How Do You Untangle Severely Knotted Hair?

Most people will deal with severely knotted hair at some point, so if you’re dealing with it now, don’t fret. Even if your knots are very bad, you can still get rid of them if you take the necessary steps. In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for how to get through those knots without breaking a sweat. 

Step-By-Step Detangling Instructions for Severely Knotted Hair

Patience is critical when detangling severely knotted hair - if you rush through the process, you could end up with considerable hair damage. With that understood, here are the steps you need to take to go from a tangled mess to the detangled locks you're used to. 

  • Hop in the shower and saturate your hair with water. Dry-detangling your hair may work regularly, but when you have substantial knots or mats, you should detangle your hair wet. If you don’t have time to get in the shower, grab a spray bottle of water and spray your hair until it is dripping wet. 
  • Apply a slippery conditioner, detangling spray, or leave-in conditioner to your hair. For this part, you will need a very slippery product. Apply the product very liberally and focus on the areas of your hair that are extremely tangled. 
  • Allow the product to sit on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so will give your hair enough time to soak up the product and become more pliable. 
  • Use your fingers to loosen up the knots. With your fingers, try to loosen up the knots. It could take several minutes to loosen up a really stubborn knot, so be patient with yourself and take breaks as needed. If your hair begins to dry, wet it again and apply more product. 
    • Pro tip: Never use your nails or other sharp objects to detangle your hair, as this can break your hair or damage your hair shaft. Use the pads of your fingers instead. If you must use something other than your fingers, make sure that the end of the object is smooth, not rigid.  
  • Comb or brush your hair out. Once you’ve detangled your hair as much as possible with your fingers, break out your wide-tooth comb or shower brush and finish the job. Detangle your hair very gently and take your time. If you come across a tangle that you missed in the previous step, put down your brush or comb and use your fingers to remove the knot. 
  • Rinse thoroughly. If you use conditioner to detangle your hair, rinse it out thoroughly.

With these instructions, you should be able to remove virtually all tangles from your hair. But at the same time, it’s essential to know the limitations of detangling. If you’ve got tight knots in your hair that are impossible to remove after going through the steps above, cutting them out may be the only option (though this is uncommon). We wish you the best as you tackle those stubborn knots and tangles. 



Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.


Daily Dose Team

Hi Burnadee! It absolutely works on kids! Our leave in conditioner is great at detangling hair!

Burnadee Nixon

Does this work on kids. I have a tender headed 4 yr old who’s hair has not been combed in 3 eke. Her mom is asking me for help

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