Why Is Your Hair So Tangled After Washing: Tested Solutions

When stepping out of the shower, hair commercials will have us imagine that our hair will be silky smooth and easy to brush. Yet, most of the time shower makes hair look and feel like a mess.

So you may be left wondering why is my hair so tangled after washing? There are a lot of reasons as to why you may notice tangled hair after showering, and we will go through most of them together.

We will also cover how to detangle hair and prevent it from happening in the first place.

tangled hair after washing

Why is my hair so tangled after washing?

The main culprit behind tangled hair after a shower is dehydration. If your hair is hard to brush after washing, then it is probably lacking in moisture, and frail hair gets matted when wet. Dehydration can be solved by using a moisturizing shampoo and avoiding heat tools.

There are a few possibilities of answers to the question of why is your hair so tangled when wet, but here are the most important ones.

Lack of Conditioner

Conditioner is a product that creates a protective coat on the hair that will prevent tangles and make brushing easier. If your hair is knotty after washing and you aren’t using conditioner in your wash routine, then you are making a harmful mistake.

Not Washing Well

Of course, washing is one of the most important steps in the hair life cycle. Washing too often can strip hair of its natural oils, while washing too little can lead to dirt and oil build-up.

Make sure you are trying to find the balance of your own personal washing schedule. Using chemical shampoos or conditioners with too many harmful ingredients like sulfates can also lead to hair being prone to tangling.

tangled wet hair

Not Rinsing Well

Another common washing mistake that can lead to tangled hair is not rinsing products out well enough. Leaving in shampoo or condition can lead to patches of hair stuck in tangled knots. These products weigh down your hair, making it more susceptible to tangles.

Using Too Much Shampoo/Conditioner

Using a lot of shampoo can strip the oils from your hair and make it super dry. Dry hair is highly prone to tangling. Too much shampoo or conditioner can also lead to build-up on the scalp, which will lead to tangles.

Dehydration and Heat

hair straightener brush vs flat iron

The root of most hair problems is dehydration. Using heated styling tools like straighteners, curling irons, and blow-dryers can lead to a significant loss of moisture from the hair and the scalp.

This is the most common type of damage that hair can undergo. Too much sun exposure can also cause this problem. If you have to keep asking yourself why is my hair so tangled after washing, maybe avoid using heat tools for some time.

Not Combing Hair

If you aren’t brushing daily, this may be the reason why hair is knotty after washing. By not combing through your hair strands, you may be causing oil and sweat build-up on your hair and scalp. It can lead to kinks and knots forming on your hair, which becomes tangled after a wash.

Water Temperature and Quality

Washing your hair with water that is scalding hot can be the reason hair gets matted when wet. Heat strips oil from the scalp and causes hair to become frizzy and prone to tangling.

The quality of shower water is also important when it comes to hair care. Hard water contains heavy minerals such as magnesium which create a barrier on the hair and make it impossible to be moisturized. Then hair becomes dry and prone to tangling.

How to Detangle Hair After Washing

tangled hair

Now that you know why does hair tangle when you wash it, it’s time to figure out what tools to use when this happens to you.


Detangling your hair can actually start right in the shower. Apply some moisturizing conditioner from the hair around the ears and work your hands downwards.

Use your fingers to carefully detangle the strands with the conditioner. Leave it in for 4-5 minutes, and make sure to rinse well afterward. Do not apply conditioner to the scalp; it is unnecessary.

Detangling Spray

If you are constantly wondering why is my natural hair so tangled after washing, then maybe it’s time to invest in a detangling spray.

Not only is it easy to use, but it also saves you a lot of time you would spend brushing out knots without a detangler. Just apply the spray and brush out your now-soft hair. There is no need to wash out the spray afterward.


coconut oil for hair

A variety of different oils can be used in the process of detangling hair. For example, mineral oil is odorless and functions as an antistatic, and gets rid of tangles. If you are also using conditioner in your hair wash routine, make sure you aren’t using too much, as that will stop the oil from reaching your tangled hair.

Olive oil is also great for moisturizing the hair and the scalp. Apply a few drops around your head and let it soak for twenty minutes. Other oils like coconut oil, castor oil, natural marula oil, and lavender essential oil will also help detangle hair as well. After applying oil, you can use your fingers or a comb to gently start removing knots.

Wide-Toothed Comb

Using a wide-toothed comb to brush out tangles is essential. They are the gentlest tool for wet hair and will untangle knots most effectively. You can use a wide-toothed comb in combination with the products mentioned above for a painless untangling.

How to Prevent Hair From Tangling

Instead of finding a solution for the problem, you could try addressing the question of why does hair tangle so easily and prevent the problem from ever happening in the first place.

Hair Masks and Serums

As we already briefly mentioned above, the main culprit of hair tangling is dehydration. If you notice that aside from the knots, your hair feels dry and brittle, then it’s time to start adding some moisturizing products to your hair care routine. You can use masks, serums, oils, and sprays that have formulas that will make your hair feel and look softer.

Satin Pillowcase

When you sleep on a cloth pillowcase and move your head around, the follicles on your scalp are chafed, and your hair gets tangled. Try using a satin pillowcase that will help keep your hair smooth as you get your beauty sleep.

In fact, satin pillowcases have proven benefits for the skin as well. If you don’t want to change your usual pillowcase, you can also tie up your hair in a satin headscarf or bonnet.

satin pillows against hair tangling

Drying With T-Shirt

The answer to the routine question of why is my hair so tangled when wet may be in your bathroom, right under your nose. Just like with pillowcases, towels with harsh materials can that remove moisture can cause damage to the scalp and tangled hair.

Instead, go get yourself a microfiber towel to keep your hair protected. You can even use a cotton T-shirt to gently dry your hair without tangling it. We also recommend loosely braiding your hair afterward, which will ensure that your hair won’t be tangled as it touches different surfaces while you move.

Use Shampoo and Conditioner, but Not a Lot

Using the right shampoo and conditioner is essential. Do some research to figure out your type of hair and what ingredients you should look for in hair products.

Avoid sulfates at all costs, especially if you have hair that’s prone to tangling. Make sure you are using just the right amount, as too much can weigh your hair down, which leads to knots.


Does tangled hair cause hair loss?

Indirectly, but yes! Tangled hair means you have to brush through it to separate the strands, which can pull and apply pressure on your scalp. The weaker strands will be pulled out from the follicles and cause hair loss.

Why is my natural hair so tangled?

There are, as expected, many reasons why your hair is tangled. It can be due to the absence of moisture, build-up of product and dirt, or exposure to heat. Try to find the root of the tangling problem and prevent the knots from happening by making slight changes to your usual routine.

How do you get the worst knot out of your hair?

Try using detangling sprays, which soften hair and make removing knots much easier. You can also use serums or oils that moisturize hair and brush out the knots with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb afterward.


To sum it all up, tangled hair is something that happens to everyone, and there are many mistakes in our hair care routines that may be causing it. If you notice tangles in your hair, use oils and sprays along with a comb to remove the knots.

Then, try to work on preventing the problem by, for example, purchasing a moisturizing shampoo or a satin pillowcase. Are there any tricks you have for effectively untangling hair? If you do, make sure to let us all know below.

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Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

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