Here's What You Should Know About Single-Strand Knots and How to Prevent Them
As a person who's been growing out my natural hair since I was 18, I'll say that nothing about my journey has been more of a pain in the hiney than dealing with single-strand knots. As the name suggests, single-strand knots are the very small tangles you may often find at the ends of single hair strands. Also called fairy knots — but scientifically referred to as trichonodosis — they're especially common among people with kinky and curly hair.
"Single-strand knots happen when strands of hair — curly, coily, kinky, or any type of texture — start to grow out of the hair follicle and wrap themselves around the other hair strands, causing knots," celebrity hairstylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew told POPSUGAR. These can be pretty annoying to deal with because they're so tiny, though they're not at all impossible to manage. Read ahead to find out how to deal with and prevent single-strand knots.
Why Do People Get Single-Strand Knots?
As previously mentioned, single-strand knots occur more commonly for people with curly hair since, in general, curly hair is more prone to tangling. "It's the curly texture itself," Sturdivant-Drew said. "[The hair] is already like a spiral, so if you don't get through the hair with a comb or brush, it will eventually start to mat/tangle up, and that's when the knots begin. When curly hair starts to grow out, the hair wraps itself around the follicle, creating a knot."
Additionally, fairy knots can also form when the hair sheds and gets stuck or wrapped around other strands while falling out.
How Do I Deal With Single-Strand Knots?
The first thing you should focus on when trying to rid your hair of these tiny knots is moisture! "Use a product that has moisture in it and that's going to hydrate and soften the hair," Sturdivant-Drew said. "Massage some conditioner on the hair and watch how easily it'll detangle so you can get through it." Sturdivant-Drew recommends using a conditioner like TSD Hair Flower Extract Conditioner ($25), which is infused with keratin and proteins to smooth and strengthen the hair shaft.
Also, on the subject of detangling, you should be regularly detangling your hair while it's wet using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush like the Tangle Teezer ($9). Per Sturdivant-Drew's advice, when detangling, you should always start at the ends of the hair and slowly work your way up to your roots.
How Can I Prevent Single-Strand Knots From Happening?
The best way to keep yourself from getting single-strand knots is to make sure you're regularly getting trims, deep conditioning, detangling, and protecting your hair when you sleep. This means wearing a satin bonnet at night or sleeping on a satin pillowcase.