What is a single strand knot?

Single strand knots can wreak havoc on your hair. Find out what they are and how to prevent them in the video below. 


What are single strand knots?

Single strand knots are also known as fairy knots, or by the technical term trichonodosis. They are tiny knots that form when a single strand of hair has wrapped around itself and tied itself into a knot. 

Single strand knots are very common in curly hair. So if you’re a curly girl, the bad news is that single strand knots are pretty much inevitable. You’re not going be able to prevent them 100% of the time, but we would like to minimize how many single strand knots are forming in our hair. 

We also to catch them early and get rid of them before they can cause any further damage to the rest of our hair.

What causes single strand knots?

Some causes of fairy knots include dryness, friction, and your natural curl pattern as mentioned above. Certain hair styles can also make your hair more prone to knots and tangles.

Why are single strand knots so bad?

Single strand knots can be very damaging to your hair for multiple reasons. One is because those tiny knots on one strand of hair can get caught on neighboring strands of hair and form a larger tangle. So if you're trying to detangle your hair on wash day and you’re finding that you have a lot of tangles, this could be due to an abundance of single strand knots in your hair.

Single strand knots on the ends of your hair can also cause breakage and split ends so it's important to do as much as we can to prevent them.

How to prevent single strand knots

So how can you prevent (or minimize) single strand knots in your hair?

Deep conditioning

First to combat dryness, of course, I say this in every article – you need to be deep conditioning.

If you deep condition your hair on a regular basis, every 1-2 weeks, your hair is going to be hydrated, moisturized, and your strands are going to have more slip. This keeps your hair from drying out, which causes the strands to get caught on themselves or on neighboring strands of hair. 

Moisturizing Your Ends

In addition to deep conditioning, you want to ensure that if you have extended time between washes, that you are going in every few days and moisturizing your ends.

I use the Argan Aloe Leave In Conditioner and I just take a little bit every few days and rub it on the ends of my hair. And then I also go over my ends with a little bit of the Organic Pre Shampoo Oil.

All it takes is a few drops on my fingertips and I rub it on the ends of my hair. That helps to prevent single strand knots. It keeps my ends moisturized and keeps my strands from tangling and wrapping around themselves.

Styling Choices

Also you want to be careful about what styles you wear. Like I said, curly hair is more prone to single strand knots. Wearing curly styles can exacerbate the problem, so we need to develop a good moisturizing routine to counteract this.

I prefer to wear my hair natural. I like to wear it curly, so I have to make sure that I’m not allowing those styles to get too dry.

If you also enjoy wearing curly styles, it’s really important to make sure that you are going in every few days and moisturizing your ends. Even if your are wearing your natural hair in mini braids or two strand twists, you can still develop single strand knots. Moisturizing your ends between wash days is still a good idea.

Also as your hair gets longer you’ll find that some of your styling choices may need to change. Your technique may need to be adjusted, or maybe you need to add a little more product to your ends as you style.

As the ends of your hair get older, they become more fragile. Your ends are more prone to damage and breakage and single strand knots become more common. If you have a very short hair cut, single strand knots generally are not going to be an issue for you. It's still important that you moisturize and deep condition at this stage though. Remember, as your short hair grows longer, the hair on your head right now will become your ends. If you neglect them now, they'll become damaged before you make it to your goal length.

As your hair grows out, make sure that you're paying attention to how your ends feel. When you rub your hands down your hair shaft, does your hair feel rough at the ends? If the answer is yes, that feeling is most commonly due to single strand knots.

When this happens, the best remedy is a good trim. Moving forward be sure that you keep your ends nice and moisturized so that the knots don't keep showing back up.

I found that once my hair got past bra strap length or mid back length, I had to stop wearing certain styles like wash and gos and tiny two strand twists because those styles caused my hair to tangle, and led to more frequent trimming.

For me, twists outs and braid outs keep the sections of my hair a little bit more separated, so I don’t have as much of an issue with single strand knots when I wear those styles. That may vary from person to person, so it’s just something to be aware of.

Your Single Strand Knot Prevention Plan

To recap, single strand knots can cause tangles, breakage, and splits ends. The best way to prevent them is by deep conditioning regularly and then moisturizing your ends between wash days to make sure they’re not tangling on themselves.

Once you find single strand knots, the only way to get rid of them is to cut them. Don’t just pull them out because that causes split ends. Cut any knots that you find with a sharp pair of hair cutting shears.

If you find that the ends of your hair are very rough all around, then you need to do a full trim instead of trying to cut individual knots. If you’re detangling and you run into one or two single strand knots, you can just grab the scissors and cut then and there.

Make sure that you’re not cutting big chunks out of your hair. As you’re combing through your hair and you find a knot, start to detangle with your fingers as much as you can to dislodge those hairs that will easily slip out of the knot. Then if there’s three or four hairs left that are caught up in that knot, you can just it with your shears.


I hope this article (and video) has helped you. If you have any questions, as always you can email me at contact@indaranaturals.com. I always respond to your emails, so just let me know what your question is. It doesn’t have to be related to this topic, it can be any hair care question that you have. If you have questions about our products, what product you need to select, or how to use them, you can email me about that as well. And if you’re not already on my email list make sure you sign up for weekly hair care tips and more videos like this one.

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