Tangles, Splits and Single Strand Knots- How to know when it is time for a trim

March 12, 2016 Naija girl next door 25 Comments

    Hey hey!
     I recently got a trim. Trust me I didn't want to, but before my trim I had been dealing with an army of single strand knots, weak, split ends and detangling battles. Strugs.

It's like, my hair grew longer and just before I could celebrate I had to give it up. My ends were rough, dry, tangly.
Dry, knotted ends.
 The first thing I did was to put my hair away for two weeks in crochet braids to avoid getting impatient and rough. That's how I was feeling. 
   When I was ready to deal I had a proper wash day- finger detangle, protein prepoo, coffee on my scalp, wash, condition, detangle again. I even dusted my ends hoping that would be enough. But nah, I had to call it and break out the shears.

Signs it's time for a trim
   These apply to both relaxed and natural hair. 

1. Detangling suddenly becomes a nightmare. 
    To detangle, I usually need just oil (my fave is olive) plus or minus a little water spray. I work it in with my fingers and the tangles come apart. If at all there are any stubborn knots they get snipped off. No time.
    This time detangling became a struggle. I was spending too much time per section and not having much success with just my fingers. I resorted to the wide tooth comb that I gave up while transitioning. It helped, but then the hair would be tangled again the next day. 

2. Single strand knots
   They are unavoidable for kinky coily hair which naturally curves in upon itself. A single strand will literally just work itself into a knot. It's more a natural hair problem but if you're stretching your relaxer or transitioning you may get some too.
Single strand knot
The knots feel like bumps along a strand, and if you have a lot of them, you'll get a rough feeling when you handle your hair. SSKs are major tangle causers. They act just like the hooks on Velcro: they latch on to adjacent strands= tangles > you keep prying them apart > more mechanical damage to your ends= split ends and breakage. For as long as the knots remain, the cycle continues and you won't retain length. Plus, your hair becomes almost unmanageable.

3. Hair just won't retain moisture. 
  Split ends are damaged goods. The inner cortex is exposed and so it just leaches out moisture.
I kept moisturising daily, twice a day sometimes even. Still, dry hair.

4. Ends won't curl
Look at this bantu knot set I did. I promise you I doubly moisturised the ends, twirled and curled to the very tips and I still had this in the morning,

5. No shape
My fro strated to look uneven. It wouldn't cooperate and go into a nice roundish shape. I just had bits sticking out oddly. Meh.

When my hair was relaxed, a sure sign I was due for a trim was lack of volume. The ends would just hang down like a repentant sinner.

6. Timing.
The clincher- my big chop was almost nine months prior. I didn't realise. This was my first trim since. Way overdue.
   Of course having a schedule is great too. There are people who trim every four weeks to six months.

How I trimmed
Twirled each section round and round and snipped off the end.

Then I freed up the hair and took off some more above any knots I could feel.

 My hair is back! It's manageable again, doesn't feel rough and holds on to moisture better. I can tell I'm going to retain more length now.
  I braided up my hair when I was done, just to stretch. By morning it was curled to the very ends. *dab*

When your goal is longer hair it can be a little hard to give up some length, but holding on to damaged ends is more headache than it is worth, and is counterproductive in the long run.

Before trim

After trim

To prolong trim intervals I've learned important lessons.
1. Keep my hair stretched. Shrinkage is not exactly my friend. Remember that wash day when I let my hair shrink? It was fun seeing my coils but allowing my hair curl up so much started all those single strand knots.

2. Nighttime routine is important. I got lazy and started sleeping with my hair out some nights. I don't even sleep on a pillow so my kinky hair and my cotton sheets... NO. The result is hard brittle hair.
I'll make sure I braid/twist/bantu knot/thread at night and cover with my satin scarf.
If I'm feeling lazy I'll protective style. Like right now I'm in kinky twists. 
     All other usual hair care procedures apply. :)

So what about you? Have you had a trim lately? How do you figure out when you need one?


  1. Thanks for the post. Now it makes sense why my bantu knotout and twistouts were not nice.


    1. Awwww. Thanks for reading. I hope your hair is doing better now

  2. Gosh! Scales just fell off my eyes!
    I need to do this! It explain a lot about my hair's stunted growth.
    Thanks for sharing boo!


  3. this is exactly me and my hair right now nothing missing nothing added. I got lazy and started sleeping with my hair out some nights.i even removed my satin pillow case for washing and didnt replace it back. i am yet to trim and have a proper wash day. i need serious help. i have been on an ugly bun since that wouldn't cooperate and go into a nice roundish shape. pffftttt.
    A trim is on the way . i cant deal with this ssk , dry hair any longer.
    *tear drops * for the hair that has to go for others to spring forth
    This post really helped.

    1. Awwww... lol
      Poor things have to fall for their sisters to stand.
      Chidiebere change o. I have reformed. Replace that pillowcase or your hair won't forgive you.

    2. hahahhahaha sandra i have changed. immediately after reading your post that night i started wearing my bonnet religiously til date. while i carry my unresponsive bun till when i go to Kls naturals for a trim and hair TLC. i cant deal with my hair right now, the ssk are scaring the life out of me. if i dare carry scissors or shares i might just cut of everything with my present stress state. thanks for the post again. and ohh it would be nice to see you and your hair live. you both gingered me in my long term transition days.

  4. Ve actually been trimming my hair in my mind for a while lool, but am not a diy person so am looking for who can help me as the salons in my area aint it. So have resorted to doing protective styles till the lord sends an helper my way. Self cant be killed.


    1. You cannot come and go and kill yourself away. I hope you find someone to help you trim soon.

  5. Wowuuuu! Thanks for Sharing, I think its time for me to trim too.

    1. Ms Beautiful hair.
      Glad to share Uju. Thanks for the love on IG and the positive feedback you always send me. You make me feel good, bless your heart.

  6. I just got a trim, it feels like my hair isn't even growing..


    1. Don't worry your hair is growing. You're most likely just having a problem retaining length. With this trim, you have a clean slate. If you take good care of your hair you'll see it grow.

  7. Hi Sandra,

    Lol @ *dab*

    I remember discussing this with Dabs (NHCG) a while ago.

    SSK is like hair committing suicide. I mean! How does a strand of hair manage to roll around till it chokes itself? Lol

    I have relaxed hair but I get them too.

    Your hair looks great, I love the evenness that trims give, length is sacrificed but the reward is health.

    1. Great analogy, suicidal strands choking themselves to death. Lol
      I love the instant rewards of a trim too.
      I only got very few while relaxed, didn't know they're known relaxed hair enemies too.
      Solidarity, sistuh.

  8. I tagged you in the fashion fetish tag on here http://www.ethniques.blogspot.com.ng/2016/02/style-fashion-fetish-tag.html

  9. I had my last trim back in January, in as much as I want longer hair I don't find it hard letting go of not so great ends.


    1. Smart and decisive, I like it.
      I dilly dally a bit before I accept the inevitable.

  10. I'm stingy on having a trim,been long I did that.Definitely will my next relaxer,thanks in advance for motivating me. Lol! Your hair is life.......chai! See hair,see thickness. Nice post.


    1. Girl you and me both on that stinginess. I prefer to dust until a trim is absolutely necessary

  11. I just did a search and destroy dusting of my ends over the weekend. It's tedious examining every curl and only snipping off the frayed end but it's soooo worth it to keep my length while screaming ADIOS single fairy knots!

    KLP @ www.savingourstrands.com

    1. Right? It's like having your cake and eating it.
      It IS tedious though! Especially at my current length, my eyes were so strained. I need it longer asap so I can search easy.

  12. I'm extremely late for this post Sandra :( how do I subscribe on my mobile?

    I just had a trim,but did it the wrong way judging from the way you did yours. My winchy hair dinnor kuku show it.

    BTW my hair is just getting fuller, no desired length. It's long oh, but let's say yours is like 3 to 4 inches longer. It's on my shoulder and has refused to grow further. Any tips?

    Happy New month!