Tag Archives: prevention

The Single Strand Knot Dilemma


I’ve been getting quite a few questions about preventing single strand knots (SSK) lately, so it seemed like the time to do a post devoted to them. I don’t think that there is any way to avoid SSKs entirely … they are just part of the curly hair package … especially when one is frequently wearing WnGs. However, I do think that they can be minimized, so that they don’t ruin the appearance and feel of your hair or impede your ability to retain length.

In order to keep SSKs at bay, I do the following:

  • Stretch my hair with TnCs, twist-outs and braid outs.
  • Keep my hair moisturized by conditioning (pre-poo, DC and leave-in) and lubricated (sealed with an oil).
  • Fortify my strands with strengthening protein treatments/conditioners.
  • Conduct search and destroys (S&D) during my pre-poo routine on wash day to cut off any split, damaged or knotted hair that I see/feel in the course of finger detangling.
  • Finger detangle to remove as much shed hair as I can prior to washing as loosened strands tend to get captured in curly hair, knotting and wrapping around unshed hair.

These steps seem to help me to reduce SSK and prevent the collateral damage that can be caused by friction between knotted and damaged ends and healthy ones.

SSKs and WnGs
Recently, I started revisiting the WnG and plan to do it more frequently for the summer months. That being said, this means that the first step in my SSK prevention routine is a no-go … i.e. stretching. However, I will continue to employ the other techniques that I mentioned above.

That being said, let me say that I was a regular WnG girl for the majority of my natural hair journey. And, prior to 2010, I did nothing prophylactically to address SSKs other than getting my hair pressed and trimmed every 6 months. I definitely had them, as the ends of my hair would get difficult to detangle and would feel horrible. However, I was still able to retain a good deal of length with these infrequent trims. The following picture from 2006 shows the length that I reached wearing WnGs on a daily basis and just getting trims every 6 months.

So, if they don’t bother you too much and aren’t damaging your hair excessively, you can opt to leave SSKs alone and just get your ends trimmed periodically (every 3-6 months). But, that’s a decision you have to make based on your preferences, goals and what works best for you.

Finally, whenever I am asked about preventing SSKs, I share this cute video, which I previously posted on a GOC update in response to a cry for help.

via BrwnBarbie24

And, more recently, I’ve also been sharing this interesting article that Chy’s Curlz did on using Oil Rinsing as a post-shampoo step that can help minimize SSKs for those regularly rocking WnGs. Finally, Madame Noire provides several tips for preventing SSK in the article, 7 Ways to Keep Your Single Strand Knots to a Minimum.

So, although eliminating SSKs entirely is probably not possible for those who regularly rock curls, there are a few things that one can do to reduce the numbers. With a little trial and error, you can pick and chose the techniques that work best for you!



What techniques have you found to be effective in preventing/reducing Single Strand Knots?