How To Get A Knot Out Of Kinky Hair Without Damaging Your Strands

Sadly, it doesn't matter if I'm diligently in a protective style or proudly flaunting my hair out on the regular: Where there is kink, there are likely to be knots. Knowing how to properly remove a knot from kinky hair is arguably as important as knowing how to braid it. My fear of enormous knots in my hair is one of the reasons my hair is usually wrapped in a scarf, but I've still found some hair-saving techniques that come in handy on days my curls are out and about. Practice definitely makes perfect, but once you've mastered removing knots, you'll lose less hair and gain confidence during detangling.  

Afro-textured hair comes in all shapes and forms, but pretty much everyone who has it knows the struggle of trying to gently, unravel knots in our hair. According to sources at Curly Nikki, our curls are come from flat, bent hair follicles and each strand is so curvaceous it can actually weave and loop around other strands creating knots. I know I'm singing the curly haired blues, but when you factor in the delicate nature of each single strand of afro-textured hair, often lacking in strength, but plentiful in density, you've got a chronic case of untangling knots. 

To help keep your strands healthy and tangle-free, here are some tips I've picked up from a lifetime of getting knots out of my extremely kinky hair. 

1. Spot Knots When Your Strands Are Dry

Before starting any hair treatment, wash, or detangling, I like to keep my eye out for problem areas. Hair tends to be stronger when dry, and when my hair is out in between washes, I'm likely to detect a knot that I want to save for a later date.

2. Get Your Curls Nice & Slick

My experience in trying to remove a knot on dry hair has taught me a hard lesson: knots are easier to take out when conditioned. The slicker the hair the easier curls will loosen, making multi-strand knots easier to resolve. While I'm a constant spot-detangler, knot removal is first attempted during deep conditioning and finalized with my leave-in conditioner.

3. Work In Sections To Identify More Knots

Once you're hair is moisturized enough for curls to begin to loosen, separate into sections: This is a major component of detangling. It's also the quickest way to identify and separate the biggest knots which will allow you to hone in on the secret knots living in your tresses.

4. Identify Knots On Wet Hair

It's likely you'll be finding knots while you are detangling and with the density of afro-textured hair, you have your work cut out for you. It's totally fair to save knots for later by isolating them with a bobby pin while you detangle and set the rest of your mane.

5. Use Your Fingers To Unravel

Identify knot by touch and get it in your line of sight, once you can see the knot, get a closer look in the mirror and find the curls wrapping around said knot and gently unravel. Work your fingers through the knotted sections, ensuring there aren't smaller knots inside the big knot.

6. Add A Combs

I'm an advocate of finger detangling, especially when hair treatments are in my hair. However, after I've done a light finger detangling session, I like to run a wide-tooth comb through each section to make sure I haven't missed any major knots. Knots are a total pain, but my main concern is making sure my hair treatment is reaching each strand which is unlikely if there are several strands wrapped around each other.

7. Add Other Tools

A combination of light finger detangling and combing helps me work a treatment through my hair. I know that the real work will come when I'm fully conditioned and ready for my leave-in conditioner. Again, I utilize my fingers first, before using a brush to get all the tiny knots that a wide tooth comb or my hands couldn't possibly find.

8. Stop While You're Ahead

Sometimes, knowing when to throw in the towel is as important as knowing how to get the knot out. The more pulling and weaving on the hair, the more stress you are putting on your scalp, so it's important not to go overboard. 

If that knot is completely stubborn (as in your hair strands aren't moving a bit) then there is no need to stress your tresses and keep pulling on your scalp in vain. You can just snip the knot out with scissors. According to sources at Curly Nikki, your stylist can remove a severe knot for you, but don't be surprised if they end up cutting it out too.

[Embed]

The best way to avoid knots is to keep up with your conditioning and detangling regimen, no matter how tedious and time-consuming they can be. Whether you're detangling or just looking for a knot you've been feeling; preparing your hair for heavy-manipulation with conditioners, emollients, and the right tools will be essential to keeping those innocent tresses. 

Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (9)

Must Reads