Single-strand knots, also known as fairy knots, are tiny knots that form when one of your hair strands becomes tangled and loops around itself. They can become a pain as they are nearly impossible to unravel do to their micro-size. For many naturals, the safest way to remove single-strand knots is to trim them off to prevent further tangles and breakage.
If your strands start to accumulate multiple single-strand knots, the ends of your hair can begin to feel rough to the touch. Detangling will also become more of a hassle and your ends can become more prone to breaking off.
How to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair: First, look at what causes them
To know how to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair, you should first look at what causes them. One common cause of single-strand knots is that you are overdue for a trim. If you go too long without a trim, your ends can gradually weaken and cause split ends to form. As a result, this makes it easier for your strands to intertwine and loop around each other and form fairy knots. Another common cause of fairy knots is your clothing.
When we wear our hair down at our shoulders, the constant friction between the ends of our hair and the drying fabrics of our shirts can create split ends and accelerate the formation of single-strand knots. Some other causes of single-strand knots include harsh manipulation on your hair when detangling, washing, styling, etc.
Here is how to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair:
1) Get regular trims
One way to prevent an excess of single-strand knots in your natural hair is to get regular trims. Whether we like it or not, hair trims are a part of maintaining good hair health. The ends of our hair are the oldest parts and are prone to dryness and breakage. Combine that on top of daily wear and tear, and our ends can easily turn into split ends and form fairy knots if not properly taken care of and moisturized.
Getting regular trims can also just be trimming your hair as needed. By doing so will help to get rid of damaged, split, and knotted ends, as well as prevent them from traveling further up the hair shaft and creating more problems and breakage.
2) Keep your hair moisturized
Another tip to aid in how to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair is to keep your hair moisturized. Making sure that you are adequately moisturizing and sealing your strands will help to keep your hair healthy, strong, and soft. This will encourage better manageability throughout your strands and lessen the rise of certain issues including single-strand knots.
It also helps to regularly deep condition your hair – weekly is a good aim. Deep conditioners have a thick, creamy consistency that coats and smooths your strands with hydration from root to tip. Deep conditioners replenish moisture back into dehydrated strands and gradually helps to strengthens them. They can aid in the prevention of fairy knots by keeping your strands nourished and strong.
3) Don’t forget to seal your ends
A helpful way to prevent single-strand knots from forming at your ends is to make it a habit to seal your ends with a moisturizing sealant. An oil, leave-in conditioner, cream, etc. can qualify as an effective sealant. These sealants help to lock in moisture at your ends and smooth the hair cuticle to lessen the chance of frizz and flyaways, and thus possible knots. Oils make a great choice to smooth and seal in moisture at your ends. Thicker oils like Jamaican black castor oil make an even better choice as it helps to alleviate split and brittle ends.
Another tip is to make sure you are applying a good amount of your hair products to your ends. For example, if you are applying a leave-in conditioner, start applying the product at your ends and then work your way up. This will ensure that your dry-prone ends are receiving an adequate amount of moisture to stay smooth, strong, and hydrated – thus lessening the potential of single-strand knots.
4) Be gentle when detangling
Harsh detangling can be a contributor to the causes of single-strand knots. So, to benefit how to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair, be gentle during your detangling process. If you rush through detangling, you can easily cause strands to become intertwined with each other and loop, creating more fairy knots. Additionally, harsh detangling can worsen your already present single-strand knots as your comb / tear through them, causing breakage.
To detangle gently, work in sections and make sure you lather your strands with a detangling conditioner to ease the process. It is also important to start detangling at the ends of your hair and then work your way up. You can also try to first finger detangle the “big knots” out of your hair, and then follow up with your usual detangling tool.
5) Keep your hair stretched when possible
When our natural hair shrinks up, it heightens the possibility of tangles as your curls, coils, or kinks, are at their full formation and can easily loop around each other. To lessen the possibility of tangles, try to keep your hair stretched when possible. You can try stretched styles like braid-outs, cornrows, twist-outs, etc.
These styles can help to elongate your curls and keep them separated. Protective styling on occasion with longer-term styles (box braids, havana twists, etc.) when properly done, can also benefit you in how to prevent single-strand knots in natural hair. These styles help to limit manipulation on your ends and give them a break.