My Remedy For Single Strand Knots (SSK's)


As being a natural for most of my life I have always struggled with single strand knots and tangles which are also known as SSK's.  Single strand knots can occur very quickly on natural kinky/curly hair, what happens is that the strand of curly hair coils up so much that it eventually curls around itself and forms a knot on the end of the hair strand.  If you are not extremely careful when you detangle the hair from these type of knots and tangles, you can pull the whole strand of hair out, causing unnecessary hair loss and potential breakage.

For the past several months I have been trying out different products, mostly natural, to see how I could keep my hair moisturized enough to keep it detangled while my hair is either twisted or braided underneath my wig caps. Since I practice low manipulation techniques for growing my hair, I have been going 7-10 days in a row without combing or brushing my hair.  So, I was noticing that every time I would undo my twists or braids at the end of a work week right before I shampoo, my ends would be so tightly coiled around each other that they were always knotted on the ends.  While trying to separate the hair apart on the ends of the braids/twists to unravel it, I heard popping and snapping from the hairs on the ends and I was not happy about breaking the ends of my hair.  The ends of the hair are the oldest parts on the strand, so they are the weakest part.  I was determined to stop or minimize this so it would not hamper my growth potential.

You will notice in previous posts that I have raved about several products that I have tried and really liked.  Don't get me wrong, those products do work excellent for my hair overall and have greatly contributed to the recent growth and health of my hair, but I still was plagued by SSK's.  Recently, within the last month, I purchased Silk Elements Mixed Silk leave in conditioner from Sally's Beauty Supply and have been really pleased with the results.  It has a lot of slip, which makes detangling a breeze and it definitely leaves the hair feeling moisturized and soft to the touch.  This product is very easy to work with and apply because it comes in a large, sturdy, plastic bottle with a pump.  

I have also talked about moisturizing/sealing and the products I was using at the time, but I am updating those products in this post.  Now I am using Grape Seed Oil to seal my hair with and this oil has greatly diminished the SSK's in my hair.  I am so impressed with this oil and how beneficial it can be to hair.  It is very light and you do not have to apply a lot of it to see the shine payoff in you hair.  It gives off a nice sheen without looking or feeling greasy to the touch.  You can see the gloss on my hair from the pictures. 

So now, after I have shampooed and conditioned my hair with Suave Humectant conditioner (which is the best commercial conditioner I have tried to date, talk about moisture!), and sprayed my scalp with a leave in scalp treatment.  I apply the Mixed Silk leave in conditioner in sections, then go behind that with the Grapeseed oil.  Once I have moisturized and sealed all of my hair, I either twist or braid the hair and pin all the twists together into a bun to protect the ends.  I tie the the hair down with a satin scarf and let it air dry.  This helps my hair to lay flat and not be all poofy under my wigs.

I recently decided to wear my natural hair out so I bought some Curlformers and I tried them on my hair for the first time over the 4th of July weekend and it turned out pretty good.  I have a few pictures to show my results.  I used Eco Styler Argan Oil gel to set the hair in the Curlformers, after I had moisturized and sealed my hair as I have explained above. 
I really liked the look and results I got from the Curlformers, but I will say my curls did not really last but for that day.  My hair looks frizzy in some spots because the those curls were not totally dried, so they did not set properly.  I also think the heat and humidity in the air here in S. California contributed to the frizz factor as well, but it was still very soft and detangled from the use of the Grape Seed Oil.  When I try the curlformers again on my natural hair, I may record some of the process and post it here for you to see.
One thing I will say now about the Curlformers is that you do not want to place them as close to your scalp like many tutorials have stated because they can straight rip your hair out of your head if you are not cautious!  I also would not recommend sleeping in these Curlformers if you do feel the need to place them close to your scalp, because when you lay down and manipulate the position of the curlformers, they will pull on the hair.  I heard one of the curlformers doing this while I was sleeping, so I had to remove it right away in the middle of the night!  I think the combination of the gel drying on my roots and the curlformer pulling it with the slightest movement was causing it to pull very hard on that particular section of hair that was in the curlformer.  I immediately woke up and loosened all of the curlformers away from my scalp and I felt like a thousand pounds had been released from my scalp!  Tension is one of the worst enemies for a scalp and has caused many cases of alopecia and hair loss in women of color.
Next time I am either going to use the curlformers early in the day with enough time to air dry or I will let it air dry most of the day and use the heat of a blow dryer to dry it the rest of the way.  I will not sleep in curlformers if I can help it.  Also, to help the style last longer next time, I am either going to pincurl the hair up or pull all of the curls to the top of my head and place a loose scrunchy on them to secure them (which is referred to as the pineapple), then put on a satin bonnet before going to bed.
Please note that I am not being paid to review any of these products on this blog, these are my honest opinions.  What has worked for me, may not work for everyone else.  I welcome all comments and other opinions. 

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