Thursday, 16 June 2011

Basics: Single Strand Knots

With curly hair, we have enough trouble dealing with regular knots. Just when you think you have learned a proper detangling routine, you notice the pesky little buggers called "single strand knots". Just like the name says, these are knots that form on a single hair.

Are single strand knots bad?

Yes and No. The cause of the single strand knot determines if your single strand knots are bad. As a whole, single strand knots are a harmless  natural occurrence and won't hinder your growth, but can make your hair not feel as smooth as you would like.

What causes single strand knots?

Everyone seems to have their own theories as to what causes them and I am no different. Single strand knots are caused by two things:
  1. How our hair naturally curls. Because our hair is naturally curly, it likes to wind up,connect and mingle, and get tangled with other strands. This natural inclination at times causes the hair to curl upon itself, creating a knot
  2. Damage to the hair shaft. These knots could also be the product of split ends (or any other type of split). When the hair splits, there are two free ends and each end has the potential to get tangled on another hair and on itself. 

How do I prevent single strand knots?
  • Wear your hair in stretched styles (i.e. buns, braid outs, twist outs, braids). Keeping the hair stretched will help prevent the individual hairs from curling on themselves. I noticed that there are certain places on my head that always gets single strand knots. Those places are right on the perimeter of my head; near my hairline, side burns, and in the back. These places are rearely stretched and no matter how many times I trim those areas, the knots keep coming back. 
  • Limit the number of times you wear Wash-n-gos, afros and other shrunken styles.
  • Be careful with harsh styling tools. These tools can cause split ends which may lead to the formation of new knots.
How to remove single strand knots.

Cut them off with sharp hair scissors. They are too small to safely remove and ripping them out would just be asking for split ends.

Final words: 

Single strand knots are just a part of having natural hair, but you don't need to create any  unnecessarily by being rough with your hair. Relax. They don't take away from the beauty and health of your hair. Only you will know you have them.


  1. Great article I was in a frenzy about single strand knots until I read this. I was panicking because I thought that I had to rid my hair entirely of the knots but it seemed like mission impossible because when I would get rid of one, I'd find another. It was literally driving me crazy but thinking of it as more of a natural process helps. Thanks so much!

  2. No problem! I used to feel the same way! Glad I could help!

  3. nice, please change the font colour for the links to the right, impossible to see with the background