Fixing Tangled and Severely Matted Hair After Hospital Stay

A disappointed black female with matted hair strands is combing through her hair with a wide-toothed comb after using detangling spray on lightly dampened hair.

When you were in the hospital, we’ll bet the only thing on your mind was your health. Your hair care routine was simply not a concern. Unfortunately, after being released from extended hospital stays, some notice that large, stubborn mats have formed in their hair.

Does this situation sound familiar?

If you’re dealing with a matted hair nightmare, this article is for you! We’ll tell you how to fix the problem and how to prevent it from reoccurring should you find yourself in the hospital again. 

Detangling Severely Matted Hair After Hospital Stay

Detangling severely matted hair after a hospital stay is no easy feat if you don’t know what you’re doing. But you’ll find that it’s 100% doable after reading the information in this section. Keep reading for some easy-to-follow instructions for detangling the most severely matted hair.

With a disappointed expression, she diligently combs through her tangled hair strands, determined to untangle the matting.

Get the Right Supplies

To detangle severely matted hair, you’ll need to hop in the car and go to your nearest beauty supply store or get to shopping online. To make the detangling process as painless as possible, get the following supplies: 

It’s impossible to get through those mats and tangles with dry hair. The problem with dry hair, in this instance, is that it won’t be able to easily glide past neighboring strands.

To make your hair easier to detangle, you’ll need to wet down your hair with good old H2O. If you have access to a shower, you can simply stand under your shower head and let the water run over your hair.

This works for those who have just a few small mats they need to work through; no one wants to stand in the shower for hours working through dozens of large mats. If you suspect you have a ton of detangling to do, skip the shower and fill your spray bottle with water.

The water should be room temperature or warmer. You shouldn’t use piping hot water, as it could burn you. Once you’ve filled up your water bottle, move on to the next step. 

The matted hair extensions in her afro-textured hair require extra care and patience to untangle without causing damage.

Prepare the First Matted Area for Detangling

Before you begin detangling your hair, you’ll need to do a little preparation. We urge you not to skip this step, as doing so could lead to greater frustration and more hair breakage.

This preparation step primes your hair for the detangling process and goes like this: 

  1. Spray your hair with water. Ensure your matted hair is completely wet – this means that it needs to be drenched all the way through. Any dry areas within the mats could make it difficult to detangle. 
  2. Apply a slippery detangler or conditioner to your hair. The product you choose should be extremely slippery. The slipperier the product makes your hair, the better it is for the detangling process. With your strands super slippery, your strands will be less likely to snag onto other strands and remain matted. Be generous with the product to ensure even coverage. Your hair should be the color of the detangler by the time you’re done. Don’t know which product to choose? Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner/Detangler is known to be the prime product for a situation like this. It coats your strands in a slippery film that will help your detangling tool glide through your strands with ease. 
  3. Separate your hair into 4 sections. To ensure you don’t miss any mats, it’s essential to section your hair. Sectioning will also make the detangling process a bit more manageable. Use your hands to gently separate your hair into at least 4 sections and secure each of them with an elastic or clip.  
  4. Wait for at least 10 minutes. Waiting may be the last thing you want to do, but it’s necessary to ensure the detangling product you applied to your hair is able to penetrate. You need the product to make your strands pliable, and it takes a few minutes to make that happen. 
She uses a fine-toothed comb to carefully work through her hair, starting from the ends and working her way up to prevent breakage.

Work the Mats Out

With your matted hair prepped and ready to be detangled, you’re ready to get to work. This is the hardest part of the detangling process, but with a little patience and perseverance, you can get it done.

Follow the below instructions to work the mats out: 

  1. Use your fingers to try to loosen up one of the mats. It’s never a good idea to start detangling a matted area with a comb first. You can better feel the knots and tangles with your fingers than with a comb. Try your best not to use your nails to pull the mats apart, as nails can damage the outermost layer of your hair and even break strands altogether. If you notice your hair is starting to dry out, spray the section with water again. You don’t want the hair to dry as you’re detangling. 
  2. Stop and look at your progress. Get yourself a mirror and look at your mat. If you see any huge knots, pull those apart with your fingers. You can also use the end of a rat-tail comb to help you work through the knots. Be very gentle with the rat-tail comb. 
  3. Comb your hair with the wide-tooth comb. Get your wide-tooth comb and try detangling the matted section. After having detangled your hair a bit with your hands, your mat should no longer be in a knotted ball. Take your time and be gentle with the wide-tooth comb. It’s very easy to rip through the hair with a comb. If you hear any snapping sounds, you’re breaking hair strands. Use your hands to assist here and there when you come across any knots. 
  4. Get the detangled hair out of the way. When you’re finished detangling that section, get it out of the way so it doesn’t re-tangle. 
  5. Move onto the next mat and repeat the process from step 1. 
Her waist-length hair, dripping wet with detangling spray, demands her gentle touch to prevent matted hair in the future.

How Long Does it Take to Remove Mats? 

Removing mats is more of an art than a science, and every mat is different from the next. Some mats may only take a few minutes to detangle, while others take a half hour or more. You’ll need to be very patient and prepared for the process to take a very long time, even if it doesn’t. 

Do You Need Scissors to Detangle Matted Hair?

When people see just how bad their hair is matted, they may think they’ll need scissors to get the matted hair out. That’s not necessarily the case. If you follow the instructions above, there’s a good chance you won’t need to reach for the scissors.

But if you don’t have enough patience and fail to follow the instructions above, you just might get so frustrated you end up cutting away the mats. To prevent this, know that the process is difficult and prepare yourself for a marathon rather than a sprint. 

With the help of moisturizing conditioner and olive oil, she aims to untangle matted hair, hydrate her hair and minimize brittleness and shed hair.

Can You Get Your Severely Matted Hair Detangled Professionally?

Sometimes you may not be up for detangling your severely matted hair yourself. If that’s the case, you can reach out to a stylist or hairdresser in your area, as many salons offer detangling services.

Just be sure to call the salon before you walk in to confirm whether they provide the service. You don’t want to waste your time going to the salon only to be turned around soon after.

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So, there you have it–step-by-step instructions for detangling severely matted hair after a hospital visit. We hope you found all the information you needed to get your hair back in good shape, and we wish you the best with your hair and health!

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