Fairy knots, single strand knots (also known as ssk), the bane of every curly girl’s existence, whatever name you give them these tiny pests are truly a force to be reckoned with. Fairy knots are actual strands of hair that knot within themselves and often add other adjoining hairs into the mix creating even bigger knots.  These tiny knots (so tiny that “fairies” must have made them) are annoying and quite common for curlies and naturals. They tend to be at the tiny balls at the ends of our hair that seem to spring up overnight. Most people see them as an unavoidable fact of life while others seek out ways to prevent them. Maheza  from Curly Q&A recently reached out to us about how to avoid them altogether.

Question

How do I avoid fairy knots?

Answer

Here are a few proactive techniques you can use to lower the frequency with which you get them. Is it really that easy? Well, for some it can be if you are willing to forgo some styles (e.g. wash and go) in exchange for styles that stretch the ends like two-strand twists. Another note to make is that when you do get them, you should handle them correctly. Rubbing some conditioner between your thumb and index finger on the fairy knot will help to release some if not all of the hairs in the knot. Removing them 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 your fairy knots: 

Get regular trims

Healthy ends equals less knots. Dry, raggedy, jagged, and weathered ends are more susceptible to knotting. No one is saying do them more often or giving a timetable but when you trim your ends (or do dustings when necessary) when the ends turn into knots the hair is weakened. Split ends and excessive tangles at the ends all are symptoms of a need for a trim or a light dusting. Your hair will thank you for it with less frizz, tangles, and detangling sessions.

Detangle your hair and especially your ends fully

Many of us are known for putting off wash day due to the long detangling sessions that can seem to go on for hours! Yes, doing a pre-poo helps but if your arms and spirit is growing weary, you may just skimp on giving each section its proper due for detangling.

That is a big no-no and here’s why. Removing those tangles keeps them from turning into knots and removing those shed hairs keeps them from getting tangled into your healthy strands. Divide your hair into manageable sections so you can detangled effectively and not become overwhelmed.

Protect your ends

This is just another way to say protective styling. I do not think that using extensions or solely wearing cornrows are the only way to protect your hair. Having your hair completely tied up and away from sight is not necessary for warding off fairy knots when just keeping them out of contact with clothing can be just as effective. Letting your hair come into contact with your coats, seat belts, etc. causes friction and can causing knotting.

Properly moisturize and seal

Hydrated hair is less likely to tangle…period. Keep your ends hydrated, soft, and smooth as 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.

Wearing more stretched styles

Stretched styles leads to less knotting up. Straighter ends have a harder time coiling up, but do not think you have to straighten your hair to get straighter ends. There are styles that can be achieved that do not require heat like roller sets, braid outs, and twist outs that control the coils and keep them manageable.

How do you avoid fairy knots?