The 18 Best Detanglers of 2023

Our best overall pick is the Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer

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The 16 Best Detanglers of 2022

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

When your hair is in tangles, drenching it in your everyday conditioner will only get you so far. If your hair tends to get knotted or matted, you might need something with a little more gusto—something specifically formulated to unbind you from your entanglement.

Whether you're working with real hair or extensions, detangling products leverage gentle yet effective ingredients to untie your knots without yanking out any hair. And the best formulas will nourish, smooth, and condition your hair while they're at it. To pull out all the stops, hairstylist Sky Kim of Jenna Perry Hair Studio in New York recommends having a good brush or comb on hand too.

We conducted hours of research to find the best detanglers on the market, evaluating each on their ability to detangle knots and tangles–as well as other benefits—such as hydrating or strengthening. With recommendations from experts and after considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks.

Best Overall

Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer

4.8
Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Hydrates and detangles

  • Smells great

  • Hair looks sleek and shiny

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount of product

According to Kim, the best hair detangler is Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer. "It smells strong but nice and gives you shine and moisture." We couldn't agree more. The superstar formula blends coconut and apricot oils to gently separates your hair.

And the magic doesn't stop there. Amino acids seal the cuticle to strengthen and prep your hair for styling while delivering the hydration it needs to live its smoothest, silkiest life.

Price at time of publish: $37

Size: 1.7 / 5.9 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Detangler

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Detangler

Walmart

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Smooths hair

  • Vegan formula

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more moisturizing

Thanks to Garnier, you can untie your hair for just a few bucks. Not only is this spray tender with your tangles, but it calls on ingredients like aloe and vitamin E to minimize frizz, add shine, and soften your hair. We also love that its formula is completely free of animal-derived ingredients and is made without parabens or silicones.

Price at time of publish: $6

Size: 5 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

Not Your Mother's Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler

Not Your Mother's Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler
What We Like
  • Strengthening formula

  • Detangles and smooths hair

  • Works on all hair types

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

Looking for a drugstore option? Your best bet is Not Your Mother's cheekily named Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler. The keratin-infused formula simultaneously separates knotted, twisted hair while fortifying your vulnerable strands to protect them from future damage.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 6 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Natural Hair

The Mane Choice Soft As Can Be Revitalize & Refresh 3-in-1 Co-Wash, Leave In, Detangler

The Mane Choice The Alpha Soft As Can Be 3-In-1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner
What We Like
  • Rich, hydrating formula

  • Multipurpose product

  • Byrdie Clean

What We Don't Like
  • Bottle could be improved

The Mane's Choice Soft As Can Be was formulated with kinky, wavy, curly, and textured hair in mind. Containing nourishing ingredients like biotin, avocado oil, aloe vera, and castor oil, this three-in-one product can be used as a detangler, co-wash, or leave-in conditioner.

Price at time of publish: $12

Size: 8 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

Aunt Jackie’s Knot on My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy

Aunt Jackie's Curls and Coils Knot On My Watch Instant Hair Detangling Therapy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Leaves hair feeling silky

  • Helps detangle serious knots

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not for all hair types

Knot On My Watch is a no-nonsense product that instantly detangles even the most stubborn knots from curly hair. Its "silky slip" blend of olive oil, glycerin, soybean oil, and cocoa butter allows you to effortlessly glide a comb through your hair without any bumps in the road.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 12 fl. oz | Scent: Unscented | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for All Hair Types

Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier

Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier

Dermstore

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Moisturizes hair

  • Formulated to protect against UV rays

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best value

"I'm also into Rahua Hydration Detangler," Kim tells Byrdie. "It's really lightweight, so you can layer it on." This ultra-moisturizing spray plays nice with all hair types, working to soften, smooth, and protect while it detangles.

Price at time of publish: $34

Size: 6.5 fl. oz | Scent: Passionfruit and mango | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best In-Shower

TGIN Quench 3-In-1 Co-Wash Conditioner And Detangler

TGIN Quench 3-In-1 Co-Wash Conditioner And Detangler
What We Like
  • Hair looks soft and shiny

  • Available in multiple sizes

  • Thick, luxurious feel

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

If you run into knots frequently, you know getting them out often begins in the shower. With that said, you'll be glad to have a bottle of TGIN Quench on hand when you're working out the kinks. This triple-threat product can be used to wash, condition, and detangle your hair, and you can count on softer, smoother, shinier hair every time.

Price at time of publish: $13

Size: 13 / 32 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Post-Shower

Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer

amika Wizard Detangling Primer

Sephora

What We Like
  • Contains nourishing oils

  • Smooths hair

  • Pump bottle is easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Scent could be improved

If your tangles tend to appear when you step out of the shower, reach for The Wizard. This multi-tasking potion contains hydrating sea buckthorn berry, nourishing avocado oil, fortifying tocopheryl, and smoothing panthenol. As if by sorcery, it instantly detangles your hair while prepping them for styling.

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: 4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Leave-In

Pattern Leave-In Conditioner

Pattern Beauty Leave-In Conditioner

Sephora

What We Like
  • Helps detangle serious knots

  • Moisturizes hair

  • Works on kinky, coily hair

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

We're also loving Pattern Beauty's Leave-In Conditioner. Touted as the best of leave-in treatments, the creamy formula draws on natural oils and honey to untangle knots, loosen matted hair, and seal in moisture.

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: 9.8 / 25 fl. oz | Scent: Floral | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Runner-Up, Best Leave-In

Kinky Curly Knot Today Detangler

kinky-curly-knot-today-detangler

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Smooths frizz

  • Hydrates dry hair

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it has a strong smell

Another option for a detangling leave-in treatment is this one from Kinky Curly. Their products are geared toward those with curly and natural hair, but this is effective at removing knots and tangles on all hair types. It also provides moisture to make detangling easy and pain-free.

Price at time of publish: $13

Size: 8 fl. oz | Scent: Herbal | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Frizz-Control

It's a 10 Silk Express Miracle Silk Leave-In Conditioner

It's a 10 Silk Express Miracle Silk Leave-In

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Hair looks sleek and shiny

  • Smells great

  • Tames frizz and flyaways

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

Since its 2006 launch, It's A 10 has walked the line between drugstore and high-end haircare with finesse. The brand's beloved Silk Express not only rids your hair of tangles but also smooths the cuticles and softens the hair shaft to protect against flyaways and frizz.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: 4 / 10 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Use

Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Softening Leave In Conditioner

Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Softening Leave In Conditioner
What We Like
  • Great value

  • Softens hair

  • Vegan, clean formula

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

Multi-use cosmetics are having a moment. And when it comes to hair products, you really can't go wrong with Melanin Haircare's leave-in conditioner. The all-star formula is a godsend for tangled hair, but you can also use it as a pre-shampoo treatment, a regular conditioner, a hair mask, or a styling cream.

Price at time of publish: $23

Size: 16 fl. oz | Scent: Mint | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Moisturizing

Bed Head by TIGI Beach Freak Moisturizing Detangler Spray

Bed Head Beach Freak Detangle Spray
What We Like
  • Moisturizes hair

  • Smells great

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Contains silicones

The last thing you want to do is try to get knots out of dry, brittle hair. With this in mind, Bed Head Beach Freak moisturizes thirsty hair all the way to their core while detangling and smoothing your hair.

Price at time of publish: $14

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Citrus | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Oil

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil

Courtesy of Ulta 

What We Like
  • Lightweight yet hydrating

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Nourishing blend of oils

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive per ounce

Sometimes, you need to grease up to untangle knotted hair. Bumble and bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil contains a blend of coconut, safflower, grape, macadamia, argan, and sweet almond oil to unwind all the twists and turns that have you tied up. The lightweight, super-absorbent formula also addresses frizz and split ends.

Price at time of publish: $43

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Unscented

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Detangling Spray

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Detangling Spray

Ulta

What We Like
  • Gentle on hair

  • Detangles and softens

  • Hydrating formula

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

If you prefer pared-down products without strong fragrances, try Briogeo's Be Gentle, Be Kind. Formulated with aloe vera, oat milk, and green tea, this naturally sourced detangling spray is easy on stressed hair and tough on knots.

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: 5.9 fl. oz | Scent: Unscented | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Heat Protectant

Ceremonia Guava Rescue Hair Heat Protectant Spray

Ceremonia Heat Protectant

Sephora

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Hydrating and strengthening

  • Protects up to 450ᵒF

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that the spray nozzle could work better

If you like a heat protectant-detangler combo, this pick from Ceremonia is your best bet. It contains natural ingredients to protect the hair from UV, blue light, and heat styling up to 450ᵒF, and is effective at detangling while smoothing and hydrating.

Price at time of publish: $22

Size: 6.7 fl. oz | Scent: Fruity | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Brush

Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler

Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Gently detangles

  • Good value

  • Cute color

What We Don't Like
  • Not meant to be used with heat

"You can also go ahead and just get yourself a Tangle Teaser," says Kim. Featuring over 300 flexible, two-tiered teeth, this thoughtfully designed hairbrush is a great companion to your detangling product of choice.

Price at time of publish: $15

Best Comb

Mason Pearson De-Tangling Comb C2

Mason Pearson Detangling Comb
What We Like
  • Gently detangles

  • Classic design

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it can break easily

Mason Pearson combs have reigned for over a century. The iconic brand's detangling comb builds on the trusted quality of the original to effortlessly separate knotted hair without tugging or weakening them further.

Price at time of publish: $36

Final Verdict

Oribe's Run-Through Detangling Primer is by far the best detangler product, easily untying knots and leaving smooth, silky hydration in its wake. However, if you're looking for a more affordable option, you can count on Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Detangler + Air Dry to get the job done. And in terms of detangling tools, your best bet is the Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler.

Meet the Expert

Sky Kim is a New York-based hairstylist at Jenna Perry Hair Studio. She is also a member of Byrdie's Beauty & Wellness Review Board.

What to Look for in a Detangling Product

Intended Use

When browsing detanglers, you'll want to think about the intended use of each product. There are sprays, creams, conditioners, leave-ins, oils, hair primers, co-washes—you name it. While some can be used interchangeably, others are meant to be applied either in the shower or when you get out.

If you like to work through your knots in the shower, go with a conditioner, co-wash, or detangling cleanser. (Some multi-use products can be used as all three). If you want something that makes it easier to comb through wet hair, opt for a leave-in treatment, whether it's a primer, cream, spray, or oil.

Ingredients

When it comes to getting knots out, you'll almost always need something containing oils. Depending on the formula and how much oil is used, it doesn't necessarily mean the product will leave your hair greasy. With that said, look for detanglers blended with plant-sourced oils, like avocado, apricot, coconut, argan, soybean, castor, or macadamia.

The best products contain ingredients that help nourish, fortify, and condition the hair. Look for detanglers with aloe vera, biotin, vitamin E, glycerin, cocoa butter, sea buckthorn berry, tocopheryl, panthenol, and amino acids.

Hair Type

Though most detanglers can be used on all hair types, some are formulated with different textures in mind. Those with curly or kinky hair may want to look for products that are a little heavier on the oils for a glossy finish.

To avoid an overly slick, weighed-down appearance, people with fine hair should opt for a lightweight formula, such as a primer. Alternatively, they can use in-shower treatments, like hair masks and deep conditioners.

FAQ
  • How do you detangle hair?

    Whether in the shower or out, you'll typically want to detangle hair when it's wet—though you'll want to be careful because it's weakest when wet. Gently work a brush or comb through small sections, starting at the ends and moving upward as you get through each knot.

    For mild tangles, you can try brushing your hair when it's dry. Just be sure to hold each section securely in your other hand to avoid tugging at the roots.

  • How do you detangle curly hair?

    It's best to detangle curly hair when it's wet or at least damp. Start by applying a generous amount of your detangling product of choice. Then use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to loosen the knots, beginning at the ends and working your way up.

  • How do you detangle matted hair?

    Matted hair is a little trickier to remedy because the individual strands are tangled up instead of larger pieces. First, saturate your hair with a detangling product, whether it's a conditioner, primer, cream, or another-leave in treatment—and don't be afraid to apply a substantial amount.

    Then take a wide-toothed comb or pick and use short, gentle motions to loosen the knots, starting at the ends and working your way up. Hold each section of hair securely with your opposite hand to avoid pulling on the roots. Remember to go slow and continue adding product if needed.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland specializes in makeup and haircare. Having rocked multiple rows of hair extensions for nearly a decade, she's no stranger to detangling products. From this list, she's a fan of Oribe, Garnier, Amika, and It's A 10.

Updated by Shannon Stubbs

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