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Single Strand Knots: How to get Rid of Them

Updated on August 7, 2014

The most irritating thing I have to deal with in my natural hair journey is single strand knots. For my tightly coiled hair, they just pop out of nowhere.

These knots cause an array of problems. They make it difficult to detangle because the knots cause multiple strands of hair to lock together.

The only way for me to avoid damaging my hair is to cut off the area with the knot. Having to cut off an inch of hair sometimes can be extremely frustrating when trying to obtain length. This is why I have been constantly trying to find a way to avoid getting single strand knots.


To side track, single strand knots, also called fairy knots, are caused by strands of hair curling or coiling around itself and tightening to cause a knot.

There is also a theory that says little fairies come and tie the strands in knots. I like to believe the first explanation, even though the second one is amusing.

These little knots can be harmful or they can be harmless. It depends on the degree of the situation. For my hair, the knots cause my hair to tangle a lot more than normal and wrap around dust and lint. They also cause my hair to split and brake off.

The Method

Recently, I have found a way to limit and get rid of the amount of single strand knots without sacrificing my hard earned length. With this method, I basically search and destroy. Because I always wear my hair curly rather than straight, I don’t have to worry about cutting each section of hair evenly.


This may alarm some of you but my hair actually is pretty even when I style it.

Getting back to the method, first I stretch my hair with a braid out overnight. This makes my hair easier to work with. (Stretching is basically keeping your hair elongated instead of allowing it to shrink. You can do this by braiding, twisting, or banding the hair.)

Second, I section my hair into about 18 smaller sections so that the process is not over whelming.

Next, I take each section, one by one, and carefully look at the ends of each strand. If I find a single strand knots or any other flaw, I cut them off with my hair scissors.

Depending on the amount of knots I find, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to even 6 hours. This process is very time consuming and that’s why I do it maybe every 1 to 3 months. I love this method because I don’t have to cut off inches of hair trying to get rid of these knots.

Even doing this I’ll miss a few knots and still lose length. With my new method I don’t have to worry about missing any knots and I don’t have to cut off healthy ends.


Depending on your hair type, you may or may not suffer from single strand knots. My hair is a mixture of 3c and 4a and my hair is medium thickness.

My mother has 4a hair that is also medium thickness but slightly thicker than mine; she never gets knots.

To avoid getting single strand knots, it is recommend that you keep your hair stretched and in protective styles.

This is great for minimizing the amount of knots but if you’re like me, there is no way to avoid getting them no matter what you do.

The best thing you can do is monitor your hair and cut off any knots when you see them. Whenever I do my hair I keep shears around because I know I’ll find a knot or two.

Those of you who also suffer from single strand knots, what do you do to solve your problem?

Thanks for reading!



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    • KySmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyndall Smith 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee

      Thank you so much for the compliment. Yeah, they are sooooo annoying! Sometimes I don't feel like cutting them out because I so many of them. Thanks again for commenting. =)

    • Gabby G profile image

      Gabby G 

      6 years ago from USA

      I hate these things. my ends are full of them. I havnt gotten around to cutting them out :(

      your hair is beautiful btw. its looks really healthy


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