Posted on April 26, 2010 by Samara

Natural Hair: Knots, Tangles, & Shed Hairs

The topic of today is why is my hair always in knots and/or tangled? Why do I keep getting fairy knots (tiny single strand knots on the ends of the hair)? Why is my hair always tangled and breaking? If you’ve read my Fairy Knots article and you are sleeping with a satin or silk bonnet or scarf, and wearing protective styles, but still getting the knots, I may have the solution!

All hair no matter the texture has a life cycle. During this life cycle the hair goes through 3 stages: Growing, Resting, Shedding. During the Shedding Phase, people usually shed between 50-100 hairs per day to make room for new hair that is growing in. Natural hair is naturally kinky and/or curly so the shed hairs may not make their way completely out of our heads and then become tangled with the hairs still growing out of our scalp causing knots that lead to breakage! Yes, I know this is awlful, but it’s what we are blessed with: Curly/Kinky hair.

The solution to this problem is sufficient detangling and removal of shed hairs. The best time to do this is during your wash days. My advice is when you shower and cleanse your hair rinse the hair thoroughly and use your fingers to remove the shed hairs by gently finger combing the hair. Add conditioner and/or oil to make the hair slippery. This will help you remove the shed hairs as well as the tangles if any. Once you have detanlged with your fingers, follow up with a wide tooth detangling comb. Next braid or twist the hair and use some clamps to section your detangled hair from the hair that still needs to be detangled to prevent retangling of hair. Doing this prior to adding your shampoo will greatly reduce the knots.

Another factor I will also like to point out is redepositing shed hairs into the head during styling. This is also a big reason why you may be getting the knots. When you are using shea butter, gel, etc., do you have bits of hair in the jar? Do you have hairs stuck to your hands as you are applying your products? If so you need to remove them before you place your hands back in your hair because putting these hairs back in the hair leads to more knots! If you have shed hairs on your hands while styling rinse them off before continuing. If the hair is in your jar of gel, shea butter, conditioner, etc. Remove them!! As always wear protective styles often, never comb your hair while it’s dry and sleep with a satin or silk bonnet or scarf. These steps will help you reduce the knots, tangles, and breakage.



  1. I have a lot of long dry fine hair that tangles like crazy. The Shielo Antioxidant Leave In Protectant is the best I’ve found yet. I find that most detanglers fall into one of two categories: effective but goopy, or ineffective and non-goopy. The Shielo Leave In is unlike these in that it is light, but ACTUALLY detangles. Still, I have to use a lot of it, especially near my scalp when I want to comb my hair in a different direction.

    It is scented, but lightly so. Considering how much of the product I use, I am glad the scent isn’t too strong.

    Comment by Fergie — December 3, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  2. My issue is that when I’m taking out my braids (after having them in for a couple of months), my hair knots up at the spot where the braid was attached to my hair. It’s all gunked up with dirt, oil and dead hair and I’m trying to figure out how to get that stuff out of my hair while pulling out the least possible amount of good hair.

    Comment by Drive to Succeed — December 22, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  3. This is why you should only use oil free products lightly in the hair while wearing braids to prevent buildup. You should also be cleansing and conditioning weekly, and braids should not be kept in no longer than 2 months

    Comment by Samara — January 28, 2011 @ 3:32 am

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