Single-strand knots 101: definition, causes and prevention tips

Posted by Shanelle Drakeford on


You know those pesky little balls at the ends of your curls that you can’t resist tugging on? Some call them fairy knots (others call them annoying), but in the curly community, they’re universally known as single-strand knots. Single-strand knots can be the bane of any curlfriend’s existence. These sneaky little knots are known to cause breakage and split ends when handling the hair. The catch of course, is preventing them, which can take a lot of time, effort and patience. But if you’re a natural, you probably already have all those things.

What are single-strand knots?

Single-strand knots (also known as fairy knots) are small knots that form along the hair strand, especially in curly and coily hair. Due to the nature of curly and coily hair, when a strand grows from the follicle, it can loop and tie around itself or other strands. This causes a little knot to form. Since coily textures shrink significantly, the strands condense and create even more knots. Single-strand knots can be worsened by improper maintenance and care which is why it’s so important to have a routine that caters to your hair’s needs. Although single-strand knots are almost inevitable as a curly  natural, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage and breakage that’s caused by them.

How to prevent single-strand knots

The best way to get rid of single-strand knots is prevention. Prevention is all in the routine that you follow which in return, significantly reduces the damage they do. As you take these steps to prevent single-strand knots, you’ll see them appear less often and they’ll be easier to manage if one does show up.

1. Trim regularly

Once a knot forms, unfortunately, it must be trimmed off. When cutting the knot off, make sure to use sharp shears to prevent split ends and unnecessary damage. Having a regular trimming schedule is important and usually takes care of the knots before they get out of hand, so keep that in mind. But for those who fear the shears, following the next couple of tips can help reduce the amount of knots you get.

2. Keep the hair healthy

Having healthy and hydrated hair is key in preventing single-strand knots. Moisturized hair is less likely to tangle because it’s softer and smoother. A good moisture routine starts with a super hydrating deep conditioner. After washing with our Curl Shampoo and Conditioner (formulated specifically for curls and coils of all types), follow up with Hydrating Mask. It doubles-down on moisture and will provide your strands with all the softness it needs. After deep conditioning, provide a base of moisture with a leave-in conditioner. Tailored for curly, kinky, coily textures, our Curl Leave-In Conditioner weightlessly moisturizes while preventing breakage and dryness. Finish up with an oil to seal in that moisture, softening the strands and making the ends less likely to tangle around themselves. The Moringa + Jojoba Treatment Oil smoothes the hair shaft while working to reduce damage and split ends, which is ideal for this situation.

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3. Detangle often

Tangled hair is the main contributor to producing knots so regularly detangling can help avoid them. You can opt for finger-detangling, using a wide-tooth comb or a brush. Our Detangling Brush is perfect for detangling and smoothing the hair, helping to minimize breakage and of course, tangles. Whichever way, be sure to be gentle and take your time. Start detangling from the ends and work your way up towards the roots and use a little product to help add slip and ease when brushing through. Our Leave-In Mist can help break through those tangles while also moisturizing, fighting frizz and adding shine to your tresses.

4. Stretch and protect

Stretch the hair by braiding or twisting it up at night. You can still achieve a curly style but the hair won’t be as shrunken and knots won't form. Also, doing this at night will reduce friction between your strands. Protective styling also keeps the ends tucked away and protects them from outside elements. Wind tends to aid in tangling the hair and humidity can cause the hair to shrink. Braids and twists are easy protective styles you can wear,  as well as wearing silk scarves and headwraps. With a combination of both stretching and protective styling, this  reduces friction and keeps strands from wrapping around themselves.

We know that single-strand knots can be frustrating but with the right products, tools and techniques, they can be reduced and less of an everyday pain. More questions about single-strand knots? Dm us @verbproducts and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and concerns!

Written by Kolleen King

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