Why Do I Have Rat’s Nest Hair?-[Reasons & Solutions]

Hair is a temple for most women. But it can be ruined if not cared for properly. This can cause some serious issues like rat’s nest hair.

Well, did we just mention your biggest trouble?

If yes, then you might be trying to find out why you have rat’s nest hair?

Well, anyone can have it if not taken care of properly. Moreover, you may keep styling and damaging your hair. As a result, it gets tangled and knotted. The same would happen if you don’t wash your hair thoroughly. But there are a few more reasons we’ll mention later.

To see those, just go look at our segment. While doing so, you’ll find the solutions as well.

What is Rat’s Nest Hair?

Rat’s nest hair is a problematic hair condition. Judging by the rate of people having it, we would say that it’s a pretty common one.

Well, a rat’s nest occurs when the hair is extremely tangled. You’ll see the tiny to large knots in your hair. Most of the hair will be frizzy and look dead. Along with these, the hair will be nearly impossible to detangle normally.

Your whole head will look messy. Considering the look of it, it’s been called rat’s nest hair. Because only a rat would prefer to live in that mess.

Anyways, you might confuse normal tangled hair with rat’s nest hair. That’s what this whole section is for. Just go through it and be sure.

How Do You Know If Your Hair Turned to Be A Rat’s Nest?

We figured that you might have confusion on whether or not you have rat’s nest hair. So we presented three factors for you to check. Just be with us as we guide you. 

Hair Looks Frizzy And Out of Moisture

Source: huffpost.com

Another symptom would be frizzy flyaways on top of the head. Not only that the whole hair will look crinkly. But your hair strands will also look like bristles.

When you touch the hair, it’ll feel super rough. Because the hair is out of moisture totally. 

Hair is Extremely Tangled for A Larger Portion

Check if more than half of the hair length is tangled. Moreover, see if the tangles are in different spots of the hair.

If yes, then you might have rat’s nest hair. But to be sure your condition needs to match all three factors.

Hair Has Large Knots in it

Last but not the least, your hair will develop knots. Mainly the tangled hair turned to be knotted. You’ll see tiny knots all the way down to your hair length. But there will be large knots in your entire hair.

If you’ve used extensions, that can also be severely knotted at places.

So you might find all the three symptoms together. Then be sure that yours is the rat’s nest hair. 

Why Does Hair Turn into A Rat’s Nest Hair?

Now let’s talk about why your hair turned into a rat’s nest in the first place. We’ve listed down all probable causes. Carefully identify your symptoms and see if you can find your issue.

Loss of Moisture

Maybe your hair is too dry. And you’re not moisturizing it at all. Hence all the natural moisture is struggling to provide enough to the hair.

On top of that, you might have contributed to your hair’s loss of moisture. Maybe you used alcohol or sulfate products that made the hair rough. 

These products certainly soak up the moisture. Then they turn the hair to a bristle-like texture.

And you end up having strawy hair.

Hair Kept Tangled for A Long Time

Hair’s nature is to get tangled very often. That’s why we suggest combing your hair fully twice a day. 

But you might be ignoring combing in general. Or you’re just combing half of your hair length. In that case, the rest of the hair gets tangled. When this situation continues, hair creates knots.

If not removed immediately, these knots become a reason for the rat’s nest hair. Eventually, you may even have to cut off that knotted length of hair.

Hair Isn’t Being Cleaned Properly

Another cause can be that you’re not cleaning your hair properly. Unclean hair often keeps dirt and debris inside.

Then all of these turn the hair frizzy. This dirty frizzy hair is prone to get tangled easily. Because they’re already holding a lot of particles. It aligns with the hair and sticks in it.

The hair remains greasy and oily due to being unclean. Then it allows more dirt to stick to the hair. All of this creates knots in the hair. 

Bleaching The Hair

Bleaching is harmful to your hair and damages hair proteins. This protein binds all the hair particles together. So when you bleach, the bond breaks.

Consecutively, you start going through hair loss. Your remaining hair turns into bristles, which are more prone to get tangled. Hence, it causes rat’s nest hair.

Using A Hair Color without Maintaining The Proper Ratio

We’re more into DIY stuff nowadays. And why won’t we? Most of the time, they seem to work pretty well.

Thus, we try to skip the salon and dye hair at home. Well, for many people, that surely works. But you can still mess up if the hair color ratios are not perfect.

So the coloring package comes with a solution, dye, and conditioner for most of the brands. There’s also an instruction on what ratio to maintain. But if you messed up the ratio, that can be the problem.

Because applying that to your hair may have damaged it. Your hair can then feel lifeless and get tangled easily. So there’s a high chance for it to turn into a rat’s nest. 

Hair is Being Heated too Frequently

We’re all fond of hairstyling, correct? Well, there’s no harm in making our hair look fabulous. But the concern is that we overdo it.

As a result, hair gets dry and burnt. You’ll know it by getting a burnt smell from hair after straightening it

That is the indication that you’re overdoing. This leads to severe hair damage. And as we said damaged hair is what turns to rat’s nets. 

Back Combed The Hair to Style it

Well, as a part of a hairdo, we often backcomb our hair. Even salons do this a lot. And it is one of the main reasons why a rat’s nest hair pops up.

back combed the hair
Source: shemazing.com

When you backcomb, all the combed hair ties into a bigger knot. This knot can’t be removed without a detangler.

So it’s a drastic mess up.

But don’t worry, we know how to get you out of this mess.

How to Get Rid of Rat’s Nest Hair?- 5 Ways to Try

There are a few ways you can choose in case you’ve made your hair worse. Like if you’ve got rat’s nest hair, the upcoming solutions will be beneficial.

But first, why don’t you have a sneak peek at the solutions first?

Hair Condition

Preferred Solution


Time Taken

Too detangled and knotted

Detangler spray, baby powder


1- 2 hours or more depending on the situation

Moderately detangled and knotted


Detangler tool

High to medium

5-10 minutes for the conditioner


30 mins to 1 hour, depending on hair length and thickness

Little detangled and knotted

Mist and comb


10-20 mins depending on hair length and thickness

Now that you’ve got the overall idea let’s get into the details. Good luck with detangling your hair!

Use Detangler Tools

If you have rat’s nest hair, it’ll be the most convenient solution for you. So just buy a detangler tool, and use it likewise.

You’ll get rid of tangled hair pretty soon. 

Try A Detangler Spray

You’ll find a lot of detangler sprays at stores. You can just pick anyone suiting your budget. Then just spray it on your hair.

Now try to lose the knots with fingers.

After that, gently comb through each knot. You’ll lose some hair though. But this is something you can’t avoid.

Now, just keep combing until the hair is detangled and knot-free.

Sprinkle Baby Powder

Children are most likely to have rat’s nest hair. They don’t comb hair properly and play a lot. So their hair gets tangled pretty easily. But there’s a solution to this problem.

So let’s say you’re trying to detangle your child’s hair. In that case, baby powder will be a good solution. While detangling, keep in mind that no harsh movements are being used. Because your baby’s skin is delicate, and you don’t want to make things worse.

So sprinkle some baby powder on the knots.

Then try to detangle knots first. It’s easy to detangle as the baby powder has a smooth and silky texture.

Run your fingers through hairs and then detangle them. After that, comb the hair gently. If you have a child with disabilities, they might get a little uncomfortable. In that case, try to distract them with a toy or video game.

While detangling, make sure to be extra gentle. 

Though we’ve been mentioning children, this method can be used for adults also. 

Apply A Conditioner

Another gentle method is to apply a conditioner. First, wet your hair. Then put a moderate amount of conditioner on the hair. Apply mostly on the tangled and knotted areas.

It will help to smoothen the hairs. Wait for 2-5 minutes. Then comb over the tangles. They’ll easily detangle.

Wash the conditioner. And try to loosen the whole hair. That’s it. 

Spray Hair Mist And Comb

This is one of the easiest methods. Just take a hair mist. Now spray it over your hair. Spray twice on the knotted hair. It will add extra moisture there.

Now use your hands to detangle at first. Try to loosen up knots as much as possible. Then take a comb. And comb gently. Keep combing until all the tangle and knot are gone. 

You may need to spray mist a couple of times to fully detangle. But it’s worth a try.

My Hair Tends to Turn into A Rat’s Nest-How to Prevent it?

Maybe your hair is prone to become tangled and build in a rat’s nest. But this is not a one-time thing. It keeps happening over and over again.

If that’s your case, just follow the instructions below. And say goodbye to rat’s nest hair forever. 

Use A Hair Mask

Try to use a hair mask once or twice a week. For that, you can rely on store-bought hair masks. We found these masks do the work pretty well.

maui moisture heal & hydrate + shea butter hair mask

Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask

marc anthony grow long hair mask for dry damaged hair

Marc Anthony Grow Long Hair Mask for Dry Damaged Hair

So you can either buy these ones. Or just make your own mask that’s even cheaper. Let’s suggest you two hair mask recipes.

Hair mask 1: Banana Mask

For this hair mask, take 1 and a half banana. Then put in a blender. Then add ¼th cup, honey. Now, blend all the ingredients.

When they’re all well blended, add 2 drops of tea tree oil essential oil. Now blend again.

After that take the mixture out of the blender. And put it in a bowl. You can store it in a jar for 1 week. So take the amount you think you’ll need to cover your hair. And store the rest.

Application process: To apply this mask, just spread the mixture on your hair. You can use your hands or a brush to do so. 

Then cover your hair, from your roots to loose ends. And wrap your head with a plastic wrap or shower cap. Now, wait for 3-4 hours. Then wash it using a mild shampoo. Repeat it 3-4 days later. 

Hair mask 2: Aloe Vera Mask

Here, you can use both aloe vera gel or natural aloe.

First, let’s tell you how to use alive vera to treat dry hair. For this, you have to cut the aloe. Then cut out the spiky edges. Now peel one side of the aloe peel. With help of a spoon, scoop out the fresh aloe.

Then put it in a blender. 

If you’re using store-bought aloe gel,  simply put the gel into the blender. And follow the next steps. 

Now add 1 tablespoon honey to it. Then add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. And add 1 tablespoon fenugreek powder. Now blend it well.

If you think it needs a little water, add some and blend again. Finally, your mask is ready.

Application process: Use it just as you applied the banana mask. But this mask is a lot slimy. So be careful not to be messy. And you can leave this mask overnight if you wish to.

And when you wash the hair, you’ll be in love with it. 

Apply Oil Mixture

Another habit you should develop is applying an oil mixture. We suggest applying this once a week to once in two weeks at least.

Because it helps to restore hair moisture. And tries to rebond the hair particles. The good news is that you can make it on your own.

You’ll need-

  • Coconut oil 1 cup
  • Almond oil 1 cup
  • Aloe vera gel 2 tablespoon
  • Castor oil 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek powder 1 teaspoon
  • Argan oil 1 teaspoon

Mix all the ingredients together in a pan without aloe vera and argan oil. Bring it to a boil then add the aloe vera. Stir it well. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Now pour the oil mixture into a bowl. And let it come into room temperature. Now add the argan oil and stir it.

It’s time to pour the mixture into a jar. Then store it in a place at room temperature. You can use it for a month.

Just a few drops in your palm. And rub the palm. Then massage your hair with it. 

After that, the hair will be silky and non-frizzy.

Try Leave-in Conditioners

Leave-in conditioners are quite popular now. And they’re totally worth the hype.

So you can apply a small amount to your hair. And leave it for the mentioned time in the packaging.

Now you can continue your work. And wash it later on. It creates an extra smooth and shiny look on your hair. And it’s perfect for people who frequently have rat’s nest hair.

Because conditioners are known to be detanglers. So applying for a leave-in one reduces tangle probability. 

Well, that’s all on rat’s nest hair. But know that there can be situations where you won’t be able to fix the hair. In that case, you may need to seek help from a salon professional.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use conditioner before shampoo?

Of course, you can. This method is actually popular. If you have frizzy hair, this will help you. First, apply conditioner and wash the hair. Then shampoo the hair.

What else can I do to prevent the rat’s nest hair?

Well, you can contact a hair salon. And then apply hair spa. Or they can suggest any sort of hydrating treatment for your hair. Maintain this treatment at least once a week. So that you never face the rat’s nest again.

Can I apply hand lotion to detangle the rat’s nest hair?

We don’t recommend it. Because hand lotion is moisturizing. But at the same time, it’s heavy. And it’ll stick to your scalp and cause problems.

Parting Words

We’ve shown you everything on rat’s nest hair. You must feel content now.

If you’re successful in removing the rat’s nest, do comment below. If not then try a new haircut.

Jokes apart, best of luck!

Katharyn Riedel

Leave a Comment