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View Full Version : SO many single strand knots! What to do?!



CurlyCap
November 26th, 2011, 01:06 AM
Every week I'm noticing more single strand knots! I'm used to them. Curly hair sort of predisposes to them, I think. I do think it's fair that I have more of them now, and I'm not quite sure why.

They are driving me crazy! I think because I'm obsessing about gaining length, I keep wondering if they'll cause damage. Should I cut them out? Leave them alone? I've noticed that sometimes they untie themselves. But sometimes they just slide up the strand. GUH.

What do you guys do? Should I cut them out? Ignore them and stop nitpicking?

Sundial
November 26th, 2011, 04:28 AM
For me, I cut them out. But I know there was a member who had a thread about the way she handled fairy knots. She undo them with a needle but I'm sorry I can't seem to locate that thread now :(

As for why that happens, I remembered reading someone saying that cones tend to make hair so slippery that fairy knots occur. If you're using products with cones, maybe you can try cutting them out to see if there's a difference.

Copasetic
November 26th, 2011, 09:05 AM
I just cut them out, but I don't get too many of them. I think someone once told me that wearing hear hair up helped to reduce them.

SallyCinnamon
November 26th, 2011, 09:13 AM
I went through a phase of getting a lot of fairy knots last summer. I narrowed the causes down to wearing my hair down when it was really windy, scrunching my hair to make my waves curl more, and not paying attention when I am blow-drying and my hair blows around all over the place. Oddly, I seem to get them less when I use coney conditioner.

Edited to add: I cut them out too :-)

ktani
November 26th, 2011, 09:15 AM
Cut them out. They catch other hairs and can create tangling, stressing hair and can cause breakage.

When I oversteeped catnip I got those in numbers. I rarely get any at all if I watch how I follow my catnip routine, maybe the odd one sometimes.

There is an imbalance in your hair. When I had the problem with catnip, it was too much moisture in my hair. My hair does not frizz except once in a while. It frizzed more then.

Go through your routine and figure out where the problem is and why. Too much humectant?

Correction : Single strand knots - are not inevitable, even with curly hair.

My hair is wavy and curled more at the time but not every hair had knots. I fixed the problem. You can too.

Amber_Maiden
November 26th, 2011, 10:34 AM
I cut them as well.

jacqueline101
November 26th, 2011, 10:42 AM
I'd try to work on detangling them if you can't you may have to cut them.

ktani
November 26th, 2011, 12:17 PM
I'd try to work on detangling them if you can't you may have to cut them.

Single strand knots in my experience cannot be untangled. If the knot is not closed or only partially knotted, it may be possible.

GRU
November 26th, 2011, 07:57 PM
I cut them, as I think they are like dust-bunnies and multiply tenfold when you're not looking.


When I S&D my hair, I'll get about 25-50 fairy knots for every split end. (This wasn't the case at first, when my hair was much more damaged. But since CO-washing and such, my hair's in excellent condition compared to before, so splits are almost non-existent.)

I do think that they're somewhat inevitable when your hair is as curly as ours, though. Particularly if you wear your hair down at all -- unless your profession is to mimic statues in a climate-controlled environment, you ARE going to move and your hair IS going to be exposed to clothing and wind and such, and so, much like poop, fairy knots happen. Snip it off so it won't propagate its species, and carry on with your life.

starshade
November 26th, 2011, 08:46 PM
This happens to me as well- probably more so after I've left my hair down. I've started to cut them off as the knots are really tight. There are less split ends though, I think. I always assumed it was because of the curly hair.

CurlyCap
November 26th, 2011, 11:55 PM
Sigh. Okay, I'll get to cutting them out. I guess I'm just nervous about cutting because, since I have few splits or breaks, my hemline stays pretty even between trims. I'm worried that cutting them out will have some weird long-term aesthetic effects.

ktani: I'lll look over my routine. I know that I cut out a lot of sillicones because most of those products seems to irritate my hair. I've been doing more oiling instead these days. Either way, I'll keep an open eye.

GRU: Thanks for the numbers. How often do you S&D. While it seems like a lot to me, I probably have 10 at the moment. Prolly more in the back, but if I can't see or feel them, they get to live. :D

GRU
November 27th, 2011, 12:09 AM
Don't worry about hemline irregularities from cutting them. One, everyone has different-length hairs at all times simply due to the fact that each follicle drops / regrows its strand at different times. Two, you're a curly -- your hemline could be off by two or more inches and nobody could tell the difference!

As for S&Ding, I don't have a schedule. I do it when I get bored, or when I get so annoyed with fairy knots that I simply CANNOT keep from making the time for it. I would guess I S&D anywhere from once a month to three times a year.... really random. Sorry, that's not much help, is it?

julliams
November 27th, 2011, 12:12 AM
I don't know if it was my thread about the needle thing, but I have been successful unknotting those that aren't quite tight using a needle. Honestly it's a waste of time. Just snip them off. I think it's a wind thing too.

Pierre
November 27th, 2011, 06:28 AM
I cut them off. I don't get many knots, or splits either, because I wear my hair braided and up most of the time.

ericthegreat
November 27th, 2011, 07:21 AM
I'd cut them off if I were you. I used to get quite a few of these single hair knots myself, but that was when I kept my hair down literally all the time. I let my ends to carelessly tie themselves into these knots every time I walked/ran/turned around/slept in bed/the wind blew. These kind of single knots are usually pretty much tied too tight to undo them because they are just way too tiny, and even if you try to undo them with a pin/sewing needle you can still end up accidently breaking/cutting off the strand with the needle anyway instead of undoing the knot which was your intention. Its just way more practical to cut these knots out with a sharp, haircutting scissor.

One more tip I want to add, I now wear my hair up more often, and I now I almost never see them in my hair anymore.

ktani
November 27th, 2011, 07:41 AM
I wear my hair down most of the time. I do not get them anymore except like I said, the odd one once in a while. For me it was never related to my wearing my hair down. It was about the condition of my hair.

GRU
November 27th, 2011, 10:15 AM
I wear my hair down most of the time. I do not get them anymore except like I said, the odd one once in a while. For me it was never related to my wearing my hair down. It was about the condition of my hair.

What is your hair type? F/M/C? 1/2/3?

Every head of hair is different.

Narya
November 27th, 2011, 01:13 PM
I get them a lot, too. I think in my case they are an indicator that I need a trim: they appear in the last 3 inches of my hair, progressively, and the only time I'm free of them is when I have recently trimmed. Even a small trim does the trick. If you don't want to trim, S&D will probably help... but I don't have the time or patience to keep up with them that way. So much work!

For me I think they are caused by friction, mostly on my sleep braid tassel, and dry ends, because I hardly ever leave it down and they still appear.

Gothchiq
November 27th, 2011, 01:18 PM
I have issues with them too. I have no idea how my hair knots itself!

xoxo
gothchiq

CurlyCap
November 27th, 2011, 04:19 PM
I've been thinking on it, and I think it might actually be the water. I recently moved into an older city, and the water here is harder than I've ever dealt with. I had to change my shampoo and lotion. It makes me wonder that I didn't think it would effect my hair!

I'm deathly afraid of trying ACV rinses, because they used to be drying for my hair and dryness is my enemy. BUT....maybe now they could do a bit of good.

spidermom
November 27th, 2011, 04:32 PM
I cut them out. Sometimes the hair frays above the knot, and it will break off anyway.

GRU
November 27th, 2011, 05:12 PM
I'm deathly afraid of trying ACV rinses, because they used to be drying for my hair and dryness is my enemy. BUT....maybe now they could do a bit of good.

I use ACV rinses after every CO-wash, and haven't found them to be in the least bit drying. My rinses are pretty weak -- maybe 1 tsp per quart of water. I just put the ACV in an old Aquafina bottle and keep it in my shower with a big quart-sized plastic cup upside-down over the top of it. Then at the end of my shower, I put a little splash of ACV in the cup, fill with shower water, and dump it over my head. I usually dilute the ACV in the water bottle when I first put it in, too, just in case I get heavy-handed when I pour in my splash.

Especially if you have hard water, I'd say it would be worth a try at least.

Leabhar
November 27th, 2011, 05:29 PM
I get them more when I don't handle my hair well when brushing, but especially when I sleep with my hair loose. I put it up in the daytime, and down if I'm relaxing about, but I have to make sure to braid my hair for sleep or I get knotsville. I have straight hair and had more of them after getting rid of cones, actually, but ymmv.

CurlyCap
November 27th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Especially if you have hard water, I'd say it would be worth a try at least.

Thanks for the dryness feedback!

Hmmm. I mostly co-wash, though I will admit that I've been playing around with my routine trying to find what works.

Do you rinse out your ACV? The smells does go away with time, but I'm just curious.

Also, do you co-wash everyday? I do to reform my curls (my workplace doesn't seem to understand the concept of 2nd day hair).

GRU
November 27th, 2011, 08:12 PM
Thanks for the dryness feedback!

Hmmm. I mostly co-wash, though I will admit that I've been playing around with my routine trying to find what works.

Do you rinse out your ACV? The smells does go away with time, but I'm just curious.

Also, do you co-wash everyday? I do to reform my curls (my workplace doesn't seem to understand the concept of 2nd day hair).

I co-wash exclusively, but the past year or so I've been wearing my hair up about 50/50, and I don't wash on "up days" or I'll get scalp rot -- my head does NOT like damp bunning (and my hair would never dry in a bun anyway). So lately I only CO-wash about every-other-day.

I rinse out *some* of the ACV. After dumping the ACV on my head, I grab the conditioner mix that I use as my leave-in, and I duck my head under the shower to get the roots wet, which rinses off some of the ACV. I like to add my leave-in to really wet hair at the scalp, so that it gets diluted and spread around well. The nasty dry ends can handle full-on conditioner left in, but if I don't dilute it a bit at the roots they get kinda gunky looking. (I add oil to my leave-in conditioner, which contributes to that problem.) If I weren't adding the leave-in mix, though, I wouldn't bother with rinsing the ACV off, as it's never caused a problem for me.

Anje
November 27th, 2011, 09:19 PM
I'm another who just cuts them out.

FWIW, I find I get a lot more of them if I'm using silicones. If they're driving you mad, it might be worth clarifying and attempting 'cone-free, to see if you get better results that way.

CurlyCap
November 28th, 2011, 11:03 PM
Hey GRU!

I tried the ACV rinse and it was AWESOME. My hair is back to soft (yay!) and it just looks better. Maybe the water is harder that I suspected!

And I got around to starting to S&D the knots, folks. Um, not 10. More like 40. But whatever. My hair feels tons better now that they're out. I need to go buy a good pair of tiny scissors though. I've been cutting with my giant sewing scissors!

GRU
November 28th, 2011, 11:20 PM
YAY!!!!! :cheer:

Between the ACV and trimming out the fairy knots, I think you'll see a continual improvement. :cheese:

AnimaSola3o4
December 25th, 2011, 05:07 AM
I am having a TON of fairy knots right now. I actually found TWO in one strand, about a cm away from each other! I only find them in the nape section of my hair, where the hair texture is very very coarse and tangly. The rest of my hair doesn't really get them. I've been thinking that maybe the curl pattern of this hair section might be tighter, but since the rest of my hair piles on top of them, they can never curl. They just frizz and cause horrible nightmares for me. I used to shave this section. It also doesn't grow as fast as the rest of my hair. I've been toying with the idea of having the thermal reconditioning (whatever its called) on those sections only, to see if I can get them to be a bit more manageable.

My only other option I guess is to keep this section trimmed shorter than the rest of my hair, but long enough to comfortably incorporate the hair into updos.

Sigh.

CurlyCap
December 26th, 2011, 04:53 PM
I am having a TON of fairy knots right now. I actually found TWO in one strand, about a cm away from each other! I only find them in the nape section of my hair, where the hair texture is very very coarse and tangly. The rest of my hair doesn't really get them. I've been thinking that maybe the curl pattern of this hair section might be tighter, but since the rest of my hair piles on top of them, they can never curl. They just frizz and cause horrible nightmares for me. I used to shave this section. It also doesn't grow as fast as the rest of my hair. I've been toying with the idea of having the thermal reconditioning (whatever its called) on those sections only, to see if I can get them to be a bit more manageable.

My only other option I guess is to keep this section trimmed shorter than the rest of my hair, but long enough to comfortably incorporate the hair into updos.

Sigh.

Yeah, I get multiple knots in one strand, too. It never used to happen, but... :shrug::

The knots don't seem to correspond to my uber curly hair, which is also at the nape of my neck. I'm wondering if it has to with how much I play with my hair. Ie, if I help tie the knots by running my hands through curls.

I have added ACV rinses to my routine and it's helped a lot. I think the mineral buildup from the water here made my hair tacky to start with, increasing the likelihood that I would have hair knotting problems. I have much fewer these days.

AnimaSola3o4
December 27th, 2011, 03:55 AM
I just discovered today after doing a bit of research that i more than likely have hard water. It never used to be this way, with the staining of the shower curtain, scum on the faucets, etc. I might be adjusting my routine accordingly.... but I will likely never be able to avoid using shampoo for my dandruff and/or seb derm.

Elenna
December 27th, 2011, 04:59 AM
I get these single strand knots (otherwise known as faerie knots) all the time. The faerie knots mostly appear near my ends which are super dry. My hair is like velcro with the dry ends catching and knotting into single strand knots. When I find a knot, I unknot it with a straight pin, or trim off the knot. Also I've tried all sorts of oils. But several oils either dried out my hair or made it more "tacky" with more faerie knots forming!

I'm not sure if it is a dry ends problem or a "tacky" problem!

I am so jealous of people who can run a comb smoothly through their hair without encountering a single tangle.

wicked kisses
December 27th, 2011, 05:07 AM
I am so jealous of people who can run a comb smoothly through their hair without encountering a single tangle.

Me too!
My hair has *always* tangled easily, and I used to get what you girls call 'fairy knots' and I remember reading somewhere that it's a genetic thing.

However, I hardly get them since I've been keeping my hair long. Got them most when it was above BSL.

GRU
December 27th, 2011, 08:03 AM
I just discovered today after doing a bit of research that i more than likely have hard water. It never used to be this way, with the staining of the shower curtain, scum on the faucets, etc. I might be adjusting my routine accordingly.... but I will likely never be able to avoid using shampoo for my dandruff and/or seb derm.

Mine has never been better since I STOPPED using shampoo. Funny how what works for one of us so totally does not work for another.... thorough scrubbing with conditioner has my scalp happier than it's been since 1992. Just goes to show how unique we all are, I guess.

Hairkay
February 6th, 2017, 06:08 PM
Lately the way the knots form has changed. I'm finding more strands with 2 or 3 knots at the end. I'm also finding knotted loops. I cut them out. I'd never had loops before. I'm wondering if this is all part of my tight curls getting longer.

lapushka
February 7th, 2017, 09:40 AM
Lately the way the knots form has changed. I'm finding more strands with 2 or 3 knots at the end. I'm also finding knotted loops. I cut them out. I'd never had loops before. I'm wondering if this is all part of my tight curls getting longer.

If it's a knot formed by two or more strands, can you pry it loose with a (metal) rattail comb. Especially metal rattail combs are good for this. I've had to undo a multistrand knot (about 4/5 strands) once and it did the trick.

Beatrixity
February 7th, 2017, 12:10 PM
I've found that a couple drops of sunflower seed oil go a long way in preventing tangles, little knots, and fairy knots. I don't know if anyone else has had that experience, but it certainly works for me. :)

Hairkay
February 7th, 2017, 03:32 PM
If it's a knot formed by two or more strands, can you pry it loose with a (metal) rattail comb. Especially metal rattail combs are good for this. I've had to undo a multistrand knot (about 4/5 strands) once and it did the trick.

Mostly it's the single strands knotting by themselves. I do put a little olive oil/coconut on the ends to help but that's not working.

lapushka
February 7th, 2017, 03:35 PM
Mostly it's the single strands knotting by themselves. I do put a little olive oil/coconut on the ends to help but that's not working.

Ugh that sucks! :(

blackgothicdoll
November 15th, 2018, 12:19 PM
These are a huge problem for me. When they're at the ends, I s&d, but honestly don't have all the time in the world so I just get to them when I get to them. I kind of figured there's no way for me to avoid them, they're always there. But then I get some in the middle of strands. Those will eventually snap if that knot is pulled on during brushing or styling, since it creates a weak point in the strand. I have strands around my crown that are only a few inches, and they have ssks! Why is this happening? :(