Unless you are growing dreadlocks, there is no reason for you to want matted hair, especially not when you have extensions in. Caring for your extensions doesn’t have to be a chore or take up hours of your day. With a few simple steps, you can avoid the ‘dreaded’ look and keep your hair in great shape. It will also be easier for you to take care of your hair extensions if they are made of quality hair, just like the ones offered on Canada Hair.
Knots and tangles are nothing compared to the mats that can occur when the hair hasn’t been properly detangled or has too much product build-up, and each strand has decided to stick to the next like super glue. Getting rid of these mats can be a hassle and definitely a workout for your biceps, but the best thing is to avoid them completely in the first place.
In this blog, we will discuss: why your hair gets matted, how to stop it from happening and what to do if you find yourself with a head full of matted hair.
Why do extensions matt
Hair, especially those with any kind of texture seems to have a real affinity for the strands next to it. The same way you may leave a necklace only to come back and find it has decided to wrap itself into miniscule knots, so will your hair. It is a completely natural process for the hair to tangle and eventually form mats, but you can take small actions every day to reduce this effect.
When the hair is wet or full of products, this process occurs faster and is harder to reverse, but not impossible. Moisture on the hair will cause it to shrink really quickly, so that is why it is important to completely dry your hair as soon as possible after washing. If you go to sleep with wet or greasy hair that isn’t tied or secured in the right way, you will be waking up to a guaranteed birds nest and wishing you had spent those few extra minutes taking care.
If you backcomb the hair or usually wear a messy bun, you are staring the matting process, most people will detangle or smooth their hair daily or before any knots can take hold.
Textured hair is more prone to matting as the hair is curly and can even create knots on one strand, these are called fairy knots or single strand knots. They are impossible to remove and have to be cut from the hair. If they are left it, it forms a weak point on the strand that can lead to breakage and will become much larger and more hair gets caught. These tiny knots have to be cut out immediately when they are noticed before they get out of hand.
How to stop your extensions from matting:
Keep your hair styled
Wearing your hair down or loose is not going to cause your hair to tangle unless you find yourself in the middle of a hurricane, in fact, you are more likely to keep your hair looking tip top and pay more attention to it.
Detangling and brushing is very important and should be done at least once a week, but preferably every night before bed. However, if you brush it dry or use the incorrect tools, you may end up doing more damage as the hair will begin to shed, and because it is not growing from the scalp, it will not be able to be replaced therefore you will end up with patchy broken hair.
Start by spraying your hair with a little water or leave in conditioner, you don’t always want to use oil as this will make the hair look limp and greasy. Rake your fingers through the hair starting at the bottom and working your way up. Do this very gently and feel for knots as you go along. If you find a knot, you can spray a little more water and gently tease it with your fingers. Once the hair is sufficiently smooth, then use a paddle brush or wide tooth comb. If you wear your hair straight, you can then use a smaller comb to get out every trace of tangles. When this is done, there is no point just leaving it out as it will only get messy and knotty again, so tie your hair in a ponytail or loose braid to keep it secure. Also sleeping with a satin pillowcase or scarf will prevent friction during the night and stop your hair from rubbing. This will protect the hair, keeping it healthy and shiny thus making it last longer.
If you work or are very active, it’s best to keep your hair away from your face during your sessions as you don’t want to let the hair get sweaty. Plus it will be annoying having it flying around the whole time. If you are a swimmer it is really key, to rinse the hair as the chlorine and other pool chemicals can make the hair super dry. There are blow dryers in the changing rooms for a reason, and while we encourage you to air dry, matting usually happens when the hair hasn’t been fully dried. The roots are where most of the problem happen so give them a quick blast, and you can leave the rest to air dry.
Synthetic hair can get very knotty, however, you won’t need to wash it as much as the fibers are more resistant, but you do need to take more care to keep it looking in its best condition where you are wearing it.
What to do if you find yourself with a head full of matted hair?
If for any reason including but not limited to those above you have found yourself with matted hair, fear not, we will walk you through the process of removing them with as little damage as possible.
Firstly you need to identify the reason for your hair getting in that state and promise to learn from your mistake and NEVER to treat your hair extension so badly again. You have to promise out loud, yes we can hear you.
Ok, now that is out of the way you will need a few items.
- Large bottle of conditioner (make sure it is paraben and alcohol-free). Don’t use your expensive fancy stuff, but not a generic no-name brand either as they can be full of hidden nasties
- Spray bottle filled with water and leave in conditioner.
- Sectioning clips, as it may be a mission to tackle it all at once
- Wet brush or tangle teezer, they are great to use as they don’t get caught on knots even on wet hair so will not cause and unnecessary tension or shedding
- Shower cap
- Snacks – it could be a long afternoon
- Your favorite tv shows because you will need a distraction plus it will make the process more fun
- An extra set of hands, these can be attached to a friend or family member. No pets though.
Start by using the spray bottle to dampen your hair, it will help to loosen any knots and make it easier to work with than water alone. But remember the hair shrinks and stretches a lot when wet so don’t pull or tug it, be very gentle.
If you can split the hair into at least 4 sections and place them securely with the clips, then you want to start on the first section and finger detangle your hair as described above. If there are a lot of mats or it is very difficult, you need to smother the section in conditioner, like really go for it! The conditioner helps to make the strands repel each other, so they are easier to separate due to the electrical charge. (I bet you never thought we could slip in high school science into a hair extensions guide) Just make sure to avoid the roots/bonds/wfts as it could weaken or loosen them.
At this point, you can either cover your head in conditioner and allow it to sit for 15-30 mins under a shower cap before starting or jump right in.
Using the wet brush and going very slowly on the tiny section you can begin at the tips and slowly work your way up and around the head. Once you have detangled a section, twist or plait it, so it stays separate from the rest you are ready to move on to the next section.
When all of the hair has been detangled, you can add more conditioner and leave the hair under a cap for a further 30 mins or until the end of the season on your tv show, whichever is first, then rinse with warm water, air dry and style.
If you complete this process and find that some of the knots are just stuck them you may be able to snip them away without it being noticeable, however, if the mats have been there for a while, you may have to visit a salon or remove the extensions completely.
If you find yourself in this position, the best thing to do is face the problem head-on as it will only get worse if you ignore it. It happens to everyone at some point so don’t be embarrassed or scared to get help.