Single Strand Knots, The Natural Girl’s Foe

single strand knot fairy knot
I have been natural for over 3 years and I have NEVER been able to rid my hair completely of single strand knots. SSK’s occur when the hair strand wraps around itself and literally forms a knot. The reasons they occur are varied but the 2 general causes are simply due to dry hair or hair that tangles easily because of its curl pattern. Either way, many of us have resolved to live with these troublesome little phenomena but what if anything can we do to lessen their presence? Below I have a few ideas

1. Moisturize at least twice a day once in the morning and right before bed. The moisturizer should be nutritive in nature, like a butter or anything with super moisturizing natural ingredients. Along with the moisturizer it is important to use a oil to seal this keeps the strands ‘wet’ and less likely to knot up. I have been using both grease and olive oil to seal my hair and the slip of the oil keeps the strands so slippery it is almost impossible for a knot to hold.

2. Wear protective styles, braids, braid outs, twist outs, roller sets, curl formers. Use rollers at the end of your hair when doing a twist out to keep the ends stretched for even more protection from knots. Admittedly I am a wash and go kind of girl all day.. so I do not generally wear protective styles. For me sealing with and oil before applying styler is a must! The oil helps keep the slip as explained in tip 1.

3. Protect your hair while you sleep. Wear silk/satin bonnets or scarves to bed and for extra protection sleep on a satin pillowcase. Additionally keep your hair stretched at night. I am a bander like no other! My hair is always in two pony tails with goody bands placed down the length of my ponytail keeping my hair in place and stretched.

4. Straightened style. Flat ironed hair is less prone to have knots, that’s just a fact! That’s why relaxed ladies who transition to natural are often shocked at the existence of ssk’s. Wearing your hair straight helps deter these pesky things but excessive heat has its own problems so I would use this as a last resort.

5. Maintain the overall health of your hair. Deep condition regularly and maintain a good balance between moisture and protein, strong strands can only help in fighting the battle generally.

Hot Tip # Try Oil rinsing

  • Shampoo hair
  • Apply your favorite oil lightly warmed up in the microwave to hair, & leave in for 5 mins
  • Rinse out the oil with warm water
  • Condition your hair with your favourite conditioner
  • Rinse out conditioner with cool water
  • Detangle hair only while dripping wet, or under running water. The oil literally melts the tangles away!
  • Seal in the moisture after applying a leave-in.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  • Dishon

    Theyre actually called fairy knots…and I transitioned from relaxed back to natural about 3yrs ago. I didnt start getting fairy knots until about 5months ago