nighttime biracial hair tips.
2. Leaving their hair down all the time, (or sleeping with it loose all the time) will increase the likelihood of getting knots or mats.
3. If the hair hasn’t been detangled in awhile that can cause mats. (I recommend detangling 1-2 times a week unless it’s in a tight protective hairstyle).
4. Not detangling all the way, (or leaving some tangles in during the combing process).
This could happen if you’re rushing, which depending on your kids hair, it can take a long time to detangle!
I totally get wanting to rush through the last section, (or two) of their hair so you can just be done, (I’ve done this and ended up missing tangles).
But it’s worth being thorough because there’s less chance of knots or mats forming.
Read more about the entire mixed hair care routine.
5. If you’ve previously yanked a tangle or knot out, those broken hairs could have curled around other pieces of hair creating a new knot.
(Again, this shows why you don’t want to yank that comb through!)
How do you get knots out of curly mixed hair?
1. First you can start with the hair dry, and with your fingers, pull as many individual pieces of hair out of the knot.
2. Once you can’t get anymore pieces out, soak the matted section with water and then add either a leave in conditioner/detangler, oil, or conditioner and slather it all up in that mat.
Avoid rubbing the knot together though because you don’t want to further tangle the hair. Instead apply it in a downward motion.
3. Next you’ll again use your fingers to try to get as many loose hairs out of the mat as possible. (Hold the hair firmly, as close to the root as you can, so your child doesn’t feel the yanking, a.k.a. pain!).
4. When you can’t get anymore out with your fingers, use a wide tooth comb to help pull apart the strands, and pull them out of the mat, until it’s gone.
A wide tooth comb seems to work better because it’s easier to grab individual strands. A fine tooth comb can end up grabbing too many strands of hair at once.
5. Also, instead of combing through a knot horizontally, try turning the comb so it’s vertical. This can help to comb out individual strands more easily. I’ve had a lot of success with getting knots and tangles out this way!
(Shown on the left is vertically combing through hair. Shown on the right is horizontally combing through hair)
If you’ve tried these steps and the knot is still there, you can leave it and try the process over again the next day.
If you’re still unable to get the knot or mat out, it’s best to go to a salon and have them remove it.
This won’t be a quick process, it does take time and patience. But you can get knots and mats out of biracial hair without cutting or yanking them out.
Although it’s time consuming, it’s beneficial to manually remove a knot because it can save your child from getting split ends and developing future knots, and overall their hair will be healthier!