Why Do Hair Extensions Become Knotty? ANSWERED!

As much as you may LOVE your hair extensions, you probably know that they are extremely prone to knotting, and this can be very frustrating! After struggling with knotty hair extensions myself, I decided to get to the root of the issue and how to fix it—here’s what I found.

Not taking proper care of your hair extensions is one of the main reasons why they become tangled and knotty. If your hair extensions are of poor quality they are also much more likely to become knotty. Other factors such as environment, heat, and length of hair can also play a role.

That’s just the short answer. Before you can successfully prevent or fix your knotted and tangled hair extensions, you need to know exactly why they are knotting.

Here are 7 other reasons why your hair extensions might be knotting and tangling and some tips that can help you fix the issue.

  1. Your extensions are really long. If your hair extensions are really long, chances are they are going to tangle, especially if you leave them down regularly.
  2. You don’t use treatments or oils. Hair extensions are prone to drying out because they do not have the natural oils that your scalp would usually produce. It is, therefore, crucial that you take initiative to do this yourself—coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, and argan oil are all excellent sources of moisture for your hair.
  3. Lack of brushing. If you aren’t brushing your hair regularly throughout the day, your hair is naturally going to tangle.
  4. Your extensions are really thick. If your extensions are thick, there’s more chance that your hair will tangle as there is more hair.
  5. Your hair is really dry. Hair that is super dry will be more prone to tangle. This is usually because you aren’t conditioning your extensions regularly.
  6. Your environment. If you live in a very dry, windy environment, your hair is more likely to knot. Be sure to tie your extensions up or possibly remove them if it is a really windy day.
  7. You use heat styling tools regularly. If you often use heat styling tools on very high heat, chances are this is going to damage and break your hair, resulting in knots.

How Can I Prevent Hair Extensions from Knotting & Tangling?

Now that you know why your hair is knotting, here are some steps you can take to prevent it from knotting or tangling in the first place.

You can prevent your hair extensions from knotting and tangling by gently brushing the ends of your hair at least 2 to 3 times a day and by making sure your hair is moisturized regularly. Moisturized and frequently combed hair are less likely to knot or tangle.

Here are some more useful tips you can follow to prevent those knots and tangles.

  • Make sure you moisturize your hair regularly. Don’t ever forget to moisturize your hair extensions, especially if you notice they are looking and feeling a bit dry. Hair extensions don’t have the natural oils from your scalp that your natural hairs do, so they are prone to dry out faster. Try rubbing some good quality oils through your hair from top to tips next time you brush. If you forget, your hair is more likely to be dry, tangled, and matted due to lack of moisture.
  • Tie your hair up at night. Your hair is extremely prone to tangling while you are sleeping, especially when you don’t tie it up. This is because of the friction between your hair and the pillow when you toss and turn. Ideally, you should take your extensions out every evening before you go to sleep and put them away somewhere neatly where they won’t bunch and knot. If you must leave them in, be sure to tie your hair in a loose braid or bun before sleeping.
  • Brush your hair consistently. Going days without brushing your extensions can leave your hair in shambles, especially if you like to leave your hair down on a windy day! Be sure to brush hair 2-3 times daily with a soft bristle brush to prevent your extensions from tangling.
  • Use hot tools sparingly. Using straighteners and dryers on your extensions too often will cause it to dry out from the heat and lead to knotting. If you must use hot tools regularly, be sure to turn down the heat as low as possible to prevent damage.
  • Avoid exercising with hair extensions. When you sweat, your body releases a salty and acidic mixture to your hair, which can dry out your extensions. This, in turn, leads to matting and tangling and faster deterioration of your extensions. Rather take them out before you hit the gym.
  • Do not swim with hair extensions. Be sure to take your extensions out before wetting them, as the end result will be very knotted and matted hair. Chlorine from swimming pools, salt from ocean water, and dirt in all bodies of water can be damaging to your hair extensions. Also, swimming with your extensions can result in your real hair mixing with your extensions—again, a nightmare to detangle.
  • Use hair products that are sulfate-free. Products that contain sulfates can dry out your extensions by sitting in your hair and weakening it over time. Be sure to read the back of the bottle to check the next time you are buying products.
  • Store your hair extensions neatly. When removing your extensions, avoid tossing them aside in a messy heap somewhere in your room—chances are they will become dirty and knotted by doing this. Rather place them neatly in a clean, compact carrier bag when you are not wearing them.

How To Fix Knotted & Tangled Hair Extensions?

You can fix knotted and tangled hair extensions by first gently running fingers through the hair to separate the strands as much as possible. Then, use a wide-tooth comb and work through all the knots and tangles. Once satisfied, gently wash hair with a deep moisturizer and then dry with a cotton towel.

Watch the video below or view the steps to find out how to do this step by step.

  1. Gently detangling your extensions with your fingers by running them through the hair from top to bottom.
  2. Split hair into about 4 smaller, manageable sections (left, right, top, and underneath.)
  3. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently work through each section. For any really large knots, opt for a tail comb to gently loosen the knot. Be sure to make sure you don’t pull too tight.
  4. Gently wash hair with a deep moisturizer, being careful not to scrub too hard and cause more knots. Comb fingers gently and thoroughly from root to tip until smooth.
  5. Dry hair gently with a cotton towel, brushing through thoroughly with a comb until completely smooth.
  6. Apply a heat protecting spray before drying hair on very low heat. Once dry, style as required!

Related Questions

What is the best brush to use to detangle my hair?

Bamboo Boar bristle brushes are great for brushing knotted hair without being too harsh or causing further breakage. Alternatively, any brush that has flexible bristles will be much gentler on your hair—you can find brushes like this in most stores or salons.

Which are the best type of hair extensions that are least likely to tangle?

Clip-in hair extensions are certainly better when it comes to convenience and price. They work by simply clipping into your hair and can be done from the comfort of your home. They are easy to maintain as they can quickly be removed when necessary for washing, treating etc.

The more natural your hair extensions are, the better. However, how knotty your hair extensions become is likely more to do with how you have cared for them rather than the type of hair extension you choose. Therefore rather choose extensions that can easily be removed and maintained.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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