Men who keep their hair cut short generally have little to worry about with tangles. However, those of us who prefer medium to long hair need to know how to detangle hair. This is because the hair tends to tie itself in knots during the course of the day, especially when washing.
The first step to detangling hair is to prevent as many tangles as possible. This means that care must be exercised when washing the hair to avoid manipulating long strands in a direction that promotes tangling. Most of the effort should focus on the scalp area. Shampoo can then be worked gently from the scalp outward to the ends of the hair.
When drying hair, pat it with a towel gently. Do not use any sort of rubbing motion as this will result in additional tangles. A blow dryer may be useful on low heat, but care should be used because the heat of the dryer can damage hair in other ways.
After removing excess moisture from the hair, a wide toothed comb can be applied to the hair in small sections. It is best to start in short strokes near the ends of the hair and work back toward the scalp using a longer stroke each time.
If tangles are present that can not be combed out without damaging the hair, conditioner may be added to the rinse or applied directly to the hair and left in. Most conditioners contain ingredients that aid in detangling the hair. There are also spray on detanglers that can be applied in a light mist to the hair to aid in untying the knots and tangles.
Under no conditions should one simply try to pull out tangles. What will happen is that the tangled strands of hair will be ripped out of the scalp or the hair will be broken and damaged.