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Little Knots in Hair

Q: I just had a question regarding my hair. I am an African American woman with natural hair, and at the end of each strand, there are little knots that are formed, and that is throughout my entire head. It is like someone took each strand of hair and formed a knot at the end of each one. I was just wondering why that happens or what can I do to stop it. No matter how many times I cut them, they still manage to make a come back.
 
A: It sounds as you are experiencing a case of split ends. Split ends are generally caused by rough treatment of the hair, when the hair is improperly conditioned. Even healthy hair can develop split ends if it is treated roughly or over styled (generally being over-brushed). In African-American hair, when the hair develops split ends, often the split portions of the hair will curl back over onto itself (think of splintering wood) and create a “knotted” effect.
 
      Trimming these split ends is generally the only way to be rid of them, but they are only a symptom, and unless you remove the cause, they will simply reform. As I’ve said before in many cases, the first thing to do is condition the hair thoroughly. Your hair needs to be conditioned every day, even if you don’t shampoo. Some people need more conditioning than others, and should also use a leave-in spray conditioner on the ends of the hair to moisturize the hair where it is most needed.
 
      In addition, you may also want to use an anti-frizzing serum or oil-sheen product to help seal the cuticle of the hair and lock in moisture. This will help to protect the hair from drying out and allow the styling tools to pass easily through the hair. Speaking of styling tools, you should be using a wide-tooth comb or pick to groom your hair, rather than a brush or finer-toothed comb. The finer-toothed and bristled tools often put too much stress on the hair and can cause damage by stretching the hair, or causing the ends of the hair to fray and split.
 
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