Natural hair extensions tangling is probably one of the most frustrating things that can occur to you. If you have ever had to deal with it, you know that it can make your extensions feel like they are falling apart. If the hair is all knotted up, the knots can become tighter and tighter until it feels like you are going to tear your hair out trying to get the knots out. If this is you don’t throw in the towel yet because this blog post is going to cover the 3 top reasons why your hair extensions may be tangling and what to do to prevent it.
Why do natural hair extensions get tangled?
The truth is even high-quality extensions are not immune to occasional tangling, especially natural hair extensions because of the tighter curls. It’s very similar to your natural hair which can tangle as a result of friction (curls rubbing against each other), lack of a care routine and no moisture. In our experience, there are 3 main reasons why your natural hair extensions may keep tangling.
1. Product selection
Certain products may be drying out your curly and afro hair extensions and usually, these products have alcohols and sulphates. You want to limit or avoid using products with these ingredients (i.e., gels, hairsprays, sulphate shampoos) as they can be very drying to the hair, especially with constant use. When washing your extensions, use a sulphate-free shampoo because this helps clean the hair without stripping it and leaving it too dry. However, not all alcohols are bad; some can be moisturising which makes it even more confusing! See our list of alcohols we recommend avoiding here.
Also using too much product, especially rich and heavy ones, can cause product build-up resulting in the hair becoming gummy and the strands sticking together to create tangles. Although it is important to moisturise your natural hair extensions, take care to not overdo it and keep an eye out for product build-up. If you notice product build-up, wash with a sulphate-free/clarifying shampoo and follow up with a deep conditioner.
2. The weather
Every naturalista knows how much the weather can wreak havoc on their hairstyle. This is also the case with natural hair extensions. If you are wearing your curly or afro hair extensions while on holiday and experiencing high humidity the hair can become frizzy and tangled. Similarly, rain can cause frizziness and puffiness by causing the cuticles to swell. If you think the weather might go to town on your hairdo, wear a protective hairstyle and bring your brolly.
Dry hair leads to tangling and knots so moisturising your hair extensions with water and/or a leave-in conditioner is important to keep the hair hydrated. You want to be doing this daily if you are wearing your extensions every day. Don’t feel like you need to drench the hair, just a light evenly coated spritz should suffice.
Heat styling will inevitably dry out your hair extensions, so you want to limit this where possible. If you do heat style, use a heat protectant to prevent heat damage. We always recommend air drying after washing the hair to reduce heat use and over manipulation of the curls. If you are in a rush, you can use an air diffuser or place your extensions above a radiator to speed up the drying process.
How to stop afro and curly hair extensions from tangling and matting
Okay, now we’ve addressed why your hair extensions may be tangling, let’s go over what you can do to prevent it.
We cannot underestimate how important it is to detangle your hair extensions. It’s one of the most important steps when it comes to maintaining curly and afro extensions. You want to detangle your extensions at least every 1 to 3 days. We prefer finger detangling on Curly & Wild extensions because it causes less disruption to the curl pattern and forces you to go slowly so you don’t pull out more hair than necessary. Remember to always detangle on moisturised or damp hair, never dry. If you have difficult tangles to work through use a wide-tooth comb with a fine point. Always detangle your hair extensions before washing them because putting tangled extensions in water will make the tangles worst.
Use moisturising products
Using moisturising products (i.e., conditioners, deep-conditioners, moisture-based leave-ins) are essential because unlike your real hair, extensions don’t benefit from the natural sebum your scalp produces to condition your hair. Evenly distribute the products through your extensions and remember not to be heavy-handed with daily moisturisers.
Constantly playing with your natural hair extensions will undoubtedly create tangles and increase shedding. Extensions are a consumable product so the more you use and manipulate them the faster they will wear out. Although it’s tempting, avoid running your hands through your hair extensions. Just allow yourself and others to admire your beautiful hair from afar.
Establish a daily and weekly care routine
Having a care regimen for your natural hair extensions will contribute towards preventing tangles as well as ensuring they last longer. This doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can adapt your routine depending on how often you wear your extensions. For instance, if you wear them daily make sure you keep them hydrated and detangle them at the end of the day. After seven days, give them a co-wash (i.e., conditioner wash) and apply a leave-in conditioner and a few drops of oil then allow them to air dry. Every 2 to 4 weeks, deep condition your extensions for added softness and moisture.
Wear more protective hairstyles
Have you ever noticed when you wear your hair out by the end of the day it can be knotty and tangled? This is also the case with your natural hair extensions, so switch up your hairstyles now and again to incorporate protective styles to reduce friction caused by the curls rubbing against each other throughout the day.
Avoid wearing them for certain activities
We don’t recommend sleeping or swimming in your hair extensions and if you are having issues with tangling, it’s best to avoid wearing them at the gym. Chlorine from the pool, moving around on your pillow while sleeping and sweat can lead to your extensions drying out, tangling and matting. Therefore, remove your extensions before doing these activities.
When you remove your extensions at the end of the day it’s good practice to store them sensibly because this will help reduce tangling and matting. Store them on top of each other neatly and keep them in a safe place or use a satin storage bag.
How to fix matted natural hair extensions?
Hair extensions can become matted after tangled hair has not been dealt with. Matting can be particularly difficult to resolve depending on how long it has been left to occur, which is why following the steps above is crucial if you want to avoid this from happening. If your hair extensions have matted it doesn’t mean they can’t be saved, but you may have to dedicate time to removing the knots and tangles.
If you are dealing with matted extensions try saturating the hair in a creamy moisturising conditioner for a few hours. Then get a wide-tooth comb with a fine point and detangle the hair section by section starting from the bottom up. You don’t want to rush this process and damage the hair extensions so take your time. Put on your favourite Netflix show or podcast and detangle those knots away. If there are parts of your hair extensions that are extremely matted, you may need to cut away some knots. Using products that help with detangling afro and curly hair will also help with the process. If you notice that the hair is getting dry while doing this add more water and conditioner.
Hopefully, this helps to clear up the mystery of why your hair extensions are tangling and has given a good starting point to solving your tangling and matting issues from this day forward.
If you have any more questions please get in touch with us, we are always happy to help.
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