Fairy knots or single strand knots (also known as ssk), are a complete nightmare for women with curly hair. Fairy knots are actual strands of hair that knot within themselves and often add other adjoining hairs into the mix, creating even bigger knots. As you can imagine, natural hair with various curl patterns can knot quite easily. Thankfully, there are many ways to remedy this hair nuisance.

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For some, regular trims are all they need to fix fairy knots. For others, it’s not that simple. Knots can go away with proper treatment and a change in your hair regimen. Little things like limiting your wash and gos and defaulting to two-strand twists will help stretch your hair and preserve your ends. Another easy remedy is massaging conditioner into the fairy knot to moisturize and loosen the knots. Removing the knots with your fingers is better than trying with a comb or brush, which could just remove the knot along with other perfectly healthy hairs in the process. The best way to deal with them is to prevent them. Here are five ways to reduce fairy knots:

Get regular trims

The healthier your ends, the less your hair will knot. If your hair tends to be dry, brittle, or weathered, it is more likely to experience fairy knots. The overall state of your hair is weakened once your ends split or become tangled. Routine trims or dustings can restore strength in each strand. Your hair will thank you with less frizz and tangles and fewer detangling sessions.

Detangle your hair from root to ends

Detangling your hair can be a long, annoying, time-consuming process. It is the least favorite part of a wash day, and it can lead to putting it off until the next wash. Pre-poos are beneficial, but it’s important to dedicate the needed time to sectioning and detangling your hair. Removing tangles prevents your strands from turning into knots. Divide your hair into manageable sections so you can detangle effectively and not become overwhelmed. An effective detangler to use is Taliah Waajid Curls, Waves, & Naturals The Great Detangler. Not only will it remove the tangles in your hair, but it will also restore moisture and keep your mane soft and manageable.

Protect your ends

When in doubt, protect your hair with a protective style. This goes far beyond wearing braids, weaves, wigs, or crochet hair. Tying your hair up, tucking it under a hat, and restricting it from coming into contact with coats, seat belts, wool sweaters or scarves can reduce the friction that causes knotting.

Properly moisturize and seal

Hydrated hair is less likely to tangle. Keep your ends hydrated, soft, and smooth, because jagged edges almost always find a way to wind around themselves or neighboring hairs. This includes wash-day deep conditionings and sealing your ends with a butter or oil to keep them smooth, tangle-free, and moisturized. An effective product to seal your ends with is Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Caster Oil. The thick consistency will keep your ends healthy. If this oil is too heavy for your hair, try Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Oil. The lighter blend of oils won’t weigh down your ends.

Wear more stretched styles

The more you stretch your hair via a twist-out, braid-out or roller set, the more you reduce fairy knots. Straighter ends have a harder time coiling up. A combination of these tips will drastically decrease the appearance of knots in your hair.

What do you think? What’s your strategy in getting rid of fairy knots?