One of the most common frustrations is hair tangling. It can be a simple tangle, leading you to tug on your brush or comb in an attempt to remove it, or you may have a very serious tangle, which is often referred to as a ‘snarl’. I suppose it’s called a snarl because of the immense frustration it causes, and you really do curse and snarl at it. Sometimes it is impossible to get a comb or brush through it, and unless you handle it correctly, it can result in a ‘rat’s nest’ – a ball of hair like a nest and as hard as a tennis ball. Such severe tangling is unusual, and it results from a combination of circumstances such as hair coloring, bleaching, perming, breaking and falling hair – and most of all inadequate care before, when and after shampooing. You will already have read how to shampoo your hair correctly and how important it is to remove tangles first. Tangles should be removed gently with a wide toothed saw-cut comb. Start at the ends, remove those tangles, then go a little farther up and so on until you can easily pass the comb through your hair from roots to ends. Never start at the roots and never use a brush to detangle, although a brush may be used gently when all the tangles are out.
The reason for tangles is that the hairs’ cuticles interlock with each other. The hair cuticle should be smooth. When it is raised, which can occur with various hair chemical processes or shampoos or back combing, they more easily interlock with the surrounding hairs – a bit like Velcro. Occasionally, if the tangles are particularly bad – you may have been out in the wind or slept badly for example – a light-weight conditioner smoothed through your hair first can be very helpful. It doesn’t matter how much you put on, as it’s going to be washed out anyway. And of course use plenty of conditioner after shampooing.
Fine hair tangles more than coarse hair because there are more hairs to tangle – and chemically processed hair tangles more than virgin hair.