Ugghh split ends! Does anyone else cringe when we are told by our stylist that it is time for a trim? When I used to get my ends trimmed professionally, it felt like candy was being taken away from a baby. My length was the candy and I was the crying baby.

Those scissor happy sistas just wouldn’t let me hold onto my growth- so I thought. Thank goodness my ends were never the worst of the worst, but since taking charge of my own hair I now realize that those trims were necessary! Did you know that there are different kinds of unhealthy ends??

I didn’t until I began to research and look at my own. I had every type of split end that there is! The triple split, tree split, split-split, baby split, double y split; you name it, I had it! Guess what else I had in my natural hair? Single strand knots. Yes, single strand knots in natural hair are a thing! What are they? Why do they happen, and can they be prevented? Let’s find out!

What Are They?

So, what exactly are single strand knots? By definition, it is when curly hair grows out of the root and begins to loop around itself causing a knot. They are also known as fairy or pixie knots. The types of hair that are prone the most to single strand knots are coily, kinky, and curly hair.

Thick hair is especially notorious for the knotting or looping of a strand or multiples. The knots are tiny! Therefore, it is impossible to remove the loop and make straight again. If you need a visual, picture this below in a strand of hair.

rope with knot
Photo by: Unsplash

My Personal Discovery

Like I said above, my ends had every split in the natural hair glossary known to naturals. I must admit that I did not have a regular trimming schedule in place. It is recommended to get a trim every 4-6 weeks for relaxed hair and 3-4 months for natural. Hair grows 1/2 inch every month on average, believe it or not.

There are people who think that their hair does not grow because they are not seeing the length that they desire, but that is highly unlikely. Hair grows! Retaining the length is what counts. That is a subject for a different post! Anyway, I would trim my hair whenever I felt like it.

I know, I know that’s not a very good practice. In my defense, I usually style my hair while it’s wet. I mainly do twist outs on wet hair and wash and go’s when my hair wants to be nice to me and behave.

There are natural hair influencers who trim their hair while damp or wet and coated with conditioner, but I am not one of those lol. I would much rather trim while my hair is semi-straight or blown out. Doing so damp or wet sounds dangerous, but that could be a personal preference.

Since I mostly style while wet, that means that I rarely trim! I figured since I stay away from heat other than deep conditioning that my hair would be damage free, right? WRONNGGGGG!!!!!

wrong gif

In fact as long as heat is not used excessively or at an extremely high temperature, then healthy hair is still very much achievable.

Honestly, I was only trimming my hair semi-annually at most. I would search my ends while my hair was dry from an old twist out and find a lot of split ends and single strand knots. Then on the next wash day, I’d blow dry my hair and prepare to trim. My ends were single strand knots city! Below is how much I cut off. It had been over 6 months since the last trim.

woman in white tank top

Prevention and Treatment

Now that we’ve learned what not to do, what can we do to treat or even prevent single strand knots in natural hair? Let’s explore some tips that might be helpful below:

Moisture- Curly and coarse textured hair need extra TLC when it comes to managing it. Keeping the hair hydrated and moisturized could be challenging, but with the right products it can be done! My hair tends to dry after about 4 days post wash. I aim to wash weekly, but I have been on a biweekly schedule lately. Since my hair dries on day four, there’s no way that I should let it stay that way until the next wash!

Depending on the style, I’ll spritz my hair with a light moisturizer and keep it moving. A good one to try is Lavish Curls Daily Moisturizer by Curls. If I am refreshing a twist out, I will grab one of my favorite twisting creams – Twist Elongating Cream by Melanin Haircare. I love this product because I don’t have to re-wet my hair with water before use. It’s THAT moisturizing!

Proper Detangling- This step is so important! Natural hair is extremely delicate, so we must be as gentle as possible when washing and styling. Try to finger detangle first to get the knots that a comb may have a hard time passing through. Not your thing? Reach for a detangling comb or a wide tooth comb. A detangling brush will also do the trick. I have used a Denman Brush as well as The Wonderbrush to help maintain my mane. Take your time and detangle from ends to root!

Deep condition with EVERY wash- Try to commit to this step! I used to try to get away with deep conditioning every other wash to cut down time, but NOOOOO. I learned my lesson. Deep conditioning provides moisture and protein balance that our hair needs to thrive. So DON’T skip out on the nutrients and benefits!

bugs bunny animated gif

Trim regularly- I feel comfortable trimming my ends at home. I make sure to trim with sharp shears. If you are not comfortable trimming yourself, head to a salon and let them fix you up!

The Takeaway

As you’ve learned, single strand knots can be a pain. If not taken care of, they can multiply and you’ll end up with a big ball of hair in your hand like I did up top. I waited too long, but I know better now. I am still grateful for the hair that I have left. What are your experiences with split ends or single strand knots? Share with the community below!