Braids are a cult-favorite protective hairstyle among those with coily curls. It’s a fantastic way to make your hair more manageable while keeping it frizz-free. And the best part is it makes for an awesome, head-turning statement look.
But when it’s time to take your braids out, the high from sporting a gorgeous style for the last few weeks starts to go down. Now, you’re left with a new problem: taking care of knots, tangles, and a whole lot of matting. And most of the time, it takes a whole lot of elbow grease to fix them.
If you don’t detangle your post-braid knots the right way, you could end up with lots of shedding, breakage, and hair fall. So, you need to take extra care of your locks as you comb out those tangles.
Using the right products and techniques for detangling is a must if you want to maintain the integrity of your strands post-braid.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you some basic steps on how to remove knots from hair after braids.
The steps will help you easily get those stubborn, pesky little knots out of your hair after you finally let your braids down.
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Why Do I Have Knots In My Hair After Taking Out Braids?
You might be wondering why your hair even has knots after taking your braids out in the first place.
It’s completely natural for this to happen – many women will go through it after taking out their fave braids after a few weeks. But what causes it to begin with?
Knots from braids aren’t your ordinary tangles that are caused by your hair strands snagging onto each other after a windy day.
They’re a lot more complicated than that.
A lot of why knots form in the first place is because of the dirt, oil, and products that get trapped in your hair while you keep it in braids.
Since you’re not regularly taking out your braids and washing your hair, there can be debris stuck in your locks without you noticing.
Couple that with the fact that curly strands naturally twist around each other, and you’ve got an increased possibility of getting the most stubborn knots you’ve ever seen.
Knotting and matting usually happen when you leave your braids in for many weeks to months.
If you take your braids out after one or two weeks, you might not get any tangles at all.
But if you wait up to two months, you’ll probably find several huge knots that are challenging to handle.
But don’t worry!
As I said, knotting is completely normal among women who braid their hair.
It doesn’t mean your hair is unhealthy or damaged – it’s just clumped together.
As soon as you detangle your mane, it will be back to its smooth, luscious curls.
How To Remove Knots From Hair After Braids
When you finally uncoil your braids, don’t go ham with a hairbrush and detangle your hair on the spot.
Removing those knots takes a lot of time, so you need to be patient.
They’re not the regular knots you wake up with after a night of tossing and turning in bed.
They will likely be a lot more stubborn.
Thus, more work and effort have to go into getting them out.
And if you’re not careful, believe me when I say you’ll regret it very fast.
Detangling stubborn knots with lots of oil, dirt, and product build-up will make your hair very prone to breakage.
So, being slow, careful, and gentle with your hair is your only option.
Here are the four key steps to detangling your knots properly after taking out your braids:
Finger Comb With A Detangling Spray
After you finally let down your braids, you might get the urge to jump in the shower and wash your hair right away after going months without doing it.
But do your best to stop yourself.
It’s important to detangle your hair first before shampooing it.
Or else, you’ll end up with more matting and knots.
The first step you need to take after untying your braids is to detangle your hair with your fingers. This is the gentlest possible way to work through knots, so it’s a great initial effort.
If you start with a comb or brush right away, you might rip out your strands, especially if the knots are very stubborn.
Using your fingers to detangle allows you to feel what is happening to your hair, so you can be as gentle as possible to it.
Coating your hair with a detangling spray with tons of slip can be a huge help in finger-combing.
It reduces the friction between the hair, making it easier to smoothen it out.
One that I personally love to use on my curly hair is the Not Your Mother’s Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Detangler.
This detangling spray is made with mango butter and gardenia flower extracts to moisturize the hair deeply.
When the hair is hydrated properly, it’s easier to take the knots out.
The silicone- and sulfate-free formula is also great for boosting curl definition and shine for the rest of your locks.
Spray this detangler into each section of your hair and work your fingers through them.
Take your time to slowly pick apart the knots.
Never tug too much on your hair – let the detangler do the work for you.
In no time, you’ll be left with smooth, tangle-free hair that you can run your fingers through from root to tip.
Use A Wide-Tooth Comb
The next step is to use a wide-tooth comb to run through your entire mane.
Now that your fingers have done the legwork of getting most of the big knots out, you can go ahead and brush it out.
But don’t pick up that hairbrush with a hundred hard bristles on it.
Go for a gentler wide-tooth comb instead.
If you use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush with wide spaces in between the bristles, you’ll be using a lot less tension on your hair.
It’s going to make it painless too, so your detangling will be comfortable and won’t cost you unnecessary shedding.
When combing your hair, start from the bottom and work your way toward the upper sections.
If you start from the root right away, the comb might get stuck on an unexpected knot.
And if you pull it down with force, you might make it even worse and more matted.
As you run your comb through your locks, feel free to spray more detangler in them.
The comb will be able to take out more of the knots that were likely too small for your fingers to fix.
But don’t pressure yourself to make your hair completely tangle-free.
The next steps can help with insanely stubborn knots.
Wash Your Hair With Clarifying Shampoo
Up next in how to remove knots from hair after braids is washing your mane with clarifying shampoo.
Now that your hair is a lot smoother and has fewer tangles than when you first took out your braids, you’re ready to wash it.
Many stylists will recommend you use a hydrating shampoo, which is always good for coarse, curly hair.
But if you still have a few stubborn knots in your hair due to a build-up of dirt and debris, a clarifying shampoo will work wonders for you.
Because your hair was in a protective style for a long time, there’s bound to be a lot of build-up in your strands.
This could even be the main cause of your knots and tangles, to begin with.
A clarifying shampoo can thoroughly wash out all those stubborn oils, silicones, and dirt in your hair that could be the culprit of tangles.
One that is designed specifically for curly hair is the Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo.
It gently yet effectively gets rid of product build-up and gunk in your hair without drying it out.
Using a clarifying shampoo is terrific for your first hair wash post-braids.
But afterward, stick to a moisturizing shampoo to help nourish your tired strands.
Follow Up With Hydrating Conditioner
Since a clarifying shampoo can be quite drying, follow up with an ultra-moisturizing conditioner or hair mask.
Not only will this replenish the hydration in your hair, but it will also make it easy to take out the last few knots and tangles that don’t want to let up.
Concentrate your application of the conditioner or hair mask on stubborn knots.
Let it settle in your strands for about five or so minutes, and then detangle your hair using your fingers.
The conditioner will increase the slip factor in your strands, making it easier to pull knots out with low effort.
It’s kind of like using soap to pull a ring out when it’s stuck on your finger.
Tangles are a nightmare to deal with, whether you’ve just taken out your braids or not.
It’s especially delicate when your hair is dry and coarse.
One wrong move, and you’ll be susceptible to the terrors of breakage and shedding.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to remove knots from hair after braids, make sure you undertake every step above.
Do the detangling process gradually, going from fingers and detangling sprays to washing your locks with a clarifying shampoo you can find to get the job done.
Moisturizing and slow detangling are key steps if you want to get rid of those knots in a jiffy.
They’re going to make detangling a lot easier.
Just remember to be patient, take your time, and always be gentle with how you handle your hair – no matter how frustrating the knots can be.