Help! How do I remove mats from my daughter's hair?
I know from experience that it really hurts to have curly hair combed in the way straighter hair is combed. I can certainly give you tips for pain-free combing.
If your daughter's hair is very matted, I do think you should try to comb her hair out, but it will take time and patience to do it. You will have to go slow and be gentle and work in very tiny sections. If she's afraid of having her hair combed because of the pain, you might have to coax her back telling her you'll just try one section. Then if that one is okay (and hopefully it will be after trying some of these tips), then you can coax her back later to get through another section. Here are my suggestions for how to comb her hair (you can follow along on the Tips for Little Ones
First, never comb your daughter's hair when it's dry. You should only comb it when it is soaking wet, and has lots of conditioner in it. The conditioner makes the comb glide through much easier. I can't comb my hair without conditioner. If her hair starts to dry out, wet it again and put more conditioner in it if needed. It will foam up as you comb. That's a good thing. It means you have enough in there.
A very good conditioner to use is Aussie Moist (in a purple bottle, available in most drugstores). For a list of more good conditioners to use when combing, you can check out Combing Conditioners
. The conditioners I recommend won't build up or get crunchy or sticky.
To prevent more matting, when you wash your daughter's hair, concentrate on the scalp. Keep her ends very smooth. Just let the water run over her hair. Never pile her hair up on her head and rub.
When you comb your daughter's hair, use a wide tooth comb, or even better, a Denman
style brush. When you comb her hair, start at the ends and work up in stages.
**The most important part of combing her hair, is how to hold her hair to keep it from hurting her
**. Work in sections to detangle/ de-mat her hair. Take a section in your hand (which is very wet and slathered with conditioner), and pinch the section between your thumb and pointing fingers, or in a fist, or give it a twist, then hold it in a pinch. Always keep this pinch on her hair between her scalp, and wherever you are combing. This will prevent your tugging from hurting her. Pinch tightly on her hair, and make sure every hair you are working on is held this way. If you are working on the ends, you should be pinching/ twist-pinching a little above that area. You can see how I pinch my hair when combing this under: Combing
When you are done combing her hair, leave in that conditioner!!! I know this sounds weird, but it's important. Leave in this conditioner, and then it's time to define her curls. You can see how to do this in the defining
our curls section.
To define her curls you can run your fingers through her hair a few times to separate out her curls (or you can smooth each curl one by one, but if her hair is shorter, you should be able to just run through it with your hands). The conditioner weighs down her hair, moisturizes it, and will keep it from fuzzing up, and keep her curls "set" so it will be easier to comb next time.
Let her hair dry all day. At night, just pull her hair back in a few buns or braids. In the morning, smooth over her hair with a little water and conditioner. Don't run your hands through her hair though. Just smooth over it.
This should last a week. Don't comb her hair or fingercomb her dry hair at all during the week. Water mixed with a little conditioner will smooth/refresh
her curls in the morning. Then in about 4-7 days, you can wash, condition and comb again.
My mom got her hair matted at the hospital (the nurses scrubbed her curly hair and then she had to sleep on it wet for several weeks), and using my techniques I was able to comb out her hair, and she didn't "ow" or hiss in pain once.