Ask Elle: Tangled Hair Help

Next week is devoted to answering YOUR beauty questions. 
Is there a technique you've always wanted to learn?
Or a product recommendation?
Let me know in the comments below.
In the meantime, enjoy this Ask Elle as a little warm up for next week!

I need your help! My 8 year old daughter has long hair and it is always tangled but I don't want her to cut it. Every night is a struggle that ends up with tears and sometimes I have to cut the knots out. Do you have any tips on getting them out?
--Deborah J.

I do! I had really, really long hair when I was younger, so this question is right up my alley. Long hair (you didn't say how long hers is) in little ones does need extra maintenance, so before you grab the scissors, let's talk about preventative measures:

  • Satin pillowcase--I've been using these for 15 years, and it's my favorite hair tip. We toss and turn in our sleep, causing friction and frizzy hair in the morning, aka "bedhead." And kids seem to have the worst case of bedhead! A satin pillowcase helps to stop it. These can be purchased online, at beauty stores, in bedsheet sets, at Wal-Mart/Target/etc, or even made. They all work the same! And for grownups: they help to extend your blow out!
  • Braid--Allowing her to sleep in a loose braid--dry hair only--can help keep the knots away.
  • Brushing twice daily--This is the most obvious tip but kids are lazy about this! A brush through in the morning before school and before bed will help. A boar bristle is the best type, but a mix of this with plastic bristles works just fine.
And now, let's get those knots out:
  • Small-toothed comb--Normally, you would want the opposite to comb wet hair, but this is just for tangles.  
  • Leave-in conditioner--I never buy this! I make my own leave-in conditioner using two parts water to one part conditioner--any brand. Put the mix in a bottle or spray bottle and shake before applying just to the knot. This can be done on wet or dry hair. It will help with the tangles.
  • Bottoms up--Always comb from the ends and work your way to the roots. It works! And helps with  less pulling on the hair strands.
  • Hold it--First, move the hair out of the way that is not attached to the knot. It will instantly look smaller, allowing you to see what you're working with. As a kid, the worst part of tangles is the pain! By holding the section of hair above the tangle with your non-brushing hand, she won't be able to feel you attacking the tangle.
I hope those tips helped! For more beauty advice, Ask Elle in the comments below.



  1. I just got my daughter's hair cut. Oh it's so much healthier, easier to manage, etc. It's still long but much easier. Take care,

    Shauna xoxo

  2. You're hair is gorgeously colored and looks so healthy!

  3. Great tips! I'll admit that's the one nice thing about my hair donation cycle - I get a little break from all of the tangles.


  4. Thanks firstly for the reader question, I think its one we all sometimes suffer from and thanks to you Elle for the workable answers!

  5. oh my, i brush my hair 5 times a day, heheh, i feel like i'm obsessed with keeping my hair untangled =D thanks alot for the great tips, this post is one of the best i've read today! :)

    I hope you're having a beautiful day ~ XO
    NEW POST: www.chriissydollxo.com

  6. My daughter has the same problem! These tips are just perfect. TY again:)

  7. Great Post now following on bloglovin really good blog and posts fun to read =] and thank you for the comment on the blueberry tonic and I would love to hear your opinions on it also :) x


  8. I never thought how easy it would be to make your own leave in conditioner
    Spray...great idea, Elle!

  9. Great advice! I used to get the worst tangles as a kid!

  10. Ugh, tangles are the worst!

    always, koru kate

  11. Awesome tips- especially brushing/combing tip-to-root. This has helped me with breakage over the years!


  12. I would love to know your favorite sunblock. We live outside during the summer and I have naturally greasy skin to begin with, so do you have recommendations for a non greasy one that works?

  13. She needs to get a "wet brush"! You can buy them off of Amazon and they're a game changer! Knots no more!

  14. This is great advice for my own hair! I already wear my hair up at night to keep it from tangling. I do need to invest in a good wide toothed comb.

  15. Braids are key!! I sleep in a loose braid almost every night, it keeps the tangles away and makes your hair pretty the next day if you want to wear it down!
    Isn’t That Charming.

  16. Sigh. Where were you when I was six years old and my mom chopped off ALL my hair because she was sick of the snarly mess on top of my head. I have wicked naturally curly hair and I looked like a little boy from the time I was six until I decided to grow it out in junior high.

  17. Those are great tips! I will totally use them when my hair gets longer!
    Follow me? chiccupcake1.blogspot.com
    -Jenna <3 :)

  18. I second the satin pillowcase tip. They work wonders.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  19. Definitely work bottom up and use good conditioner!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  20. Great tips. I sleep with my hair in a low ponytail.

  21. Great tips. I've never had a satin pillowcase, I will have to try it. I've heard that it helps with aging as well... which could totally be a myth!

  22. I never thought to ask this question but I`m so glad you answered it, anyway - tangles are the bane of my existence! I have naturally dry, wavy hair that tangles like there`s no tomorrow, and I know some things {like brushing, strangely; it only makes the tangles worse and causes frizz} don't work, but I've never tried a satin pillow case and even if it doesn't work miracles and make my hair look like yours {a girl can dream!} it certainly can't hurt!

  23. My hair used to be that long when I played in Megadeth.

  24. these are amazing tips! thanks so much! i never knew about satin pillowcases :)

  25. I love your hair! it looks so healthy and shiny. please check out my blog www.justpatience.com thanks!

  26. These are awesome tips. I like the satin pillowcase tip very much. Even though I have stick straight long fine hair,they're always tangled.(Go figure), need to pay more attention to maintaining it well

  27. Tangled hair is so problematic... me no like... Thanks for the tips!

  28. I know everyone's hair is different. I have thick, long, dry, color-treated hair that tends to tangle. ALWAYS TANGLES! Normally, I do not wash my hair any more frequently than twice a week unless I've worked up a sweat. Shielo's new Smoothing Conditioner is the best I've ever used and believe me, I've tried a lot of products! NO MORE TANGLES! I apply a small amount after shampooing and use a wide tooth comb to comb through my wet hair. I let it sit in my hair for about 5 minutes and then rinse it out. The appearance and texture of the hair is superior after using this product.

    No need to use anything else, like leave in conditioners, gels, mousse, etc. I let my hair air-dry and use a good quality hot iron on it and it looks just beautiful!

  29. My hair is over 3 feet long and very thick. I have been searching for YEARS for a good conditioner that would make brushing my hair post-wash easier. The Sleek Look by Matrix system is amazing. I have no tangles in my hair after washing and my hair looks and feels great. I would suggest anyone with long, color treated, or dull hair give this system a try.


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