What Are Fairy Knots?

African Woman Shouting

You’ve been rocking your glorious wash and go for a week, and it is once again wash day. While detangling your wonderful coils, your fingers slide down a strand of hair and you hit a knot at the end. Frustrated, you wonder “Where did this knot in come from? How did this happen?” Well my dear, you have a fairy knot.


Scientifically known as Trichonodosis, fairy knots are small knots—usually found toward the end of the hair shaft—that form when a single strand of hair has curled, or knotted around itself. Fairy knots are most often found in hair that is around six inches in length and worn in an afro or wash and go style.
If you are on a hair growth journey, fairy knots can be detrimental to length retention because they are often the site of breakage (once hair is manipulated via washing, combing, or styling) and when tightly knotted, the hair has to be cut to remove the knot…eek!


Minimize wash and go and fro styling. Allowing your hair to dry un-manipulated and to fully shrink, no matter the leave-in or styling product used, will eventually lead to the formation of fairy knots.
Seal your ends. After wetting your hair, seal your ends with a butter or oil to lock in the moisture. Split ends can contribute the formation of fairy knots, so keeping your ends moisturized will help to avoid knotting.
Stretch your ends. Straighter ends have a harder time coiling upon themselves, thus reducing your chances of forming fairy knots. There are various ways to stretch your hair including banding, roller/rod sets, and blow outs—just be sure to avoid heat damage when straightening your hair.
Protect your ends. Protective styles like box braids, buns, or any style that keeps your ends stretched and tucked away from the elements can help avoid knots and aid in length retention.

Does your hair get fairy knots? If so, what do you do to prevent them? Comment below, and feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

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