How to Fix Matted Hair?

by Pam
(Beloit, Wisconsin)

I have a BIG problem that needs a BIG solution!! My granddaughter is 5 and has long hair, mid-back range. It is very thin and can create a mess at times. But now she has done it.

Somehow, she got a HUGE and I mean HUGE matted hair mess in the back, starting at the top of the scalp and goes 1/2 way down the back of her head. It reminds me of a dog with matted hair.

My daughter and I for the last 2 days have tried brushing it out to no avail. All she does is cry which breaks my heart but it is bad! How can you even begin to get this mess apart? You can't cut it cuz you'd have a shave her head! Do you have any suggestions or solutions to get this fixed? Please, we need your expertise and help!!!!!

Couple of suggestions

This problem is common among children with fine baby hair. Their hair texture is much different from adults because of its softness. Even some adults with thin curly hair manage to get themselves into same situation.

The most common reason for matted hair is friction and static electricity created in hair by rubbing it against other materials. It can also caused by bad perm or chemical treatment, but this is clearly not one of them. If hair is rubbed together while the surface charged by static electricity then it starts to get severely tangled and if not treated, larger knot and hair breakage will start to follow.


Wash the hair with a gentle shampoo and use a hair conditioner. Use leave-in conditioner (detangle conditioner) or any other product that can make hair soft and easy to comb. Use your finger at start and rub the product gently on matted area and let the product penetrate the hair and make it soft.

Then you need to comb the hair gently while adding leave-in conditioner. Start with a wide-toothed comb (Do not use any brush) and then change to a smaller comb, as it gets easier to comb through. It might appear as an impossible job at start, but don't panic and have patient. Repeat this every day for several days. It will take a while depending on how badly matted!

During the treatment, some of them start to loosen up and you might even need scissors to cut some of the strands that badly damaged. Healthy hair strands can get tangle by these damaged hair, so it's necessarily to cut them off to avoid more tangle. Use your judgment to see if this is necessarily or not!

If it seems to be totally impossible, I suggest you get professional help and book time with your stylist. They have more concentrated formula that can help your grand daughter.

To prevent and reduce future problems:

  • Never let your children to sleep with wet hair.

  • Never let your kids rub their hair on carpet while playing around.

  • Never use pillows made from synthetic material.

  • Always use conditioner after shampoo to smoothen the hair.

  • Comb the hair twice a day specially every night before sleep.

  • Buy a good detangling spray and use it as soon as you see signs of any tangle.

  • Wish you luck!

    Use Satin Pillowcase

    by: M.S

    I use to have the same problem with my own hair. Soon as change my old cotton pillow with a satin, all was better in the morning. I have curly hair and very fine.

    Gum or glue stick to my kids hair

    by: Anonymous

    Once gum or some kind of glue was stick to my kids hair and I got advice from a friend. He told me to mix couple of tablespoon baking soda with water and a little shampoo and let it stay on hair for 5 min. and then comb it out. And it worked.

    Answers and Comments for How to Fix Matted Hair?

    Add to discussion or post comments

    Jan 28, 2020
    Mask with eggs
    by: Yuliy

    I have the same problem with my hair. The hair mask helped. I use it from time to time. I found it at Mask with eggs. To prepare it, you need to take a yolk and milk, mix it thoroughly and apply it to your hair. It can be distributed over its entire length by brushing. After 10-15 minutes it can be washed off. For the masks to work as effectively as possible, it is recommended that you cover your head with polyethylene and wrap it in a towel after application.

    Dec 24, 2019
    matted hair does not care about your hair type or texture
    by: I Am concerned about hair

    It really doesn't matter if you are a child or adult when it comes to matted hair with tangles and knots
    . Its all hair. Also people don't really take matted hair serious until it happens to their hair.

    It's very distressing, frustrating and depressing.

    Its crucial to seek professional HELP. There are salons callef Tangled hair techs that can detangle and use the Take Down remover product to detangle.

    The key is just don't give up and cut your hair. check out for how to videos as well.

    Oct 01, 2019
    Help! I'm on the edge of just shaving it all
    by: Sabrena

    Okay any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I was I'll and hospitalized for 8days in which my hair was not cared for at all. When I originally went into the hospital I had my hair in a loose messy type bun with no hair tye on top of my head .when I got released 8days later and got home went to take a shower and realized my hair was not being held with any tie but it was one huge matted knot. My hair is down to my rear and I ball my eyes out at just the thought of having to cut if. I can't get a brush in it and I have tried, coconut oil, olive oil,peanut butter, acetone, needless to say only a couple stands have cane out. Please help me I'm going on over a month of my hair looking like this.

    Feb 11, 2018
    Satin pillowcase
    by: Anonymous

    Can it be polyester satin or does it need to be real silk

    Jan 11, 2018
    by: Anonymous sells dread remover shampoo. Did great when I removed dread locks.

    Dec 13, 2017
    by: Beth Chamberlain

    A faulty thyroid can cause both matted hair and tangled hair, but there's an easy fix.

    A full thyroid blood test --and a doctor's prescription of one little pill a day--can solve the problem!

    Jun 19, 2017
    Matted Hair Solutions
    by: LuvsMyKinkyHair

    Get some awesome tips and tools here!

    Apr 25, 2017
    Mattered hair left in pony tail
    by: Anonymous

    Hey so I've had my hair up in an extremely high pony tail then I stopped doing anything to it because I was going through a rough patch so eventually it got to the point where I had to do something cause it looked bad so I would just grasp my hair in a pony tail and run the run the brush on the side so it would just brush the outer layer of my hair underneath that nice layer off hair. I have extremely matted hair at the back and on the sides like up the top is fine but at the back it's so mattered and it looks so bad because it looks so puffy and squishy and you can see through the layer of good hair and see the matts and my hair is blonde so it's easy to spot. I also now have very little hair and it's super thin because it hasn't been able to grow past the matts. I hate my self for it getting so bad and people ask why is your hair like that so I've decided to cut it off and shave it but how would I do that? I also want to do it by myself because I'm embarrassed but what if it doesn't cut through ? Please help xx

    Nov 20, 2016
    by: Anonymous

    I heard someone recommend Wenn hair products. The company is being sued for causing thousands of people to lose their hair. Overconditioning multiple times daily without cleaning scalp is not good.

    Sep 03, 2016
    by: Anonymous

    I let my hair get so knotty, I had 3 massive balls of dreaded hair which had worsen and tightened because I used so much conditioner on my hair (would not recommend conditioner on severely matted had, maybe on littie knots. Use hair oils and stuff ) but after 5 days of none stop brushing with combs and using toothpicks to separate hair that no combs couldn't get to my hair was knot free after it being knotty for about a year!I lost loads and loads of hair but it's better then having no hair!

    Mar 14, 2016
    Matted hair help
    by: Anonymous

    All of the suggestions below are very good. I know brushes are a no no BUT, a "wet brush" has worked miracles IN the shower with lots of conditioner. I like Wen's intensive conditioning balm. Its "the bomb" LOL.

    Dec 27, 2015
    Extremely matted hair
    by: Anonymous

    Hi my sister had been at my hair for the last week and we still can't get the mats out it's to the root and we used bread soda and conditioner and detangling spray and still can't get anywhere with and I really need it out ASAP any solutions plz x

    Dec 28, 2014
    I saw this a lot when I worked as a stylist
    by: Anonymous

    When I worked as a stylist for several years, I saw a lot of this. The people who have a lot of hair on their heads and the hair is baby fine (like mine) will have this problem the worst. What I would do is put all the hair up in a pony tail, except for the last 1/2 inch at the nap of the neck, take a pair of thinning shears, give the hair a gentle twist, cut once then twist the hair the opposite way, and cut once more. This will work for about four to six months, then repeat.

    Sep 15, 2014
    Help is on the way!
    by: Buffy J

    I have dealt with this problem, with all three of my daughters. My oldest is now 9, and doesn't have the issue. However, my little 3 year old has it BAD. She gets matted EVERYDAY! I had been keeping a brush and detangling spray with me at all times... UNTIL, I got so fed up and befuddled. I made a rash decision to try a smoothing shampoo. You know, the kind used for people with unruly, curly hair? Well. It. WORKED!! It is so much easier to brush, and I even have the time to braid it now! Imagine that?!?

    Oct 06, 2013
    to: I have the same thing
    by: Anonymous

    There are some great advices shared on this page. Try some of them and see which one works for you. Let us know how it worked out!? Good luck

    Oct 06, 2013
    I have the same thing
    by: Anonymous

    I have the same thing I am 13 an I have a hard softball sized Matt does anybody know how I can get it out? thanks

    May 02, 2013
    Lemonade will help
    by: Monro

    Take a mist spray bottle, one with fine mist or a plant mister. Fill it with commercial lemonade and spray it all over the matted area when you hair is dry. Leave it for 5-8 minutes. Then shampoo and condition the hair. You will find it much easier to detangle the hair.

    Jul 25, 2012
    How to get severe matting out of hair?
    by: Julie

    Our daughter has a HUGE mat covering the entire back of her hair, from the ends to the crown. The mat is SO hard, that I'm having trouble figuring out what to do next. She's very tender-headed which makes this an even bigger undertaking. 1st: we tried the olive/mineral oil mix with a shower cap (not much improvement). 2nd: I bought sunflower/coconut oil shampoo (not much improvement). Last night I covered her hair with 3 kinds of conditioner, plus Pantene Detangling spray & covered it with a shower cap overnight. I've been trying to brush/comb it out, but it's hurting her head. Does anyone have any ideas on how to demat an extremely hard, large mat in the back of the head? Thank you!!

    Jan 12, 2012
    by: Horseluva

    Hi :) I suggest that you put your granddaughter in a warm shower, and take a good lot of conditioner and rub it into the matted area. then, take a fine tooth comb and comb the mat from bottom to top whilst the water is still running on the hair.

    Dec 27, 2011
    Isoplus...bad products
    by: Anonymous

    NEVER use Isoplus Products they will matte your hair.

    Mar 31, 2010
    by: zoothair

    Comb from the bottom up as you detangle... sorry to say... but a matting comb from a pet store might be needed... it cuts some of the matting out while preserving some of the hair... the best advice is... preventative care... daily brushing to prevent a reoccurence.

    Mar 29, 2010
    Don't laugh, it worked!!
    by: Sherri Rena (curled up in Colorado)

    I have thin, bone straight hair that reaches below my waist. Recently, I experimented with hot rollers, rods actually. The curls were amazing, but, after time, and for 'I don't know' what reason, the curls just sorta grew together into one giant wad.

    I had used the expression "bird's nest" before but never had I experienced anything like this. The next morning, after sleeping on it all night, it took three hours just to part it down the back. Fast forward to DAY 3 and I've gotten 1/4 of my hair back to normal using every kind of conditioner and detangler I could find.

    Facing, at this rate, another weeks worth of constant tedious work at this, I got desperate and... sprayed my hair with PAM cooking spray.
    I see you furling your brow and grimacing. But it actually worked! I'm not inferring that my hair magically fell straight. It did, however, take only two hours to do what had taken two days to do prior to my fateful leap from the vanity table to the pantry. I hope that my bold experiment works for you. Let me know! sherri72 at

    Jan 18, 2010
    by: Anonymous

    My granddaughter has bi-racial hair and it is matted in three different places like a birds nest and I am currently trying Mix Chicks conditioner which did soften it part 1 and also has butter conditioner and I also bought a heat cap and left it on for six hours on and off steamed it in the bathtub and slowly I am seeing some results part 2 will be the comb our now that i have it soften up.
    wish me luck

    Dec 28, 2008
    Thick, fine, long hair at 7 years old BIG problem
    by: Dorothy Hall

    My granddaughter has beautiful, long red naturally wavy hair. She loves her hair and doesn't want it cut. It tangles so badly she cries every-time it is fixed. We have been buying BRUSHES of every kind and now I learn that's a no-no! Common sense should have told me brushes cause static electricity when friction of the brushes passes through them. I will try everything suggested in this column and let you know how successful I am.I do not like leaving a lot of conditioner on her her as it looks heavy and dirty but I will try a light film of leave-in! Thanks so much for helping with a BIG PROBLEM a lot of people have to deal with

    Nov 13, 2008
    Hair Detangler with yummy scent
    by: Anonymous

    You add 1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and one cup water in a small saucepan. Mix together for 30 min on low. Once cool down pour into a spray bottle and spray on damp hair. Comb through immediately.


    Sep 24, 2008
    Take Down Removal Cream Detangler
    by: Anonymous

    Please try the the Take Down Removal Cream. It is a great detangler for kids and the best in the hair industry for saving matted and tangled hair.

    This product removes dreadlocks-which is hair that has been matted for years. It really softens the hair. visit their website.

    Happy detangling

    Add to discussion or post comments

    Join in and write your own blog page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Hair and Scalp Problems.

    Search Our Site
    Back to Top