You’re casually running your fingers through your curls and suddenly you hit a snag. You do what every curly girl does: you search and search for the culprit and hold up it real close to your face and then you see it: a tiny inexplicable knot tied at the end of a single strand of hair, or as some call it, a fairy knot.
Where do they come from?
Contrary to what the name suggests, little fairies are not sneaking into your bed at night and tying up the ends of your hair. Fairy Knots, a.k.a single strand knots, can be SUPER frustrating, especially if you already feel like you’re doing everything you can to maintain the health of your curls.
As curlies we do our best to prevent damage by avoiding the use of heat and by being picky about the sort of products we use in our hair, but we don’t pay much attention to how we actually handle our curls. These types of knots, like most things, come down to how we treat our hair and oftentimes are a symptom of either dryness, friction or rough detangling (or combinations of the three).
Fairy Knots may seem like just a nuisance but they are sign that your hair needs a llittle TLC. Going for regular trims or dustings are a good way to rid yourself of dry/ dead ends that have been weakened by weather, dryness or excessive friction.
DO NOT pull/snap off your fairy knots; you’ll just end up creating a split end and causing more damage for yourself. If you’re in the habit of trimming your own ends, then be sure to invest in a proper pair of scissors that were meant for actually cutting hair!
Believe it or not, using the wrong pair of scissors that don't provide a clean cut can also cause damage to your strands. This defeats the point of cutting them in the first place.
At the end of the day, prevention is always better than a cure. Making sure that your ends are moisturized and well conditioned is a good start.
Avoid excess friction by experimenting with different protective styles and also by throwing it up in a pineapple or using a satin pillowcase to sleep at night. These are also great ways of keeping your curls in good shape for the next day. More tips on prepping your curls for bedtime here.
Switch up your detangling routine. Be sure to detangle your curls only when they’re soaking wet and with conditioner in to ensure that your hair has a lot of slip (slip refers to the ease of which you run fingers/comb/brush through your hair). This helps prevent a lot of the snapping that causes damage to your ends.
Sometimes the culprit can even be what you use to detangle. If you’re experience a lot of breakage without having excessive heat or chemical damage, that could be an indicator that whatever you’re using is too rough on your curls. A lot of curly girls opt for finger detangling, wide tooth combs or specialty curl tools for their own detangling needs.
When detangling your hair work your way up to your roots. Starting from the bottom and working your way up to the top helps diminish the amount of stress and tension put on your strands while detangling (and also results in less ripping and snapping).
Finally, just be gentle. You don’t have to baby your hair but you shouldn’t be aggressively raking a brush/comb through it either. Just take your time and be a little more mindful—your curls will thank you for it. 😉