Rats Nest Hair

By: | Last Updated: February 15, 2022

When they say that the hair is one’s crowning glory, they probably don’t mean you should have salon-finish hair everywhere and every time. After all, that’s a hassle to your wallet and time. Sometimes a little hair mist or even a finger-comb in the middle of the day is all it takes to bring life to one’s hair. 

And then there are times where it is more a trial by fire rather than a typical morning routine. It is exhausting— all that rats nest hair that puts you in a bad spotlight and blocks your self-esteem. 

It doesn’t even make you look like Hermione Granger! Not even the Witch at West End looks that frazzled! So how come you are suffering something which doesn’t seem to occur to everyone else? And is there something to do here? 

Yes, there is.  A rat’s nest hair is actually common. Maybe it’s not evident to everyone else because they have solved it already. It’s high time you get on it too. 

The origin of it all

A rat’s nest hair did not start with a bad reputation. 

If you search that term now, you’ll only see rat’s nest hair memes featuring people who look like they were electrified rather than had a bad hair day. It looks terrible and honestly daunting. 

The heights and just the enormity of the hair in these memes seem like it is not going down. Ever!

You need to go back to the 18th-century Elizabethan era to trace the rat’s nest hair origin. 

Back then, if you had poufy hair, you were on point, and your style was the trend. And with all things popular, whoever does the extreme gets all the attention. So you see, the more a hair is teased, ratted, and frizzed, the more you awe your Victorian audience. 

So back then, the ladies used a “rat”— because it is similar to a rodent. It’s basically your hair shaped to a small pad which adds height to your hairstyle. 

In modern times, of course, that hairstyle is only seen intentionally sported in costume parties or RuPaul’s Drag Race. The term rats nest hair has also evolved into something outright awful and something to be rid of. 

Before you try one method after another on how to get rat’s nest out of hair, it is better that you know first the root cause of your problem. 

CHECK OUT: Why Is My Hair Frizzy All of a Sudden

What is rats nest hair?

What is rats nest hair

For a hair to be considered a rats nest, there are three factors you should look for: frizz, tangles, and knots. 


If your hair looks like it should sweep the floor rather than stay in your head, then you got bristles instead of hair. And that is symptom no. 1 that you should remember. 

When your hair lacks moisture, it will feel rough, and the occurrence of frizzy flyaways at the top of your head becomes apparent.


Now, hair will always get tangled. No morning ever goes by without some mild detangling session. 

But if it is more than half of your hair? That is a more significant dilemma than you can solve with a brush or the shower. If you also observe that the tangles are in different spots in your hair, then you can check symptom no. 2. 


Fancy yourself a sailor because if you have rat’s nest hair, that means knots, knots, and more knots for symptom no. 3! From tiny ones down the length of your hair to drastically large ones— they are all there! 

If you have checked all of those factors, there is no denying the sad truth. Now, you have to know what causes this nightmare to happen. 

Why is my hair like a rat’s nest?

Why is my hair like a rat's nest

Let’s explore the reasons why!

1. Loss of Moisture

This, here, is your primary culprit. If you have dry hair or extremely humid weather, or a chemically damaged one, the lack of moisture makes it easier for tangles to form. 

Dehydration comes from within as it also comes outside. That means not drinking enough water also affects your hair negatively. 

But the effect is more pronounced when you do not moisturize it with serum or oils, especially if you have naturally dry hair. Coiled or kinky hairs fall into this category since their strand shape prevents natural oil from traveling down the hair’s length and moisturizes it. 

Preventive measures: Invest in a hair mask or oil treatments weekly to ensure your hair gets all the moisture it needs. 

2. Tangled for too long

Who here combs their hair twice a day? Do you? Then there is something in your technique that is, well, not so good if you still get rats nest hair. 

Everyone has lazy days and on those days, sometimes meticulously combing is too much. So you might find yourself combing just the bottom half or even finger-combing casually. Nothing wrong with it.

The real problem comes when you multiply your lazy days by a lot. Your hair gradually becomes so tangled, and knots increase as you let it be one day after the other. The next thing you know, you have a rat’s nest building! 

One instance also which contributes to this potential rat’s nest is when you back-comb or when you tease your hair to style it. 

Doing this often and not taking your sweet time to detangle at the end of the day will not only lead to a morning-after regret but a hair hangover that will last a long time. 

Preventive measures: If you are not the type to comb your hair at all, try leave-in conditioners. Even on lazy days, you can ensure that your hair doesn’t get too tangled. You can even finger-comb them once in a while watching another crime documentary on Netflix. Relaxing! 

3. Unclean Hair

Okay, the world is polluted. Very. When you step outside, a host of particles and dirt sticks in your hair, among everything else in your body. 

Daily showers usually take care of that. And if that is somehow something you don’t do seriously, then bad news is coming for you.

The dirt that sticks to your hair attracts other dirt particles to join the party. It’s the literal giant knots of mess you are so afraid of. It’s greasy and dirty and not at all hygienic. 

Pro tip: While you are in the mindset of showering, always towel off gently, especially if you already have a rat’s nest construction on your hair. 

Preventive measures: An excellent clarifying shampoo helps prevent this dilemma. You can have it as a weekly deep-cleaning routine. Just make sure to condition your hair after!

Chemical damage

One thing everyone can agree on is that chemical treatments often lead to dry hair. Bleaching, coloring, and other chemical treatments degrade the protein layers of the hair. When the protein bonds break, your hair starts being dry and rough. You can see split ends and observe hair loss. The dryness can then lead to tangles and knots. 

Preventive measures: Once a hair is damaged, even more effort is needed to salvage it. Serums and oils are a great way to keep your hair hydrated. (It is also wise to not book a bleaching appointment so often, you know)


Overexposure to heat opens the cuticle of the hair. 

When the cuticle remains open, it is unable to retain moisture. You guessed it! The hair strands will start getting brittle and dry. 

The cuticles are supposed to lie flat, but once raised, they also make it possible for strands to just criss-cross on each other. Leave it be, and you will have different sizes of knots all over your hair!

Preventive measures: Either stay away from it entirely or do not do heat styling often. You can also invest in heat-protectant serums so the situation does not worsen. 

How do I get rat’s nest out of my hair? 

How do I get rat's nest out of my hair

“Not all rat’s nest are created the same,” says some pouty Victorian, probably. There is a mansion size rat’s nest, and there are those you can solve with a bit of elbow grease. 

With that in mind, let’s get the worst out of the way first. 

Too tangled and knotted

The best weapon when it comes to this level of mess is patience. No kidding. You got to get over that initial fear that you will never finish it and take it one knot at a time. And with that, a detangler spray or some baby powder. 

Children are most likely victims of this many tangles and knots since they don’t care enough to maintain their appearance. So the best way is to sprinkle some baby powder on the region you are detangling. This gives a silky texture to the strands and makes it easier and gentler. 

A detangler spray is also a house staple. After you shower, pat your hair with a towel (do not rub!). Once your hair is a bit dryer, part it in half and spray about four spritzes on each side. 

Note that this could take hours but never give up and don’t lose hope! It would be best if you made it a mission to breathe a sigh of relief before the day ends. 

Mildly tangled

This type of mess gets solved with a conditioner and some detangler tools. You may have seen complaints online about how conditioning just doesn’t work. Well, maybe because it is just too tangled. In such cases, refer to the above. 

However, if it’s not a high-level alert, then try drenching your hair with conditioner and using a wide-tooth comb, slowly but gently detangle the large knots. 

It’s better to start at the end going up, so you don’t unnecessarily tug your hair. You can also use a detangler brush if you want thin, flexible bristles, and combs do not accomplish the task. 

For the smaller knots, you can opt for finer-toothed combs. But always make sure that you don’t forcefully tug your hair and end up with clumps of hair and a hurting scalp. 

Not-so Tangled

If your rat’s nest is barely there, you can use a hair mist and a comb to return your hair into the organized and flowy side slowly. 

The spray mist will help moisturize the hair and aid the detangling process. It may take a lot of spray mist, but you will definitely achieve tangle-free hair with a dedicated effort!

CHECK OUT: Home Remedies For Frizzy Hair After Shower

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