Home Hair Single Strand Knots. How To Avoid Them

Single Strand Knots. How To Avoid Them

by Evenes Ruth Mafupa

Single strand knots are a real menace and unfortunately, they happen to be part and parcel of being natural and the shrinkage does not make it any better. When I first noticed single strand knots in my hair, some two years back, I did not know what was happening to my kinks. Upon researching and asking around, I was told they are single strand knots, sometimes known as fairy knots because they are so small only a fairy can tie them and they seem to happen mysteriously. (That should be a very bad fairy to be tying knots in my hair. Ha ha ha!)

Ok. So single strand knots occur when a hair strand, because it is coiled due to shrinkage, coils on itself and makes a knot. Those with wavy hair do not have to deal with this but the tightly coiled heads have to and this may be responsible for much of the loss of length on many who choose to wear their hair in a shrunken state. Have you noticed, some people’s hair never seemed to grow until they started plaiting it with wool, (the African banding method) or cornrows. Now we all know you do not have to pull your hair out of your scalp for it to grow so why does hair seem to grow once you start braiding or banding it? Or even relaxing, suddenly your hair seems to grow. The secret is this Hair becomes much weaker at the knotted point and when you run a comb through it, especially when the hair is dry, the hair ends up breaking and just seems not to grow. I am sure this is the reason many are tied to relaxers because relaxers present them with their only chance to longer hair.

So how does a natural with tightly coiled hair like mine overcome SSKs? The answer is not clear cut I am afraid and I think one cannot get rid of them completely but can definitely minimize their occurrence.

  • Try keeping your hair is in a stretched style or state as much as possible. For some of us, wash n go’s are always at owner’s risk and so they need to be avoided. Washing one’s hair in chunky braids or chunky twists also helps with the shrinkage and will therefore help with single strand knots reduction.
  • Keeping your hair well moisturised is a sure way to keep SSKs at bay because when your hair is well moisturised, it has less frizz and more slip so your strands will not easily knot on their self even when shrunken.
  • Protect your ends from excessive dryness because single strand knots often attack dry ends. Moisturise and hide them away as much as possible.
  • Deep condition very regularly. This will keep your ends moisturised for longer.
  • Wash your hair in sections in a downward motion to keep hair stretched and easy to detangle as opposed to the back and forth scrubbing method.
  • Detangle regularly to remove shed hair and loosen any knots before they are too tight to redeem.

So what does one do to them once they have appeared on your strands? Some people do the search and destroy thing by hunting for the affected strands and snipping off at the knotted point. Leaving them be is what I do and since I try to keep my hair well moisturised and stretched most of the times, SSKs are not regular visitors to my hair anymore.

That is the reason I wear my hair like this!

April 2013

April 2013

And not like this most of the times because my hair experiences about 75% shrinkage. Now that would surely get me more fairies tying knots in my hair.

April 2013

April 2013

Do you or did you  have SSKs? Share your story with us. Would love to know.

Much Love and Happy July

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Tyarah 8 July 2013 - 13:31

Single strand knots; I always have them and I didn’t know how to avoid them until recently at the beginning of winter. I have told myself that I am going to keep my hair in protective styles the whole of winter because I can’t afford to wash my hair every week as it would be too cold, I even cut the ends that were damaged to make sure that I don’t cut at all during winter. I don’t know what happened but before I knew it I was wearing a twist-out, then over the course of the week it became a puff (big mistake). On that weekend, while I was washing my hair, I had so many knots, and I had just cut the knotted ends, they just didn’t feel right to the touch, I had to cut again. I have learnt my lesson. I will hardly be wearing my hair out, ever. I’m learning how to manage my ends.

Ruth Mafupa 8 July 2013 - 17:22

Thanks for sharing Tyarah. “I don’t know what happened but before I knew it I was wearing a twist-out, then over the course of the week it became a puff (big mistake).” got me in stitches.

Tyarah 9 July 2013 - 14:41

This is a real journey, my sister. A lot of patience is required here 😀

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