Why We Are In Knots

We, the natural-haired women, do not like knots and tangles. In fact, we wage war against them on wash day or every time we find one. The pre-poo was developed primarily for this reason, was it not? Also, the fact that detanglers (products) feature dominantly in our hair care routines speaks volume on how much attention is required to rid our hair of this menace.

No, we do not like knots & tangles.

But knots & tangles love our textured hair. They show themselves if our natural hair gets too dry, when we wear protective styles for an extended period of time, wearing wash & go’s, when we get wind in our hair, if we sleep without hair cover, when we shampoo, just simply getting our hair wet. In order words, they await us around every corner.

The tendency of strands to wrap around and ‘hug’ each other is unique to curly textured hair, it is this behaviour that at once creates clumpage for lovely spirals as well as tangles. 

 Why are knots & tangles formed? 

  • Hair strands with raised cuticle layers which get twisted around each other (raised cuticle layers can occur due to hair damage, porosity type, or environmental stressors)
  • Split ends exist
  • The shape of the curls is conducive to tangles (e.g. a tightly-wound Z-shape strand is likely  to misbehave rather than a looser curl type)
  • Improper use of products or hair care techniques
  • Environmental stressors (e.g. harsh weather) exist
  • Natural hair loses moisture and becomes dry

Knots & tangles are a part of what it means to have natural hair, no matter the texture.

What can we do to reduce knots & tangles?

  • Master a sealing technique (to maintain moisture)
  • Maintain stretched hairstyles (versus wearing wash & go’s)
  • Use a hair care technique which emphasises smoothing of the cuticle layers
  • Trim split ends as often as necessary
  • Protect hair from extreme weather (strong winds, extreme cold, dry heat)