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Has anyone successfully gotten a mat out of waist length hair? — The Grow Network Community
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Has anyone successfully gotten a mat out of waist length hair?

csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

Not quite a home medicine question, and I will be re-hitting the web for more options, but a couple people in my family have been trying to unmat a chunk of hair that seems hopelessly matted. We’ve tried deep conditioners, detanglers, marshmallow homemade detangler, wide tooth comb... it sprang up quickly and set in hard. Its never happened before like this. Just wondering if anyone had any ideas before we start thinning it out with scissors. We really dont want to- the mat is in the outer layers and near the scalp. It would be incredibly difficult to mask.


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,508 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No experience, but you could try something like olive oil. At the very least the hair would be conditioned.

    I am wondering if a foreign substance got in the hair?

    I looked up how to remove chewing gum from hair:

    Simply follow these steps from dermatologists:

    1. Find a jar of creamy style peanut butter or vegetable oil, such as olive oil.
    2. Cover the gum completely with peanut butter or oil using your fingers or an old toothbrush. ...
    3. Wait a few minutes to allow the product to work.
    4. Remove the gum from the hair.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 725 ✭✭✭✭

    I don't know if it would help with a mat that bad, but vinegar water is a very good detangler- around a tablespoon or two to a quart. I used to get pretty bad tangles, well into my twenties, and vinegar water help tremendously.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,771 admin

    After you try the vinegar, make sure you condition again with olive oil or coconut oil.

    When I was a kid, I always got bad mats in my hair. Our oldest did too. It was miserable, but we were always able to get most of it out, working at it bit by bit, and cut out any remaining. It took FOREVER. We haven't had this problem in years, thankfully.

    I just asked another daughter with bum length hair, and she had nothing else to add.

    Sorry that I can't be of much help. The suggestions above sound good, though.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 741 admin

    We always used creamy peanut butter to get gum out of hair when I was little, and it did work most of the time. So this is probably what I would try first. @csinclair461, I hope you will let us know how this ends up getting resolved! :D

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @csinclair461 My hair is not that long, but it is long. I use a pick wide tooth, and start at the bottom and use very gentle 'comb through s' with the pick slanted. It will take some time but you should easily be able to get the tangles out as long as it's just tangles.

    May daughter got bubble gum in her hair when she was about 5 and I just had to cut it out. Sickening. Her hair was lovely.

    Let us know how you fare.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @csinclair461 If push come to shove, before you think you have to cut it to get it out, try getting in the SHOWER, with shampoo lather at the spot of contention, and use the pick on that spot as I described above, the pick slanted. By slanting the pick it will be displaced when needed to clear the entanglement, while subtly loosing the hair around the tangle. In so doing, making the tangle smaller and smaller until the comb will finally start moving through the tangle with less resistance. If it is only a tangle, surely that would work. Don't rinse out the shampoo until you have the knot under control as the shampoo should help the pick glide more easily, undoing the know more quickly...HOPEFULLY.

    Anxious to know you don't have to cut the knot out. Long hair is so beautiful.

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    @MerinPorter thanks, I will let you know. @shllnzl & @blevinandwomba thanks, I will try vinegar water. She tried a homemade detangler with vinegar, marshmallow tea, and olive oil, and it helped, but not enough. The hairs are all looped up into the mat, so we can spread the mat out a bit by putting in a lot of deep conditioning stuff to make it slippery, but haven’t been able to free very many. Its definately more than just an ordinary snarl, but havent found anything in it yet. Really appreciate the feedback.

  • dianne.misspoozdianne.misspooz Posts: 104 ✭✭✭

    Like most here, I've heard of the peanut butter option. I wish my mother knew about that one when I was in middle school because I had one mad tangle from a vengeful rubber-band. We ended up just cutting the knot out. I've never used a rubber band again. Believe it or not, I've been using Scrunchies ever since... much to the chagrin of fashion conscious friends. I told them Scrunchies will be back in style so hang tight!! 🤣😂

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 498 ✭✭✭✭

    We had this happen but much worse. My daughter had too many really bad matts b/c we had braided her hair and weaved the long ends into the braids so we could put those fake long twists in. OMG! Never again! She sweated and her hair drew up and turned into the worse knots/matts I've ever seen! I really thought I was going to have to cut them out. She was sooo upset b/c her hair grows very slowly. But - after SEVERAL hours I was able to get most of them out. I used some flat iron oil that we had but I'm sure you could use olive oil also. I soaked each knot with the oil and then picked at it with so many things from the bottom up but what worked the best was a fine tooth metal comb. I did cut a couple out b/c they just weren't coming out. I hope you're able to get it out!!

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was 14 I had back surgery and my mom put my thigh length hair into French braids and tucked the tails up so my head could be covered by a hat for surgery. 4 days after a nurse insisted she had to dry shampoo my hair and would not wait for my mom to arrive. She undid one braid and attempted to wash my very long very thick hair in a bag the size of a lunch sack. Needless to say she was not successful and left my hair half braided, full of dry shampoo and pulled it up at off my face with a rubber band (like the kind you use for newspapers?)!!! After being bed ridden for another 10 days I went home. My family called me “Edwina” for months afterwards. My hair looked like Edward Scissorhands hair! The matting was massive!!!

    My mom coated it with and massaged in BUTTER. And then very carefully very slowly using a plastic wide tooth pic and her fingers worked at the mat for several days. She had to cut the rubber band and just kept working at removing the pieces of rubber from my hair as she untangled. I was in so much pain she had to be so careful to not bump or jerk me In the process. When she finally got the mass detangled she rinsed my hair with apple cider vinegar and water mix. The ends were so split we opted to cut about 8” inches off a few months later. I have never been able to get my hair that long again. (It’s only waist length now).

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,771 admin

    @herbantherapy What a story. It is sad what happened to you. Very long hair is a blessing that not many women have the privilege of growing.

    Your mom was a wise & patient lady by the sounds of it.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 336 ✭✭✭

    i use a detangler thats worked so far even on coarse horses tail it called cowboy magic. i use it on my hair cause i always get rats nest when i leave my hair down

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,771 admin

    @nksunshine27 Where did you buy this product? Is there an online link?

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 579 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Here is a link for horse grooming supplies, it includes Cowboy Magic: https://www.jefferspet.com/categories/horse/supplies/grooming-4/horse-shampoos-conditioners We have bought from this company for years.

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    Mat is still in her hair, but it is shrinking. I have been working on it for a couple hours a day (didn’t have more time until yesterday). I have been using different oil, greasy deep conditioner, and vinegar water. A metal tipped rattail comb really has helped a lot, and a video on youtube from a professional hair detangler (who successfully un mats long hair that has bigger mats than we do). I think another dayor two and we will have it out. I can feel a lot of little loops in the mat, like it’s been crocheted!

    i will gladly post when she is free of it! We are really looking forward to that moment. Thank you for all the input. I am reading it all, and its all helpful. I would try some of the products acailable online except neither of us want to wait for them to come in mail, so are going ti keep whittling at it how we have been. If we get to point where we cant get any further, we may order up. Its likely we could buy a better product and get everything solved faster, idk.

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    update- we finally succeeded in getting the mat out of her hair. We almost got the Cowboy detangler, but in end, after youtube videos etc, we decided to try a product for removing dreadlocks(Knotty Boy). It still took 3-4 days working on it to get it out (we lost most of our prior progress during our move). But its so good now to have it completely free again. Thanks for all the ideas. In the end, I think the stuff we had put in earlier was gumming it up, and we needed to use a clarifying shampoo as well as a conditioner. Also was soaking it in tub.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    @csinclair461 thank you for the update. My suggestion is too late for you, but our dog groomer has suggested corn starch for getting mats out of hair. works on our dog and cat. never tried it on people. I hope this may help someone in the future when the read your post. Glad to know there is a happy ending with your saga.

  • DesireeDesiree Posts: 218 ✭✭✭

    @tomandcara thank you for that reminder! My cat (part maine coon) has a few tough mats going right now and I can't get him to the groomer. I do remember now that she had suggested trying the corn starch as part of his regular brushing routine to help not get them so bad in the first place! I am going to have to try it now.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    @desireet02 glad the idea came at a good time. We ended up getting a de-matting comb for our 19 year old cat. The corn starch has worked well with our Australian Shepherd

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