The Condition of Your Conditioner
Most hair conditioners contain some pretty basic types of ingredients. Here is a list of basic types of ingredients found in hair conditioners.
Acid detanglers. These chemicals work by changing the pH of your hair towards acidic. This contracts the rough surface of the hair to make it smoother and less likely to tangle.
Glossing detanglers. This product uses polymers like silicone to make your hair feel smooth and keep it from sticking together and forming knots.
Oils and lubricants. As you might imagine, these products make your hair more slippery, which will make it harder for tangles to form. One drawback is that your hair will appear greasy or unwashed if used excessively.
Reconstructor. Using proteins and amino acids, these products can help repair damaged hair by bonding to the protein in the hair strand.
Surfactants. These are the ingredient in soaps that reduce the surface tension of water. In conditioners, they spread over the entire surface of the hair strand, offering a layer of protection.
Moisturizer. Moisturizers attach to the hair strand and add moisture back into dry or damaged hair.
Natural Hair Knot Options
Braiding and bedhead. I always feel a little like Anne Shirley (she of the Green Gables) when I braid my hair before bed. It's totally worth it. Keeping the hair arranged in a loose braid keeps in place, and doesn't allow it to get tangled as you toss and turn in your sleep. Discovering this method has made a world of difference in my hair knot problems.
Lemon juice detangler. One of the ways that commercial conditioners and detanglers work is to lower the pH of the hair, essentially acidifying it. This causes the hair to become more compact and smoother, which in turn helps to keep the hair from getting tangled. Mix a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or cider vinegar with a couple of cups of water, and use this acid wash when you rinse your hair, or as a detangler.
Olive oil. This natural, leave-in conditioner, if used sparingly, can do wonders for dry, tangle-prone hair. It is also useful for helping to loosen established knots. Working olive oil into a knot as you try to separate the strands will make a big difference. However, unless you enjoy a greasy look, using too much of this oil will require more frequent washing.
Hair cuts for hippies. If your hair is dry and damaged, it is much more likely to turn into a tangled mess. Sometimes the only cure is to cut it off. It doesn't have to be drastic; even just a trim around the edges to remove split ends will do the trick. Remember: It's only hair, and it will grow back.