Should You Even Worry About Single Strand Knots On Natural Hair?

Single strand knots and fairy knots are you botheredSo perhaps you have just done your scheduled trim and you are feeling good, looking forward to continue with your journey to health so you can retain length.

Then the unthinkable happens. ” Oh no I just got rid of those!” you say to yourself. You are annoyed, more that that, you are fuming. After trimming of the pesky little things they have come back like a thorn in your side. Sounds familiar?

Single strand knots, also called fairy knots because they seem to appear magically and are so tiny, can infuriate the heck out of you when you are on a mission for hair health and length. It seems that no matter how you get rid of them they come back with a vengeance sometimes a little higher up the strands.

If you have been seeing progress in your length, you may be rationalizing to avoid the inevitable. “Should you even worry about single strand knots on natural hair?” you ask yourself. Of course, the prospect of constantly trimming them off is in no way appealing since you would end up sacrificing length.

So What Is The Big Deal About SSKs Anyway?

These are knots that form on individual strands of hair when it shrinks completely before styling. What happens is that the hair curls up on itself, twisting into bends that result in the hair locking onto itself as you try to stretch it out again. These knots favor super coily/curly hair but don’t be fooled, they can appear on any hair type if styling options lend themselves to manipulation of elaborate proportions.

The presence of SSKs in abundance might be a sign that your hair is in a distressed state. That would mean that the health of your hair has seriously deteriorated and is begging for life support. These knots in abundance signal other problems such as split ends, dryness, brittleness amongst a variety of other factors.


If you have loads of ssks this should be cause for concern, since the only way to remedy the situation is to cut them off owing to the fact that they are usually too intricate or minute to undo. This is necessary because these bad boys can stunt the health of your hair and by extension, your growth aspirations, by snagging the strands next to them and creating tangles in the process.

Originally posted 2013-12-27 15:00:44.

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About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

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Comments

  1. Candace Hubbard
    Candace Hubbard

    I’m going through it too yall!!! I dnt know what to do. The only thing i know i dnt do is cover my hair every night

      1. Park

        Honestly the only way I’ve found that completely prevents them, is to keep the ends straight. Last year my SSK’s were so bad that braid outs were pretty much impossible. I found that this problem was greatly reduced after I started blow drying my hair rather than letting it air dry. I found that the heat really set in the oil and leave in conditioner. That combined with the heat protectant made for very soft ssk free hair. Mind you, because of the petroleum use I do have to use a shampoo containing sulfides.

  2. Kaci Wallace
    Kaci Wallace

    Lovie Wallace this is what I mentioned to you lol! Also I follow multiple natural hair communities on FB 🙂

    1. Nicole Cato
      Nicole Cato

      The more tightly coiled/ kinky your hair, the more it tangles on itself creating knots.

  3. Traci Young
    Traci Young

    I use to have a bad problem with them, but I started pre-pooing with lots of oil (at least an hour before shampooing) and moisturizing twice a day instead on once a day and putting JBCO just on the ends. Working well for me.

    1. Traci Young
      Traci Young

      I wear lots of protective styles, crochet braids, cornrows, two strand twist, and when I’m feeling frotastic I rock my fro..lol! I change the style each week after a wash and DC.

  4. LaToya Lee
    LaToya Lee

    Yes I get them all the time and I just pull it on off doesn’t fade me one bit I have a head full of hair so its not like u can tell and yes its very normal for natural hair just condition and go on bout your day or snip it

    1. Marsha Buchanan Post author

      I do the search and destroy method too since I can’t stand the thought of doing a wholesome chop LOL

  5. Majorly_Mojo

    I have them and it doesn’t bother me…maybe if I straightened my hair it would but yeah most of them are in the back of my hair (where its the kinkiest)…

  6. Cynthia Lawson
    Cynthia Lawson

    Funny enough I get SSK more when my hair is wet because I have a really really tight curl pattern and detangling is more work. When my hair is stretched less to no SSKs.

  7. Sheila Gaylon Barnett
    Sheila Gaylon Barnett

    They can be a problem as they are one pre- requisite to breakage or weakened hair. I wear locs and I don’t really concern myself as much because I’m content with my achieved look.

  8. Kassiopeia Hood
    Kassiopeia Hood

    My hair has never been relaxed, I’ve always been natural I just straighten it from time to time. I actually just went through a big chop to my chin and half shave it’s growing back now.

  9. Lucky

    Those SSKs are like a plague. I have them.

  10. Spring Johnson
    Spring Johnson

    I get these terribly. One thing I noticed is doing is smoothing my hair down with caster oil each night really helped.

  11. Mary

    Will definitely follow those precautionary measures in order to minimize my single strand knots. Such a big help. Thank you for posting this. Have a great day!

  12. Deborah Wilson
    Deborah Wilson

    These knots break my hair off. I have to keep my hair stretched to avoid getting them so easily.

  13. Kaily Jeter
    Kaily Jeter

    They cause the ends of the rest of my hair to tangle and knot. Makes my ends feel horrible. Yep I cut them off whenever I see them.

  14. NaKisha Harvey
    NaKisha Harvey

    Even if you detangle it you still get single strand knots. Its natural with curly hair. I normally cut them because i dislike the feel of it.

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