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What are fairy knots and how to prevent them?

Fairy knots or Trichonodosis are very common in people who have frizzy, curly or frizzy hair. These knots look like tiny beads along the hair shaft, and they can cause breakage when combing and styling. To know how to prevent them from happening, we must first determine what causes them.

What causes fairy knots in your hair?

Tangles usually occur when one strand of hair wraps around another and becomes tangled. This can be especially common with curly hair because curly, coily strands are produced by a flat, curved hair follicle. The strand of curly hair that comes out of your hair follicle tends to intertwine and form curls. It therefore ties itself around other strands of hair, which has the effect of tangling and knotting the strands of hair. A problem occurs when multiple strands of hair begin to wrap around each other, further tangling and creating a larger knot and even split ends of curly hair .

This phenomenon is very common among people with thick, curly hair. The main concern is when this becomes a problem, and a single – or sometimes double – knot occurs. Short, curly hair, as well as tightly coiled hair types, are very prone to this type of knot.

A single knot can form when a strand of curly hair emerges from the hair follicle and wraps around itself or other strands, causing a knot. Shorter curly hair and tightly coiled hair types are most prone to single knots. Other causes of this type of tangling include handling the hair during shampooing and styling, or friction from pillows, scarves, etc.

How to prevent fairy knots in hair?

Whether you choose just one tangle prevention method or incorporate several into your routine, you'll find that over time you'll find it easier to untangle your tangles, or even avoid them. Here are some simple ways to prevent tangles in your hair:

  • Detangle hair before shampooing
  • Use the “praying hands” method.
  • Braid or curl your hair before going to bed to minimize friction.
  • Use a satin or silk pillowcase, bonnet or scarf at bedtime.
  • Care for your hair in depth
  • Visit your hairdresser frequently to ensure your hair remains healthy.


Although it is impossible to completely avoid single strand knots , there are several ways to prevent and decrease the number of knots we may have. First of all, during your shampoo and styling routine, you should make sure to detangle your hair before shampooing. Water causes hair to shrink, which can tighten existing knots even more.

Use the prayer method

While shampooing, apply natural hair shampoo directly to your scalp and massage it in with your fingertips. Then, smooth the shampoo over the entire length of your hair. This method is also known as the "praying hands method," which involves pressing your hands together with your hair between them. I have found that this method helps make my hair easier to manage while shampooing and keeps it tangle-free.

Take care of your head before bed

Before going to bed, braid or twist your hair to prevent it from shrinking overnight. This also helps minimize friction that can occur when you move around while you sleep. Using a satin pillowcase, bonnet, or scarf can also help reduce friction when you're in bed.

Use a deep conditioner

When it comes to products, adding a strengthening deep conditioner, such as Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioner, to your routine will help improve the strength and elasticity of your hair. Using products with natural oils helps keep hair lubricated, reducing excessive friction and tangling that causes single strand hair tangles. Finding the right moisturizing conditioner for natural hair can be an easy way to help prevent tangles. You can also start incorporating natural hair oil into your daily routine.

Visit a professional

Regular visits to a hair care professional are also an important way to prevent tangles. During these visits, make sure your ends are cut by a professional. Your hairstylist can also assess the condition of your hair and determine if your hair needs restorative or protein treatments to improve its condition. It's essential to visit your hairdresser every three to four months, or more frequently if you have a lot of fairy knots.

How to treat an existing fairy knot in the hair?

If you have fairy knots that you can't undo, don't try to comb them or tear the hair. It is also not recommended to use household scissors to remove tangles, as this can do more harm than good. Knots should be cut using appropriate hair scissors or with the help of a professional. You can also try the tips above to treat and prevent tangles in your hair.

Single-strand knots can be distressing, but know that knots are part of textured hair territory. Following these tips and tricks will help you prevent them, and treat stubborn knots appropriately when they appear. You can also try a detangler for curly hair if your hair tends to get tangled!


Can fairy knots damage hair?

These tangles can damage and break your hair, especially if they get caught in other parts of your hair. That is why it is good to prevent their formation and properly eliminate those that have already formed.

Why is 4C hair so prone to fairy knots?

4C hair is frizzy and curly, so when hair falls out naturally, it tends to get tangled in other hair, rather than falling out of your hair.

Should you cut fairy knots?

Regular trims will help prevent fairy knots, but by trying some of the techniques above, like using conditioner to help loosen the knot, you'll be able to make it disappear without having to cut it.

Will fairy knots disappear on their own?

Most likely not. Once your hair is knotted, you should either cut it or try to detangle it.

If you've ever had fairy knots, what are your tips for dealing with them?

Also discover: How to eliminate your split ends permanently !