Combating Fairy Knots In Natural Hair, (Single Strand Knots) | Natural Haircare News
Dianne Austin
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Fairy Knot natural hair

Ahhh, the dreaded single strand knots!  For those naturalista’s who are new to their natural hair journey, single strand knots are those annoying tiny little balls of tightly tangled or knotted hair that appear at the ends , (or sometimes in the middle) of your hair strands. It actually looks and feels like a knot.  Think about what happens when you take a single string or piece of thread and tie it in a tight knot.  Now imagine trying to get that knot out of your hair!

The knots seem to be created “magically” as far as I’m concerned because they appear out of nowhere and are sometimes so tightly knotted, I have to cut the knots out.

What causes “fairy knots”?

  • Hair that is naturally kinky/curly/coily has a tendency to twist around itself creating the knots. This is exacerbated by hair that rubs up against your collar or other items of clothing.
  • Wash and go’s can create lots of tangles and subsequent single strand knots. Since I don’t do wash and go’s, I found that knotting only became a problem for me once my hair started to touch my collar.  I never get single strand knots in the hair that is above the collar.
  • Hair that is overly dry has a tendency to knot more easily.

Single strand knots can be frustrating just because… or if you are trying to grow your hair to a certain length.  After all, if you’re cutting your ends all of the time to get rid of the knots, you’re also cutting off length.

Dianne's Single Strand Knots

I’m knot free for now…

Here are tips that have worked really well for me in terms of reducing the number of fairy knots in my hair:

1. Pre-shampoo detangling:  I tend to be very inpatient and I try not to spend too much time on my hair, so I must admit that I tend to rush through this part.  But, I can get away with it because of my secret weapon:  Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee.  They also have a Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee which is superb!  I alternate between the two. This stuff seems to melt away knots, (or eases the knots down the hair shaft so that I can cut them off closer to the very ends of my hair).  Just apply this magic ghee starting from the ends to the roots; let it sit for about 2 minutes, and then gently work your fingers through your strands and ease those knots out! I find that I don’t have to do this too often because of steps 2 – 4.

2. Pre poo, (pre shampoo deep conditioning) with an oil based conditioner.  I love coconut oil in particular, but I also deep condition with coconut milk which really softens your hair.  I find that steam conditioning works wonders in terms of helping the oil sink into the hair shaft where it needs to be for the best moisturizing benefits. Again – I’m inpatient, so I just spend 10 minutes max steaming my hair and only a couple of times a month. The Qhemet Biologics makes a great pre and post conditioner so sometimes I’ll just use the ghee in my hair.

3. Sealing the ends with a heavy oil based cream. I do this every night.  My favorite?  Jane Carter’s “Nourish and Shine cream. It’s all natural and full of Shea, Mango, and Kokum butters, plus vitamins A, D, & E.  Love it!

4.  Trimming “straggly ends“.  I try to check my hair once a month to see if any of the ends need cutting.  I use the Curly Girl method of cutting my hair, strand by strand as needed. (The Curly Girl method suggests cutting your hair at the point where the hair curl ends  – at the bottom of the “c” shape within the hair strand).  I’ll be writing an article with details soon!

What do you do to reduce fairy knots?



Author: Dianne

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural. 

One Response to Combating Fairy Knots In Natural Hair, (Single Strand Knots)

  1. Jana says:

    I’m a white woman and I get the tiny fairy knots at the nape of my neck.The knots don’t bother me at all. I am 1% black.

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