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Ask any curly about the most annoying part of her hair, and she’ll probably tell you the little kinks at the nape of her neck that seem to just never go away and are always frizzy. Those pesky nape hairs are always getting in knots, no matter what you do with your curly hair. They are especially irritating because they’re usually too short to actually do anything much to them. What’s a curly to do about those blasted nape hairs?

Why They are Bothersome

Growing up, I didn’t really know what to do with my 3c/4a (current) hair. One thing I could always count on, though, was getting huge knots at the nape of my neck. Sometimes I’d detangle them by rubbing in gobs of conditioner and slowly and gently undoing the knot with my fingers. Other times, I’d just chop it right off. I wouldn’t recommend the latter, especially if you’re working toward growing your hair.

The hairs at the nape of our necks tend to be fine, so those huge knots REALLY stand out and just look gross — especially if you’re trying to wear your hair in a cute ponytail. Additionally, if you’re trying to comb through your hair, it’s very painful to smoothly go through with a wide-toothed comb and then SNAG right at the neck.

What To Do About Them

The best thing you can do for your nape hairs is to prevent them from knotting up in the first place.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to get a knotted nape. When this happens, use a detangler (conditioner works well also) and coat the nape. Working in sections, start detangling your hair. When you come to a snag, separate the hairs a few at a time so that you’re pulling the hairs away from the knot. If you get enough hairs away, you’ll just be left with a teensy tiny knot that should just come right out in your finger tips. If the hairs at your nape are more matted, this strategy will take more time but will still work. You’ll have to work at parting the matted knot, which may require adding more conditioner and massaging it into the knot before you can separate the hairs. Don’t fret — it WILL come out. It may take several minutes, but it’s possible!

How to Prevent Nape Hair Knots

The best thing you can do for your nape hairs is to prevent them from knotting up in the first place. To cut down on the problem, try these simple tips:

    • Avoid collars that rub on the nape of your hair. A collar that constantly brushes your little nape hairs is almost asking for knots to form. If your shirt collar is pushing those soft hairs together all day, the result will not be nice!
    • Brush them! Sometimes when we brush our hair, we actually forget to brush the hairs at our nape. We’ll hit the sides, front, top, back and everything else, but brushing up against our neck seems to escape our memory. If you want to keep those hairs under control, you’ve got to detangle them often.
    • Condition your ENTIRE head of hair. Just like with brushing, we sometimes forget to apply conditioner and to detangle that small section of our hair. In doing so, we make that hair susceptible to breakage, plus it tends to get rough and dry. There’s a reason you don’t skip conditioning the rest of your hair, so don’t forget your nape!

How do you take care of your nape hair?

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I've found three steps that help mine. Mine used to knot so badly that the center of my hair in the back was either shorter than the rest of the back, or there was almost a 'part' - so the back of my hair looked like an inverted V. 1 - my stylist thins the hair at my nape; this might not work for everyone, but helps mine a LOT. 2 - I apply extra conditioner to that section, making sure it's worked in really well. 3 - I air-dry my hair with only a bra on, no shirt. Not only do collars mess it up, but even any fabric could cause them to tangle (and wipe off all that extra conditioner). Once it's dry it doesn't really tangle. All these are tips I got from the NC message boards. :-)

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