De-tangle with Bryzow


We recently had a client who had spent two weeks in the hospital with sensors glued to her scalp. When she was discharged, her beautiful, long, curly hair was matted up beyond belief. The hospital gave her a few glue-remover wipes and no advice about how to restore her hair, so she came to Parlor seeking help. After four and a half hours of detangling, we ultimately had to cut her hair. She left with an adorable pixie cut that earned her ample compliments at her follow-up appointment with the hospital. This situation was definitely on the more extreme side, but everyone has had to deal with tangles at some point in their life. Here are a few tips on how to manage what can seem like the unmanageable.

Bryzow, Junior Stylist at Parlor & Parlor in Brooklyn

  • Working Wet
    • Wet hair has more slip, but it’s also more prone to breakage
    • Use a heavy duty conditioner that not only coats the outside of the hair to lubricate the knots, but also strengthens and moisturizes the hair to increase elasticity
    • Make sure the hair stays thoroughly saturated with both water and conditioner during the entire process
  • Bottom to Top
    • Work in small sections starting at the ends
    • Don’t move up the hair shaft until the ends have been completely de-tangled, otherwise the knots will just tighten
  • Severe Matting
    • Loosen large mattes with your fingers before using a brush or comb
    • Make sure the water and conditioner fully penetrates to the center of the matte (think of it like a sponge; if you put soap and water on the surface of a sponge then it will just sit there, but if you squeeze it then you will see suds coming out from all sides of it)
    • Gently pull apart from the outer edges, working your way from the bottom up the matte until the entire section is loose enough to comb out
  • Removing Adhesives
    • Do your research first; different adhesives have different solvents
    • Some adhesives can be broken down by acetone; a gentle option for the hair is an acetone nail polish remover with aloe, but be sure to moisturize afterwards
    • Some adhesives are broken down by oils; mineral oil is the best options, but olive oil or baby oil are decent alternatives.  At Parlor, we use Aveda Composition Oils.
    • Some adhesives cannot be dissolved, so the only thing to do is lubricate the hair and work gently and patiently with a fine toothed comb
  • When to Cut
    • If your hair seems to be breaking instead of de-tangling
    • If a matted section is completely solid; if you squeeze it and it has no give, it cannot be loosened by pulling it apart at the edges, or water doesn’t seem to penetrate it
    • If an adhesive won’t dissolve or loosen with lubrication
    • Always see a professional at this point; they will be able to use their judgement and skill to cut the least amount of hair necessary and leave you with a style that suits you
  • Prevention
    • Always brush hair after washing it
    • Long hair should be contained while you sleep, especially if it’s wet; try braids or a loose bun
    • Invest in quality hair care and regular trims to keep hair healthy