If you asked me to name one thing I don't like about my natural hair, my answer would definitely be: single strand knots, also called fairy knots. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just thank the Lord baby Jesus and skip to another post. If you're all too familiar with those little devilish knots, stick with me and let's start a support group together.
A single strand knot occurs when a single strand of hair ties a knot around itself. They feel like little balls and usually appears around the end of the hair. If not eliminated, they can cause a) the strand to snap during detangling and b) friction and damage to adjacent hairs. And just so you know, the longer your hair, the more they appear. So.... UGH.
How to eliminate them?
You can try to unravel them by carefully using a needle for example, but by doing so, you may end up damaging your strands. Plus, it takes way too much time (in my opinion) to do it strand by strand.
The easiest option is to trim right above the knot (with sharp hair scissors), which also help prevent further damage along the hair strand.
How to avoid them altogether?
Unfortunately, it seems that fairy knots are just part of the natural curly/kinky hair package. However, you can reduce them by:
- Keeping your hair moisturized, focusing on your ends. And don't forget to deep condition on a regular basis.
- Sealing your ends. Sealing with a butter or an oil helps smooth curly ends.
- Stretching your ends. Stretching makes it harder for the strands to coil on themselves.
- Detangling thoroughly. Never underestimate the importance of a proper (and gentle!) detangling session, especially before you wash your hair.
- Avoiding wash and go's. Letting your hair dry and fully shrink is the best way to create knots.
- Using more protective or low-manipulation styles. Free hair has a greater tendency to form knots, so protective and low-manipulation styles (when your ends are tucked away) are great ways to prevent knots.
- Trimming regularly. Your ends being the oldest part of your hair, it's also the driest and usually the most "damaged" part. To give your ends a clean cut and avoid split ends, try incorporating a regular trim in your routine.
- Trying oil therapy or oil rinsing. Some naturals recommend oil therapy (i.e.applying oil to your hair daily) or oil rinsing (i.e. soaking hair in oil before or after washing) to prevent single strand knots. The reasoning behind those claims is that oil will keep hair lubricated, thus reducing the occurence of tangles and knots.
I personally really enjoy wearing my hair loose but I've decided to do more protective styles this year because I can't seem to retain length lately. In fact, I had to trim my hair more often in 2013 just to get rid of single strand knots popping out off nowhere. I hope protective styling is going to help and I'll keep you posted on that.
What about you ladies, how do you feel about single strand knots? How do you take care of them? Should we start a support group? :)