I sure do hope that this week is going well for you! Thanks for all the love and sunshine you shared on my last post! I'm always soooo energized when I read your stories!
Shifting gears now to hair, I've been getting lots of questions lately about how to avoid knots. Many fine lasses seem to be simply irked by the phenomenon that is single strand knots!
Let me explain what I mean by knots. Now picture this scenario: You rock up to the salon to have a blow dry (not that I'm a fan of heat anyway, read more here). The salonist keeps battling with the tips of your hair - they seem to want to curl onto each other and form a huge "ball". You're frustrated so you decide that enough is enough and that maybe natural hair isn't your thing. Then a naturalista wails "Waaaiiiiittt!!! Don't slap on the creamy crack just yet!!"
Okay that was quite dramatic! Haha!
But actually! Here's some basic facts on single strand knots, and some easy strategies on how to deal with/avoid them......so that you don't have to have a dramatic naturalista wailing in your ear!
What are single strand/fairy knots?
These are tiny winy knots that form on our strands. They come with the natural hair package because our hair is naturally curly/coily. Think of a spring. If you pull and tag at a spring, it might bend and curl out of shape. The same thing happens to our strands. Sometimes they fold and curl onto themselves and form a knot, as part of the wear and tear of natural hair. Single strand/fairy knots tend to occur at the tips of our hair, but some naturals experience mid-shaft knots.
How are single strand/fairy knots caused?
- Minimal protective styling.
If you wear your hair out loads, that means that it's constantly being exposed to the elements and to surfaces with lots of friction. This wears out your strands and weakens them. And in the process of all that movement, your hair might naturally start knotting.
- Over manipulation.
Baacccckkk in the day when I'd just started my natural hair journey, I was so eager to try out all the gazzillion styles out there, that I styled my hair almost every day! Now there's nothing wrong with a little hair fun, but over manipulating your hair can cause your hair to bend out of shape and form knots.
- Always wearing your hair in its shrunken state.
I love me a shrunken afro, don't get me wrong! But keeping your hair in a shrunken state can cause your hair to tangle on itself and get knotted. Dealing with a head full of knots is NO fun. I've been there, done that. Cried. Detangled for what felt like 25 years. Got the t-shirt and moved on.
Are knots a sign that your hair is unhealthy?
Not necessarily. Most, if not all naturalistas, have had single strand knots at one point or other of their hair journey. If you have a head full of knots, this might cause your strands to catch on each other and form large tangles. Not. Cute. However, having a couple of knots here and there is normal.
Can knots be avoided? Yes! Here's How:
- Stretch your curls and coils.
This is absolutely fundamental to length retention!! Keeping your curls stretched prevents your hair from knotting. This in turn means that you don't have to snip off any damaged or tangled ends, resulting in longer, fuller hair. Yippeee!!
- Keep your afro in a protective style.
In as much as I live for days when I can wear my hair out, I absolutely love keeping my hair in protective styles. Read this post here for more deets on protective styling.
- Keep your ends sealed and protected.
This is very critical as well. Our ends are the oldest, most fragile bits of our hair. We have to nurse them, in order to keep our length. Check out this post here on how I use Olive Oil to seal and protect my ends.
Well, lastly, I'd say - EMBRACE your knots - that's what makes our hair uniquely beautiful. Remember this instagram post in which I publicly declared that I'm not into laying my edges down? *Yelp!* Yes I did. Our hair is cuurrllyy. And that's okay. There's no need to fight it, all the time.
How's your hair journey going? Have you had single strand knots before? How did you deal with them?
I'd love to know!
Love and lotsa sunshine!!