How I trim my Single Strand Knots

If there’s one thing about having kinky/curly/coily hair that can be quite annoying it’s having to deal with single strand knots (SSK’s), aka fairy knots. If you don’t know what single strand knots are, they are tiny knots that form on one single strand of hair. The hair loops around itself and forms a knot, mostly towards the end of the strand, but it can also form towards to the top of the strand. I don’t know how, but it’s also possible for more than one knot to form on an individual strand. While I was trimming my SSK’s over the weekend I discovered a few strands with 3 knots on them!

These types of knots are a lot more common with longer hair and is thankfully something you won’t have to deal with much if you choose to wear your hair short.

How to identify SSK’s

If you run your fingers over your strands and they feel bumpy towards the ends, it’s more than likely that it’s a knot. Take a closer look at the individual strand in the mirror if you’re not sure.  I needed to trim my hair over the weekend anyway,  but decided to aggressively tackle the SSK’s as well.

This picture shows the trimmed curls in addition to the individually trimmed strands with the knots clearly visible.

What causes SSK’s and how can they be prevented?

Some people believe that a knot is a symptom of a weak part on the hair strand. Others believe that it is simply the nature of natural hair to form these pesky little knots at some point, especially as the hair gets longer, because there are more curls and kinks on the strands.

It’s worth considering then that you’ll probably develop a few at some point, but keeping your hair tangle free and moisturised as much as possible will help to minimise them. Here are a few things you can do right now to help keep them at bay.

  1. Wash hair in sections and continuously smooth and wash the hair in a downward motion to minimise tangles and prevent the hair from twisting and looping around itself.
  2. Use loads of conditioner while detangling to give you maximum slip.
  3. Add a generous amount of your favourite oil to your conditioner to aid in giving maximum slip.
  4. Protect your ends by making sure you are sealing them properly and wearing some type of protective style. I know we see this advice often, but it definitely does help, so this Autumn and approaching Winter I plan to protect my ends with an extra layer of hair butter as well as step up my protective styling game by keeping my ends hidden more frequently. I noticed that I had more knots on the hair towards the back of my neck and realised it’s because this is the hair that is constantly touching my clothes and creating friction.
  5. Stretch your ends with twist/braid-outs and roller sets as opposed to wearing wash & go’s as the resulting curled up ends provide the perfect opportunity for tangles.
  6. Trim your hair when necessary – while having only a few SSK’s shouldn’t have you too worried, if left unmanaged, they’ll seem to suddenly appear  en masse which is when they can cause ridiculous tangling and a nightmare of a detangling session. They can also cause weak points in the hair which can lead to breakage or even split ends. So just trim your hair when necessary in order to limit the damage.
  7.  I’ve also read somewhere that you can try unravelling them with a needle, but I really don’t know who has the time for that!

Check out this short video to see how I trim my single strand knots. 

Hope this helps Girls. If you have any more advice or experience to share on dealing with SSK’s please comment below.

Love your curls!

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How to: Diana Ross Big Hair Inspired Tutorial

Hi Everyone

Today’s post is all about B-I-G H-A-I-R! Inspired by Diana Ross, the queen of big hair, I often like to experiment to see how big my hair can go. If you’re a looking for a sure-fire way to turn heads, you can’t go wrong with this do. The beauty of this style is that the longer your your hair gets, the bigger the fro will become. It’s also a  great way to work with your frizz if you find that your hair is more frizzy than usual. Instead of fighting it, just embrace it.

All you need to achieve this style is an oil of your choice – I prefer to use my favourite – coconut oil, an afro pick or a wide-toothed comb, your fingers and some hair ties or hair clips.

Let’s begin!

1. Start with some light detangling using only your fingers and work on dry, preferably stretched hair for maximum volume and size.

2. Divide your hair into 3 – 4 manageable sections and reach for your oil.

3. Massage the oil into your hair section by section, smoothing the hair down and finger detangling any knots or tangles you may come across. The oil will allow the hair strands to glide across each other, minimising friction and/or breakage.

4. After working the oil into the hair, take your afro pick or wide toothed comb and start combing the hair from the ends and work your way up to the roots. Comb gently in short single strokes, paying particular attention to the ends of the hair which is more fragile than the rest. Do this section by section as well.

5. Continue combing the hair until all four sections have been completed and voila, instant big Diana Ross hair! Your hair should be double its original size now.

Here are some profile and back shots.

This is where I got carried away with the pictures. I’m just so in love with this style!

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Let me know if you ever rock your hair this big and  how you go about achieving it.

Love your curls,

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Achieving 2nd, 3rd and 4th day hair

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How to maintain a curly hair style for more than just one day

For some curly girls achieving 2nd day hair can seem like a rather elusive, pie-in-the-sky idea. With dryness and loss of curl definition coming into play, the mere thought of trying to maintain that lovely naturally curly hairstyle  for days on end can seem rather futile.

However the reason to consider maintaining a style for more than just one day means that you can save resources on the days after you’ve created  the style in the following ways:

1.Spending less time styling and manipulating your hair, which means you can get out the door sooner, and

2.Using less product and ultimately money by not having to style your hair from scratch everyday.

There are various ways that you can preserve your hairstyle for days, but here I’ve broken down the method I use most of the time on my long hair into a 4 step process.

Start with well moisturised hair

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If it’s not moisturised the hair will dry out really quickly by the end of the second day, making the possibility of 3rd and even 4th day hair just a pipe dream. For me this starts with my wash routine. I make sure that I incorporate a deep conditioning session after I’ver cleansed my hair, and after the deep conditioner has been rinsed out I apply a leave-in conditioner and seal in the moisture with coconut oil.

Ensure your hair is dry before you remove your rollers or unravel your twists/braids

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If you’ve decided to set your hair in rollers or in a twist/braid-out, make sure your hair has dried properly before you unravel it. If not, your hair will turn to frizz and those defined curls you were trying to create will be in vain. Obviously ignore this step if you’ve opted for a wash and go.

Prep your hair properly at night

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To make sure your curls will last for days, it’s important that you don’t crush your curls while sleeping on them. So the way do it is by piling all my hair on top of my head and making a ponytail as high as I can. This is also known as the ‘pineapple’. Then I take my silk scarf and tie it around my head to protect my hairline all around. I also sleep on a silk-lined pillowcase so that the curls sticking out of the ponytail always lie on silk and not cotton, which will rob my strands of moisture.

How to take your hair down the next morning

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Simply remove the scarf and take your hair out of the hair tie. At this moment the hair will probably be sticking up towards the ceiling – don’t worry, that’s normal. All you have to do now is gently pull your hair down, shake your head from side to side, fluff and pull your hair to where you want it to lay.

Usually if I’m on 2nd day hair I only smooth over a bit of coconut oil for shine and to calm some of the frizzies, but once it gets to the 3rd or 4th day, I might scrunch in a bit of leave-in conditioner on my ends before I apply coconut oil, to boost the moisture level. Of course you can spritz with water, the simplest and cheapest way to moisturise, but then you risk your hair shrinking up. It’s really up to you.

As the days go on your hair will stretch out due to the ‘pineappling’ method, giving you more length. It will also become bigger and a little frizzier as that’s just something our natural hair does, however I do think most naturals love big hair, and personally I don’t mind a bit of frizz as it looks more natural. One of the main things to keep in mind though is to keep your hair moisturised. Dry curls won’t ever result in 2nd day hair, never mind a 3rd or 4th day.

Happy hair styling and remember to love your curls!

I originally wrote this article for the South African natural hair blog Good Hair Diaries. Please check it out for more great information and advice. 

Results from South Africa and England Natural Hair Product Haul post and a huge Thank You

Product Haul Post Results

Hi Lovelies

I’m just stopping by quickly to let you know that I’ve tallied up the results from my South Africa and England Product Haul post. Based on votes received the Camille Rose Naturals line and the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque will be awarded reviews. With a tie at two votes each, I plan to review them in alphabetical order, so look out for the Camille Rose post in the next week or so. Shea Moisture will follow soon after that.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated by voting as well as a big thank you to every single one of you who just popped onto my site out of interest over the last week. The product haul post garnered so much interest, which has me wondering is it because of the product information or the mini-video? I do appreciate the feedback so be sure to let me know what type of post tickles your fancy most on my blog and what type you’d like to see more of.

Have a fabulous Tuesday and as always love your curls!

xxx

Huge South Africa and England Natural Hair Product Haul {incl. BONUS VIDEO}

Hello Lovely Readers

I wanted to liven this post up a little bit and make things more fun and interactive, so please watch the intro video below for instructions and read the rest of the post for more…

I hope you enjoyed my little video! Here we go with the actual haul.

Camille Rose Naturals

If there is one brand I have been desperate to get my hands on it’s the Camille Rose Naturals line, mostly for their styling products. Since it was impossible for me to decide on only one, I purchased the Curl Love Moisture Milk, the Almond Jai Twisting Butter and the Curlaide Moisture Butter. Of all the products, I’ll be honest and say I’m most excited to try this range.

Shea Moisture 

It seems that you just can’t go wrong with the Shea Moisture range. Since I’ve heard really amazing things about the raw shea butter Deep Treatment Masque I had to include it in my haul. I love that it contains sea kelp and argan oil, and because I haven’t had much success with argan oil on its own (not sure if it’s too light for my hair) I’m looking forward to using it incorporated into a hair masque.

I also purchased the coconut and hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, which I am definitely planning a review on fairly soon.

Jane Carter Solution

Right, so here’s a natural hair care range that I would love to try out in its entirety at some point. And seeing as I’ve recently started experimenting with setting my hair in rollers, I thought the Wrap & Roll mousse would be a good starting point.

Beautiful Textures

Beautiful Textures is one of the cheaper natural hair care brands I’ve come across. I literally only paid £3.99 for this 425g container of Curl Control Defining Pudding. Trust me, there’s loads of product in there, and since I don’t use stylers such as defining puddings for hold that often it’s going to last me a really long time.

ApHogee and Kinky Curly 

The ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor and Kinky-Curly Knot Today Detangler/Leave-in I bought more as ‘must-have’ products as opposed to the ones above which I consider ‘luxury’ products. The reason is that as my hair is getting longer I need to do more to keep it strong and healthy.

Since the ends of my hair have been with me for a long time I really need to invest more love and care into them as they are more fragile than the rest of the hair.  I believe the ApHogee conditioner will provide that protein-oomph my hair is craving. In terms of the Knot Today Detangler, I need all the help I can get as detangling my longer hair can sometimes turn into bit of a mission if the knots and tangles are really bad.

Included in my purchases was the As I Am range which I wrote about in this post. In addition I have already done a review on the Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner which you can read over here.

So comment below and let me know which product you’d like a review on! The product that receives the most requests will be the one I review first, and after that I’ll review the runner-up. Requests are open for a week, so after Monday 13 October the request ‘line’ will be closed.

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Thank you for your support everyone and as always, love your curls!

xxx

The many faces of naturally curly hair

Curly hair comes in many different types: large curls, coily curls, kinky curls,  wavy curls, small ringlets and more. It’s a hair type that’s often been admired and envied,  but also misunderstood, hated and discriminated against. Women of all races can have curly locks and depending on how you’ve been brought up to view it, combined with your exposure to it, will affect your attitude towards curls.

In recent years curls have also become known as ‘natural’ hair, in general referring to a hair texture that has  not been altered through the use of chemicals such as straightening, relaxing or perming. More specifically, it refers to mostly black African women, women of African descent as well as those of mixed race who choose to wear their hair free from chemicals, just as it grows from their scalp.

I am one of these women. For the longest time I just didn’t know how to care for my hair properly, but once  I did the necessary research, it was like a light bulb had gone on in my head, and suddenly I was in love with my coils.

I honestly want this so much for other women too.

My biggest wish for women everywhere is that they feel comfortable enough to wear their hair in their natural state in all areas of life, be it at work, in their homes, at play, and in their places worship. Coupled with that is my wish that the notion of natural hair being unkempt or unprofessional, be eradicated. There are many reasons, based on certain events of the past, why straight hair was, and to a large degree still is, seen as the ultimate, even if that meant burning your scalp and damaging your hair with harmful chemicals.

Yes it’s true that mainstream media mostly celebrates straight hair, so I honestly believe that it’s up to us curly girls who have already come to embrace our natural hair to share the love with those who are still struggling. It’s up to us as mothers, sisters, aunts and friends to educate our children that it’s ok to be yourself and that you don’t have to look a certain way to fit in.

The same goes for the type of curl you have as there are so many different types. Just look at the collage I put together for this piece. The women in it are all gorgeous and are all rocking their unique curl pattern, from kinky curly to wavy. So why all the hair envy that I’ve been reading about so much? Even if you have the same curl pattern as someone else, other factors might still make your hair different e.g. density, individual strand width, porosity etc. Everyone deals with some type of ‘self’ issue at some point in their life, so it’s a beautiful thing when you can reach the point of loving yourself including your natural hair, frizz and all!

On Eleanor J’adore there is no discrimination no matter your race, nationality, background, religion, gender or hair type and I intend to keep things that way. Remember that old saying, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” So if you have a natural hair story to tell, I want to hear about it and share it with my readers.

Let’s encourage each other to embrace our natural hair  whether it be coily, kinky, curly, wavy or straight for that matter. Because then it couldn’t be any easier to love your hair.

xxx

All images, except for the one in the middle, via Pinterest