Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reader's Question: Hair Knots ... Be Gone!

Post inspired by a reader! Thank you for your questions. Post on "When You Get a Knot" coming soon.

Single-strand knots. Double-strand knots. Multiple-strand knots. Be gone!

The truth of the matter is that for many naturals, hair knots are inevitable. We can have a solid hair care regimen, yet they always appear. This is because our curls, coils, and kinks form an environment conducive to tangling and knotting.

Though hair knots cannot be prevented altogether, the frequency of their occurrence can be minimized. Here are 5 tips I have read about and used to reduce the formation of the natural's nightmare - the knot:

1. Protective style - This is the number one most useful tip, and it makes perfect sense. When is a piece of yarn most prone to tangling - when it is in a perfect ball or when it is loose? The answer is the latter, and the same goes for our hair. Twists and braids are probably the most useful protective styles for minimizing knot formation. (If you are one those naturals who still gets knots while in twists, you may want to try braids instead.)

2. Detangle regularly - Hair that is allowed to stay tangled is more likely to knot. Additionally, shed hair that is allowed to accumulate becomes hair that is just waiting to wrap itself around another. Detangling removes tangles and shed hair, thus reducing knot formation.

3. Wash in sections - For some of us, washing the hair loose is just asking for knot city! I recommend washing and conditioning in sections -- particularly in braids or twists -- to reduce tangling and knot formation.

4. Stretched loose style / No wash-n-gos - Straight hair rarely, if ever, knots onto itself. But wait! I am not suggesting that your options are limited to using a flat iron or relaxer kit to reduce knots. Naturals can wear rollersets, twistouts, braidouts, or other stretched styles that temporarily and healthily elongate the curl pattern. Minimize or stay away from wash-n-gos altogether. Caveat: Once a stretched style starts to shrink, the loose hair can be prone to tangling. Try to save stretched styles for non-humid days.

5. Moisturize, moisturize - Some naturals swear by this method for knot reduction. Hair strands that are dry will experience more friction and join into knots. Hair strands that are well moisturized will slide past each other and have a harder time tangling together.  Don't forget to seal with an oil/butter to not only lock in the moisture but to add more slip between hair strands.


Melyssa said...

thanks for this! ever since the BC, i've been getting single-strand knots. my hair is too short to do anything about it, but i will keep this in mind as my hair continues to grow.

Kinky Rhonnie said...

I'm very close to 1 1/2 years natural and I've just recently discovered a way to reduce them drastically.

What's working for me is applying castor oil to my hair directly over my leave-in conditioner.

I seem to get more ssk's when in twist due to the manipulation of doing them. I get less when my hair is loose in a puff.

On average, I'd cut 10 ssk's per week. Since I began applying castor to my hair directly following my leave-in, I've only found one or two in the pst two and half weeks, which is a miracle.

It makes me curious to know if other types of oils would provide the same results.

From past experience, other oils did not feel as well on wet hair.

What appeals to me most about castor oil is that is it proven to enhance hair growth and it helps hair to attract and retain moisture.

mangomadness said...

I find that sealing my ends with castor oil and wearing pinned updos that keep my ends tucked away cuts down on ssks(single strand knots).

with that said, I've accepted ssks as a part of having high textured hair. All I worry about are split ends and I don't worry too much.