Reader e-mail| Single Strand Knots — HELP!

by West Parsons on May 2, 2012 · 6 comments

in hair care, reader e-mail

single strand knots natatural hair

Q: I have a problem with single strand knots. They drive me crazy and I find myself popping them off whenever I find them. I know this isn’t good…but do you experience those with your hair being longer?

A: Us gals with naturally textured hair have are more susceptible to an evil doer we call single strand knots (SSKs) or fairy knots. These knots occur when coily or curly hair wraps around itself and forms a knot within one strand of hair. Presence of these knots are easily visible to the naked eye and can also be felt as you run your fingers down a strand of hair.  Dry hair, split ends and lifted cuticles due to too high pH levels can perpetuate the presence of these knots. To reduce the possibility of knots, there are a few precautions that should be taken and it starts with wash day:

  • Remove shed hairs. This can easily be done before washing by gently tugging on your hair section by section removing those hair which may cause tangling in the wash process.
  • Wash and condition in sections.  The TV commercials of women shampooing their hair with it piled atop of their heads is not ideal for our hair type. Consider washing and conditioning in 4-6 sections of braids or twists and un-braiding/untwisting one section at a time as your cleanse.  Follow by braiding/twisting it back up before moving on to the next section.
  • Keep your hair stretched.  An elongated strand is less likely to curl upon itself, creating a knot. See this tutorial of one way to stretch hair.
  • Protective style. Whether straight or textured, loose hair is a breeding ground for knots.  Keeping your hair in twists, braids or a bun reduces manipulation providing less of a chance for hair to tangle and create knots.



BONUS Tutorial                                                                                                                           

Shelly Chapman of creates a simple moisturizing spritz for natural hair.

What technique do you use to reduce single strand knots?


uniqzoe December 31, 2010 at 12:54 am

Hi West, what daily moisturizer do you use? I am still in search of one. BTW, love the blog!

dearheart15 December 31, 2010 at 2:47 am

I need to do a better job of not popping them off as well. Maybe a good set of shears are in my future 🙂

Nikki White May 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

aaargh, I hate those knots and yes, I’m guilty of popping them off as well. So need to do a better job of moisturizing and twisting at night.

westNDNbeauty May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Oh Nik! Definitely twisting your hair at night can be a progress saver. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. Five big twists are all you need 🙂

Jasmine Reed May 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

When I tend to have lots of those fairy knots it’s usually because I need to trim 🙂 after I trim my hair is pretty good. With my having tightly coiled hair keeping my hair stretched does wonders as well!

westNDNbeauty May 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

It’s the same for me to Jasmine. Trimming does wonders!