Thursday, June 27, 2013

HELP! Why are My Roots Dry, Matted & Tangled: Coily, Relaxed, Transitioning Hair

Transitioning Hair Roots & Relaxed Ends
Require Thorough Deep Conditioning

Coily Roots Become Manageable All Week Long
After Proper Care
Have you ever spent a week with tangled, matted, dry, miserable hair roots?  It's almost impossible to style hair that is tangled at the roots. I've been known to just "ball up" my hair and carry on with my day. It's a foolish plan, it doesn't really work well, and it doesn't make for a pretty sight.

  • Pull hair back into a smooth ponytail or bun (Not impossible, but there's just gonna be a mass of tangled hair in the center of it all).
  • Wash or Condition hair properly.
  • Treat Scalp thoroughly
  • Run your hands (or his) through hair.
  • Have a stress free hair day

I transitioned for 15 months and the first thing I had to learn was how to care for my tightly coiled roots. Mentally, I was ready to stop looking at my roots as a problem, or something I had to get straightened out. Physically, I didn't know what to do because I used to solve that problem by putting a relaxer on it. Since I was transitioning from relaxed to natural, that was not an option. That was when I learned to lay down my roots, in an effort to "match up" with my relaxed hair.

But guess what? FOR ME AT THAT TIME, THAT MEANT applying heat. I later learned how to lay down my roots, and give my relaxed hair a texture that would match my un-processed/natural hair.

Styling Transitioning Hair: Laying Down Roots to "Match" Relaxed Hair Length
This would only successfully be done on THOROUGHLY DE-TANGLED HAIR...ALL THE WAY TO THE ROOTS.

Fast forward (to the present) a head full of coils (no relaxed hair anywhere to be found), and I realize that from hair ends all the way up the hair shaft to almost THE ROOTS would be nice and tangle free. However, get to the roots and it would often be tangled, dry, knotted.
I started to wonder why this would happen, and through those musings I bring to you 

  1. My roots are not fully de-tangled. Often times, due to reasons such as "tender-headed-ness" (is this a real thing?), feeling lazy, or just can't finish the job-my de-tangling stops right before the roots. TIP: It helps to feel your de-tangling tool brushing up against the scalp to ensure that the roots are fully de-tangled. 
  2. My roots are not properly conditioned. Often times, the ends and the hair shaft receive the full benefit of a deep conditioner, but the roots are not navigated through thoroughly. I recall thinking my roots were "too thick" to get all up in there with my conditioner. Well, once my roots began to get properly deep conditioned, then they were no longer "too thick" to get into and spread the deep conditioning treatment properly. DRY ROOTS WILL TANGLE.             TIP: Go heavy on conditioner at the roots, rake through with your fingers, and finally place that section into a bantu knot (or bun), while giving the conditioner time to work it's magic. Don't be afraid to add your favorite oil to your conditioning treatment!
  3. I'm Using the Wrong De-tangling tool. Wide tooth combs can not properly and thoroughly de-tangle hair (especially the roots). They are a great tool to START the de-tangling process with. I don't think that fingers can fully de-tangle hair roots, but they are a great way to partially de-tangle the hair. When the hair is not properly detangled, then product can not be applied thoroughly, and this may encourage matting and knotting.                                           TIP: Once your conditioner is generously applied, begin de-tangling at the hair ends. Start de-tangling with a paddle brush at only 1'' of the hair ends, slowly working your way up the hair shaft (one inch at a time). When you reach mid hair shaft, put down your brush and take your pointer finger and divide the section in half at the hair roots. Pick back up your brush and resume de-tangling this smaller sized section. This smaller section of hair was easy to divide because you had already de-tangled the ends. I love to keep water running on my hair strands while de-tangling with my paddle brush.
  4. Left to Air Dry without Being Properly Moisturized. Air drying is great! Only problem is if the hair is not moisturized and sealed with oil--then it can become a dry, brittle, knotted nightmare. TIP: Even if you don't want to add a leave in product while air drying, adding oil will ensure that the hair will not dry and then tangle up. If you're worried about how long it takes product laden hair to dry, just allow your "naked" hair to air dry a bit before adding products.
  5. My Use of Drying Products. Shampoos, Stylers, and other culprits can cause dry hair--which includes dry, tangled roots. I found that certain shampoos (when I used to use shampoo) would actually cause knotting mainly at my roots. You see, the roots are the "newest" hair, and will react without hesitation to products. Since the hair ends suffer the most damage, and are the "oldest" part of the hair, they will not coil up as easily as the hair roots. Oh they will tangle, but most of the scary balls of knots will probably be found at the roots. Products that are drying will encourage tangled, matted roots. DON'T FORGET SUBSTANCES LIKE CHLORINE, THE BEACH WATER, AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT CAUSES KNOTTING!
  6. I've Got Product Build-Up. Need I say more? Flakes, white stuff, layers of products will encourage knotting. If not removed properly, product build-up will hinder proper detangling, proper conditioning, proper cleansing--and cause a mass of tangles, and knots at the roots.

As Always,

Love Tia


  1. Hey Tia,

    My mum has this issue. The thing is, she makes it worse b y never wanting to comb from the ends-up (she has this, "it'll waste my time"/"takes way too much time" attitude about it so she just pulls the comb right down.

    She still has this sorta "I don't care!" attitude about the ingredients in products, but I'm working on making that change.

    My mum has like way past BSL hair right now (totally jealous). She hasn't cut off her relaxed ends yet, though.

    In my opinion, the best way for her to keep out tangles is by protective styling. She wears her hair in twists (with extensions) for about a month or two, takes it down, washes and detangles then puts it back in. The only problem is that once her hair's in twists, she neglects it and has a nasty, "there're extensions in" attitude so she sleeps on a cotton pillow, doesn't moisturise, doesn't do anything like a DC or anything that can keep her hair moisturised.... Then when she takes down the twists, she fetches her best detangling tool - me. I detangle and then she takes over from there till the next time she has to take down her twists.

    For me, back when I was transitioning (oh my days! I said, "back when I was transitioning!" That phase is actually over? oh. my. daaaays!). Anyways, so I basically tried not to mess around with my hair after detangling so it doesn't retangle, I moisturised quite a bit and ran a comb or my fingers through my hair ever few days with some John Frieda Curl Activating Curl Around Daily Conditioner and voila! Little to no tangles! I also protective styled quite a bit.

    My advice to the transitioners with dry roots is: if you keep up with weekly DCs, avoid harsh ingredients (including sulfates, parabens, silicones, salts (e.g sodium/magnesium chloride and alcohols) there will be a day your hair won't require weekly DCs,
    (I skipped many DCs 'cause I was so busy with my finals (Feb-June) and like my hair still feels amazing and moisturised! :).

  2. Tia I don't know how I miss your post? I know I have subbed to your blog at least twice! Signing up again. I really love this post this should be very helpful to a lot of people trying to transition... I didn't realize you transitioned for 15 months wow that was a TON of new growth! Oh and what conditioner were you using back then I saw the jar it looked pretty moisturizing.