Badly Matted Hair Extensions – What to Do and How to Fix It

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Hair extensions can transform the way you look. Whether you add temporary or more permanent extensions, the impact they can have on your appearance is dramatic. If you’ve always wanted long hair, but don’t want to wait for it to grow, hair extensions may be the answer you’re looking for. However, after trying hair extensions for a while, some say, “my hair extensions are dry and matted.” If this is you, and you’re dealing with badly matted hair extensions, you’ll want to keep reading to learn the best way to remove the mats and prevent your hair extensions from becoming matted again.

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Table of Contents

Badly Matted Hair Extensions. What To Do And How To Fix It

What Are Matted Hair Extensions?

If you have matted hair extensions, it means that the hairs on the extensions and/or your natural hair, have become twisted and tangled together.  When smaller tangles aren’t promptly addressed and remedied, the hairs will continue twisting and getting intertwined with one another.  When hair is matted, it can get very clumpy and difficult to fix.

If you’re wondering what do matted hair extensions look like, visualize large chunks and clumps of frizzy knotted hair.  Like you haven’t brushed your hair after sleeping, but multiple times worse.

Why Do Hair Extensions Become Matted?

Why do my hair extensions get matted?  There are different reasons why hair extensions may become matted.  Hair extensions can also become matted in two main areas:  the length of the hair and the roots.  Let’s explore some of the different things that can cause matted hair extensions.

Some hair extension manufacturers remove the cuticles on the hair when making their hair extensions.  Others place the hair going in the wrong direction.  Both of these can make it more likely for the hairs to tangle around each other and, eventually, become matted.

When you brush through hair extensions with some strands facing the wrong way, every time you brush, you end up damaging the cuticles.  As the cuticles get damaged, they can lock together and leave your hair extensions bunching up.

Hair extensions can also mat at the roots.  This most commonly happens when individuals do not properly care for their hair extensions.

With hair extensions, it is important to separate the hair extensions bonds each day.  This involves running your fingers through your hair over the top of your hair once or twice a day.  While this is a relatively simple step, it is one that is often neglected.  And, when skipped, it can lead to the bonds on the hair getting tangled and eventually matted.

Another potential cause of matting at the root is going to bed with wet hair extensions.  Hair extensions should always be dried fully before you go to bed.  If you sleep on wet hair extensions, it can lead to a lot of tangles and matting.  But if you don’t have time to blow dry your hair before heading to bed, don’t take a shower at night.

If you applied your own hair extensions, or worked with an inexperienced stylist, they may have not been correctly applied.  Hair extensions that are not on correctly are much more likely to become matted.  If you’re not confident on how to apply hair extensions yourself, working with a professional is a much safer option.  Just be sure to do your research and find someone with experience and a good reputation.

How Do You Fix Matted Hair Extensions?

How do I bring my hair extensions back to life?

If you’re dealing with severely matted hair extensions, it might feel as if there’s no hope or chance of ever getting your hair back to normal.  Fortunately, this is not the case.

Before you give up and give yourself a haircut, try the steps below for hair extensions matting at nape of neck or other areas.

  1. Take a shower and wash your hair.  Try a moisturizing shampoo, such as one formulated with argan oil.
  2. Once you’re finished in the shower, gently towel-dry your hair.
  3. Use a loop brush or boar bristle brush to brush through your hair and remove any knots that easily come out.  Work carefully and gently, you don’t want to pull too hard and break the hair.
  4. Section your hair and then brush through the bottom section again with the bristle brush.
  5. Spray your hair with a heat protection sprayHeat protection sprays are essential when trying to prevent blow dryers and other heated tools from drying out your hair or causing further damage, which will only make the mats worse.
  6. Blow dry your hair, taking care to make sure the roots are completely dry.  When you’re asking, “how do you untangle really matted hair extensions,” it is always important to fully dry the roots.  Otherwise, your hair will just end up getting matted again.
  7. Once dry, gently comb through the bottom section.  Take care to gently work out any remaining tangles.
  8. Repeat the steps above for each additional section of your hair.  Remember to be gentle as you comb and brush; you don’t want to pull out your real hair or any of the hair extensions.

How Do You Prevent Matted Hair Extensions?

It is important to know how to fix matted hair extensions.  But, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  If you can prevent extensions from getting matted in the first place, you won’t need to worry about getting the mats out.  Continue reading for some matted hair extensions help so you can learn how to prevent matting.

Choose a Quality Hair Extension Product

As we shared above, not all hair extensions are created equal.  When possible, choose hair extensions made from human hair, rather than synthetic hair.  With this type of extensions, the hairs will be less likely to tangle.  Synthetic hair doesn’t share the same texture and other characteristics as human hair, which can increase the chances of tangling and mats.

Within the category of human hair extensions, there are two different types to consider:  Remy extensions and Non-Remy extensions.  Remy extensions ensure that the hair cuticles and strands all go in the same direction.  These extensions are made using hair from a hair donor.

Non-Remy hair extensions are not made using donated hair that is all bundled together.  Rather, they are made from hair collected off a salon floor or brush.  This means that the strands aren’t all going the same way, meaning they may still tangle.

Work with a Professional Stylist

If you’ve noticed the tape in extensions matting at root, it could mean that your extensions weren’t properly put in.  To avoid this issue, consider working with a professional the next time you want to get hair extensions.  Professionals know what they are doing and are much more experienced with putting in hair extensions, which will make it much less likely for the extensions to become matted.

Use the Right Hair Care Products

Take care when deciding which hair care products to use on your extensions.  Avoid anything with sulfates, salt, or alcohol, as these ingredients can be very drying.  When your extensions become overly dry, it can make it more likely for them to get matted.  Rather, seek out natural and gentle hair care products.

Brush with a Loop Brush

When you’re asking, “How do I stop my hair extensions from matting,” it is important to make sure that you’re using the right type of brush.  Using a loop brush can help prevent matting.  The looped design of the bristles on this type of brush work to gently remove knots and tangles and don’t damage the extensions.

The Hair Shop Black Loop Brush - Salon Professional Grade with Matted Black and Ergonomic Design - Safe Detangler Tool for 100% Remy Human and Synthetic Hair Extensions and Wigs

Use a Wide-Tooth Comb with Wet Hair

When your hair is still wet, comb it out using a wide-tooth comb. The teeth on a wide-tooth comb are larger and more spaced apart than those on a fine-tooth comb. This design leads to less friction when combing your hair and is more gentle to work out tangles. Removing the tangles before they have a chance to get worse will keep your extensions from getting all matted.

Oil or Moisturize Extensions

It is important to keep hair extensions moisturized.  While our scalp produces oils for our natural hair, your hair extensions are not receiving any natural oils.  This can make them get very dry if they aren’t moisturized.  Additionally, spending time outside in the hot sun can also further dry out your extensions.

Hair oils, masks, and serums can help keep your hair extensions from getting too dry and then matting up.

Don’t Backcomb

If you’re used to giving your hair a little extra volume and oomph by backcombing it, this is a practice you’ll want to discontinue for as long as you have hair extensions.  Backcombing easily leads to knots and matted roots.  Backcombing can also damage the hair cuticle, which can make breakage more likely.

Limit or Avoid Getting Your Hair Extensions Wet

When possible, try to avoid getting your hair extensions wet.  Wet hair extensions are more likely to get matted.  When your extensions are wet, they are at their weakest point, so the less they get wet, the better.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can never go swimming or partake in other activities where your extensions will get wet.  You just want to limit it as much as possible.  Also, if you do go to a pool or beach, opt for a quick dip underwater rather than leaving your hair extensions soaking in the pool.  Leaving your hair braid or in a loose bun when swimming can also help reduce matting.

If you do get your hair extensions wet, always give your hair at least a quick dry once you get out of the pool.  Then, wash and thoroughly dry your extensions once you’re home.

Always Dry Your Hair Completely Before Bed

How to stop hair extensions matting at the root?  Well, if you’re going to bed with wet hair extensions, stopping this can really help with the matting problem.  Sleeping on wet hair extensions makes it much more likely for them to become matted.  As we shared above, wet hair extensions are at their weakest point and are more likely to get intertwined and eventually matted

If you shower at night, always blow dry your hair before heading to bed.  Take special care to make sure that the roots are completely dry as well.

Don’t have time to blow dry your hair at night?  Then, you’ll need to shift your schedule around or skip the shower.  It just isn’t worth the tangling and matting that will likely occur.

Braid Hair Extensions Before Bed

If you want to know how to keep hair extensions from clumping, then you should start braiding your hair before going to bed.  When your hair extensions are braided, they won’t be able to get all tangled and matted as you sleep.  When you wake up the next morning and remove the braids, you’ll find it much easier to brush through your hair.

Act Quickly to Remove Mats and Tangles Before They Get Worse

Finally, if you notice any mats and tangles, act quickly to brush or comb them out.  The longer you wait, more and more hairs will become intertwined in the mats.  This will leave you a huge mess to work through.  It will also take a much longer time to work through huge clumps of hair than just a few smaller knots.

Be vigilant about brushing your hair every morning and evening, if not at other times during the day, too.  This will help prevent knots from forming and will allow you to work through any that do show up.

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Fixing and Preventing Badly Matted Hair Extensions

When your hair extensions become horribly matted, it can be very frustrating.  You spent money to get the hair extensions with the expectation that they would improve the look of your hair, and when they have the opposite effect, it can really make you regret your decision.  Fortunately, if you follow the tips and ideas we shared above, you can revitalize your current hair extensions and prevent them from becoming matted in the future.

Read more about untangling matted hair in these related posts on our blog:

By Ellis James

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  1. Such a helpful post! Extensions are beautiful but they definitely require maintenance!

    Hope to see you over on my new post!


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