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Post in Wellness Warriors

Severely Matted Bun

Hi. I am desperately seeking advice. I was sick and I had hair my hair in a high bun. I couldn't shower, just take sink baths. I used dry shampoo during this time. I didn't notice what was happening to my hair. The front and back underneath are loose, however starting at the hair tie line the entire bun is matted. It's is so hard, like a sarcophagus. I have tried heavy conditioner, coconut oil, and two kinds of detangler. Nothing gets it moving. Since it was in a bun the ends are matted into the ball of hair.

 If I have to cut my hair it would be so short. I have below the shoulder course naturally curly hair. I dont want to cut it out.  I have been crying for days and I'm embarrassed. 

 It seems like each day I try to relax it, it gets tighter. Like it's shrinking. My hair generally lengthens when it's wet. I am sure there is a ton of conditioner in the mat.

 It's so tight that I broke teeth off combs in it. I just got a detangler brush today, pick, and wide tooth comb.





If I could just get some more length out of it, i could cut the rest. If I cut the whole mat the top back of my head would be maybe 2 inches. 


I will try anything. 

Re: Severely Matted Bun

I am 2 days in and halfway through the dematting of a year long depression bun. My hair length is to my lower back and throwing it up in a high bun just got easier and easier to do every day to put off having to deal with what I knew would be a god awful process and absolutely nothing matters when depression gets to that point. So hair maintenance went to the very bottom of my priorities. But after a year it stood up on its own on top of my head in an insane looking dread. I did wash it on occasion during that year but it went right back up into a wet bun after and it probably only made it worse. To make things so much worse, I thought in the beginning stages of depression creeping up that maybe if I dye my hair or do something different it’ll pull me out of my funk. I got the whole olaplex system, Moroccanoil everything and some quality dye and was gonna treat myself. I began that stupid idea by using Moroccanoil clarifying shampoo (I do not hold their product responsible for the disaster that followed. 100% my fault!) I never past step 1 because I couldn’t brush it wet and said screw it I’ll deal with it tomorrow…NEVER EVER AGAIN!


To fix this hot mess, I have purchased every product, tried ALL the online suggestions I could find and I can’t vouch for my way being the best or easiest, I just hope to help someone eliminate most of what didn’t work in my experience especially with long hair. 
I used every goop, cream, mud, shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and anything I could get my hands on that I thought would help loosen the giant mass, or at least prevent as much breakage as possible. Since the inside of my hairball is squeaky, stripped clarified hair it’s 10/10 bad!
I bought every comb, pick, wet brush, dry brush and anything resembling a bristle.
After all that time and money, I can give you hope that it is possible to keep most of your hair and you do NOT have to cut it off no matter what anyone tells you. A lot of it consists of dead hair in there that you would’ve shed normally during the time it took to form, so all of that hair is not attached to your head anymore and there will be a bit of hair you’ll lose but it’s unavoidable. 
What is actually working for me is only 2 things…

1) A wide tooth comb that has 4” long and sturdy prongs (not the wavy shaped prongs, those just hurt. Just straight, smooth, long teeth) and has a handle which makes holding for hours more comfortable than a traditional hair pick. Got mine on Amazon for like $5 Just search 4-5 inch wide tooth comb and make sure that’s the bristle length not the comb length. 

2) A big bottle of Moroccanoil treatment hair oil, I paid somewhere around $25 but I believe any really good quality hair oil will work. 
Work as much of the oil in your hair as possible, I started with wet-ish hair. Don’t be shocked if you end up having to use the whole bottle, it’s worth it! 
Stick the pump nozzle inside the center of the mass or get as close to it as you can and work as much oil into it as you can get in it, then cover ALL of your hair with the oil all the way to the ends. It’s a thick oil so it doesn’t have to be dripping out of your hair but you know what I mean lol. I put a shower cap on and slept with it while it did whatever it does and I attacked it the next morning. (The overnight shower cap step may be unnecessary I don’t really know, but I was exhausted after trying all the other non working processes for a week and needed a night off)

The part that I think made the biggest difference is the combing technique I finally figured out. When I was using the end of a rat tail combs to get the knots out from the bottom of the tangles working up, I didn’t get very far after a day. I kept hearing my hair snapping and breaking no matter how slowly I went. My hair mass was so tight I could only work out a few strands at a time and I would’ve cut all my hair off before my arms could handle how long that approach would’ve taken. If you get a comb with real sturdy bristles that don’t bend at all and are long enough, you can jab it in the mass and wiggle it around from time to time to loosen it up a bit as well as scratch your head cuz the oil will feel really gross after a while. (Have a towel handy to constantly wipe oil off your hands)

Most importantly, stick the comb sideways (the direction you would when combing your hair before this nightmare situation) slide it all the way through the very bottom of the knot so all the bristles go through and use your other hand to grab the bristles from the back side, wiggle and slide it down with both hands as far as you can, even if it’s a half inch at a time. If you go a small bit at a time, even if you can’t run the comb all the way to the ends that’s ok, you can work that out later like you would an every day tangle, but the goal is to loosen up that mass as much as possible and work your way up, eventually to the top of the knot and all the way up to your roots. That’s it! You may already have the only 2 things you’ll need. The untangled hair will look kinky and frizzy and crazy but you can fix that with a good deep condition and whatnot when you’re done.

Hella long story for a fairly simple process lol but writing it helped me overcome a little bit of the trauma I experienced after what I endured haha. You’ll understand by the end of your severely matted bun journey.

Re: Severely Matted Bun

@shopgirl442   In addition to the excellent suggestions of @danielledanielle   I came across some really good recommendations in the book How To Keep House While Drowning, by KC Davis. I own the Kindle version, and it's probably the kindest, most compassionate book you will ever read. She has an entire section on how to deal with this very issue, including her own product recommendations. The one that I suggest you look into is a product you can buy off Amazon, from It's a 10, called Miracle Leave-In Product - it's supposed to work brilliantly well on severely matted hair. You spray it in, and use your fingers to detangle into sections. Once you've managed to create smaller sections, then you can repeat the process, using a wide-tooth comb or pick. Start from the bottom and work your way up, bit by bit.


Also, hon...don't be embarrassed. These things happen to all of us. It was a little over two years ago that I woke up one Monday morning and couldn't get out of bed due to severe depression. You'd be surprised how many people you know have had this kind of difficult struggle, whether mental or physical or a combination of the two.


One last thought...perhaps you can find a local hairdresser, the kind with his or her own basement business, who would be willing to come to you. You can explain the situation in advance. I suspect you could use some pampering right about now in any case. Hang in there - you'll get through this. ❤️

Re: Severely Matted Bun

@shopgirl442, hope you are feeling better.


If you can't get professional assistance, I would try again with a different oil like jojoba or argan (coconut oil for me actually tangles my hair), and use a wide tooth comb, combing from the tip to the root.  Do it in sections.  It may take a lot of oil.


The other option is to use a hair mist + detangler and see if that helps loosen up the matted ends prior to washing.  You could also add oil to your shampoo, or use a hydrating shampoo to make sure there's moisture.

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