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If you struggle with extra tangled hair, you might want to just give up on brushing all together. The key is preventing knots from happening in the first place before you even get in the shower. "Your hair is most fragile when it's wet, so brush out any tangles before it ever touches the water to help make the brushing easier afterwards," explains Siobhan Quinlan, hairstylist and creative director at Art + Autonomy Salon in NYC. If you want to double up on the preventative measures, you can also use a wide tooth comb to brush through your strands while you have conditioner in. Dry, damaged hair is more prone to knots, so never skip conditioner (and if you have fine strands, just avoid your roots).
When you get out of the shower, squeeze or pat your hair with your towel to ring out excess water—rubbing it will cause tangles. Then, spritz in a detangling spray and brush out your strands working your way up from the bottom up. Make sure to hold the section of hair with your free hand so you're not pulling hair from the scalp. Quinlan also recommends choosing a brush made specifically for tangles like the Wet Brush or the Tangle Teezer.
While you can be predisposed to tangles depending on your hair type—fine hair and textured hair tend to struggle the most—tangles could also mean it's time for a trim. "As the ends of your hair split, all of those little pieces intertwine with each other and can cause tangles," explains Quinlan. "A quick inch or so off of the bottom creates a clean finish that's less likely to get mangled."
Yet, even with all of these tips, one of the easiest and most tried and true ways to nix tangles fast and without damaging your hair is with a detangler. Not only will they help knots slip right out, but they also boost shine, condition, and nix frizz. Here are the best ones for keeping strands smooth and knot-free.
Celia Shatzman (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who has penned stories on topics ranging from beauty to fashion, travel, celebrities, health, entertainment, finance and more. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she is a beauty and style contributor at Forbes and her work has appeared in New York, Cosmopolitan, WWD, ELLE, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Travel + Leisure, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Byrdie, Refinery29 and NYLON, among others.
Chelsea Burns is the Beauty Director for Women’s Health and has been writing in the beauty and wellness space for over six years with her work appearing in Real Simple, Health, Fitness, and Byrdie.com. She’s an expert at testing products and is always on the hunt for the best tinted moisturizer.
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