Single strand knots aka fairy knots just go with the territory of having curly and coily hair types. They can really be a nuisance if they get out of hand. Here are six tips that helped me to minimize single strand knots including what I’ve noticed over the past eight or nine months.
I had a really bad single strand knot problem last fall. I had been using The Curly Girl Method consistently at the time since the beginning of 2012. I loved the moisture that my hair was maintaining, and my curls looked beautiful, but the ends of my hair were covered in single strand knots. I did what I thought was best at the time and gave my hair a really good trim. Although I loved the look of my hair after cutting it, the knots returned uninvited soon after. In the end I had to completely revamp my hair care regimen practices in order to minimize single strand knots significantly.
1. Setting Curls Effectively & Wearing Stretched Styles
When I was practicing The Curly Girl Method, I was wearing my hair predominately in a wash, style, and go method, and was not setting my hair in any particular fashion. Last winter I started setting my curls in braids as well as two strand twists again to see if my single strand knot problem improved. I noticed an improvement, yet not to the point where I was completely satisfied. One of the biggest benefits to setting my hair in this way has been easier detangling sessions.
2. Proper Detangling
The key to styling with The Curly Girl Method is to detangle your hair with your fingers only. Finger detangling your hair exclusively allows your curls to be undisturbed with more curl definition than I thought was possible for my own hair. Finger detangling also helps to greatly minimize hair breakage. I was able to fully detangle my hair in this way, but I’m not sure how good this method is for tightly curly hair in the long run where single strand knots are concerned.
Over the past five months I’ve reluctantly incorporated a seamless comb back into my hair care regimen. Prior to The Curly Girl Method I was using a seamless wooden comb, yet I’m beginning to love my new seamless bone comb more and more. I’ve noticed that using a comb organizes my hair even further when setting my hair in braids or twists. Using a seamless bone comb to detangle my hair thoroughly has made the biggest difference in having fewer single strand knots than setting my curls in braids or twists alone.
The key to using any type of hair tool with curly and coily hair is to use small sections and have a lot of patience. I initially detangle my hair with my fingers then finish detangling very gently with my new comb. I thought I had sworn off using any type of comb in my hair for life when I was doing The Curly Girl Method last year. I guess there are pros and cons to everything.
3. Using Heavier Hair Care Ingredients or Gel
I haven’t eliminated wash, style, and go curl setting from my hair regimen completely, yet when I do my hair this way I make sure to incorporate heavier hair care ingredients. Although heavier products can weigh my hair down, they also provide my hair with more control. When my hair is controlled, I have less single strand knots. Using unrefined shea butter, castor oil, and/or DIY flaxseed gel give my hair weight and control. Flax seed gel is the lightest of the three products, yet it provides an amazing hold and is so easy to make.
4. Consistent Search & Destroy Trimming Plus Proper Hair Shears
I’ve recently incorporated a simple hair trimming method this year which takes little time and is very effective especially if you like blunt ends. I’ve decided to use this new method for trimming my hair twice a year or so. In the meantime, every time that I style my hair, or notice any single strand knots, I will isolate the offending hair strand and cut the knot with sharp hair shears. Using proper hair shears help to eliminate split hairs which I believe can sometimes cause single strand knots.
5. Updos, Twists & Other Styles That Protect The Ends of Your Hair
Until recently, I haven’t been that interested in wearing updo styles or two strand twists which protect the ends of my hair. When I was first growing out my hair I wore my hair in two strand twists consistently and used my DIY Leave-In Conditioner to keep my hair moisturized and smelling good. When my hair grew longer I started wearing my hair out more and more. Lately I’ve decided to make the effort to protect the ends of my hair by wearing twists and updo styles as much as I can take it.
6. Keeping Your Hair Moisturized
Do whatever it takes to keep the ends of your hair hydrated, soft, and smooth. If you are using a 100% chemical free hair care method, it is vital to incorporate humectants into your DIY products if your hair is not feeling moisturized enough. Deep conditioning your hair is also important as they keep the ends of your hair healthy. Moisturized hair usually behaves much better than dry parched curls.
In essence detangling my hair completely and organizing my hair in braids or twists with products that give my hair some weight have helped me reduce my single strand knots effectively. I’m also experimenting with new hairstyles which protect the ends of my hair while moisturizing my hair daily. I also never go to sleep without reorganizing my hair in a few loose braids if I’m wearing my hair out, and sleep on a satin pillow case if not a satin scarf. I’ve found that avoiding single strand knots takes a few different methods which all help to keep your hair healthy in general.
What has helped you minimize those crazy fairy knots?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)