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Whether you’ve got super fine straight hair or coarser curls, there’s one issue we all have in common: fighting off those tangled knots.
It’s not just an issue when you wake up in the mornings. Knots and tangles form throughout the day no matter what you’re doing. Of course, the severity and frequency with which it occurs depends on the condition and type of your hair, which means there are ways to reduce it.
We constantly put our hair through damaging situations that leave it rough, frizzy, porous, or downright brittle. The more damaged your hair is, the more friction there is between strands and the more likely it is to tangle up.
To reduce the tangle, you need to treat your hair right and work on getting it as healthy and smooth as possible. That means using the right products, the right techniques, and making sure to avoid the biggest hair damaging mistakes.
1. Always condition your hair
Conditioning your hair is a crucial step you quite frankly cannot afford to skip. Even if you don’t leave it in your hair for three to five minutes, a minute of conditioning is way better than none at all. You should take the time to use a more intensive hair mask once a week to improve the condition of your hair. And always rinse your hair with cold water at the end of your shower to close up those hair cuticles.
Pro tip: Combing or brushing your conditioner through your hair can help detangle it and make sure the conditioner is evenly distributed. Use a wide-tooth comb to be as gentle as possible, and consider using conditioner before shampooing if you have very fine hair.
2. Try a detangling spray or leave-in
In-shower haircare isn’t enough to keep your hair from getting tangled up. Aside from protecting your hair from heat damage, you also want a leave-in serum, cream or spray that will condition and detangle your hair. Sprays are the easiest because they’re lightweight, won’t make your hair feel greasy, and won’t get your hands messy.
We love: Goldwell Kerasilk Reconstruct Regenerating Blow-Dry Spray ($44) for damaged hair. It smells great, your hair dries faster, and it feels a lot softer and smoother. If you have coarse and curly hair, try L’Oreal’s EverCurl Hydracharge Leave-in Cream ($21.90, leading pharmacies). Want a simple detangling spray? Try Original & Mineral’s No Knott Conditioning Detangler, ($38, Sephora).
3. Don’t brush your hair while wet
Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, which means it’s most susceptible to damage. One of the easiest ways we damage our hair is mechanical damage which happens when we brush our hair. Use too much force and you can cause a significant amount of damage. If you must detangle wet hair, use a wide-tooth comb. If you’ve got especially tangled hair, work in some leave-in conditioner or spray before tackling it with a comb for the smoothest results, and always start combing from the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots.
4. Never rub it dry with your towel
Forget putting your hair up in a towel like women in movies from your childhood. Even trying to vigorously towel-dry it is damaging to your hair, and will only further amplify the frizziness. Sure, it gets your hair drier faster, but it also creates a lot of friction that roughs up the cuticles of your hair which only makes the frizz worse.
To dry your hair with a towel, you want to blot your hair or squeeze out the water instead. You can also use an old t-shirt or microfiber towel both of which are more gentle and effective.
5. Brush your hair before bed
Our hair tangles a fair bit as we sleep, so making sure to brush it out before bed helps make things easier in the morning. You can also leave in a lightweight hair oil before bed so it can work into your hair overnight. Want to give your hair the most TLC while you sleep? Get a silk pillowcase!
6. Treat your hair pre-shampoo
If you have especially damaged or coarse hair, then adding an extra step to your haircare routine will help you out. We love using a good hair oil, applied liberally to the bottom half of your hair about 30 minutes to an hour before you shampoo it. This helps smooth and condition your hair as well as prevent your hair from absorbing too much water while you wash it, which is a good thing.
If your hair is more porous and damaged, it tends to absorb more moisture which causes the hair to expand. The constantly expanding and contracting hair shaft puts stress on your hair which will make your hair more frizzy in the long run. So having oil prevent your hair from absorbing as much water is a good thing and can keep your hair healthy for longer.
We love: Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Treatment Oil+ ($48, Sephora). It’s super lightweight but nourishing, and you can use it both as a pre-shampoo treatment and post-wash hair oil.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.herworld.com.