I swear single strand knots are created by the devil himself to piss me off when I'm trying to rake through this bush. They are the one thing I absolutely hate about being natural. While there is absolutely no way to completely eliminate single strand knots (unless you permanently straighten you hair) there are a few tricks to help you prevent them.
So,what are single strand knots? They are knots that form on the end of your individual strand, they can also form farther up the hair shaft. Knots are formed when your hair shrinks up and wraps around itself. Sometimes knots can form during the detangling process, this happens when shed hairs are not released instead they wrap around the ends of your hair.
1.Detangle Before you Wash
I generally detangle my hair while its dry, I saturate my hair with coconut oil to soften it up. I find that getting rid of most of the shed hairs before I wash helps prevent them from wrapping around the ends of my hair when I detangle in the shower. I'm usually not able to detangle during the cleansing process because cleansers don't have enough slip for my liking .
2. Wash Your Hair in Sections
It never fails no matter how much dry detangling I do prior to washing I will get loads of knots and tangles if I wash my hair loose. I have 4c hair and 90 % shrinkage so once that water hits my hair its instant shrinkage and instant tangles which leads to single strand knots. My hair is super thick and about medium length so i wash my hair in about ten twists which works great for me. Washing my hair loose is not an option.
3. Finger Detangle
For me at least finger detangle helps me release more shed hairs than combing, its a lot easier and a lot less painful. Using my fingers while I dry detangle helps me to feel the tangles and undo them verses combing or brushing which might cause the hair to break off where its tangled. While in the shower, after deep conditioning I hold my hair under the water stream which loosens up the tangles and make it easier for me to rake my fingers through my hair.
4. Moisturize your Hair
I recommend deep conditioning after every wash even if you use a cleansing conditioner. This helps to replenish some of the moisture you lose during the cleansing process. Follow up with your favorite leave in, moisturizer, oil etc. Also use ph balanced products, this helps to close the cuticles and retain moisture it also prevents breakage. I tend to notice that my hair forms more knots when it is dry, the strands don't wrap around themselves when my hair is properly lubricated, because there is less friction.
5. Wear your hair stretched.
Tangles form when your hair gets the opportunity to shrink and wrap around itself. So for me styles like wash and gos are a big no no. I have 4c hair so a wash and go on my hair is an instant shrunken fro and trillions of knots. (no exaggeration lol) I tend to wear a lot of protective styles. My favorite are flat twists, and two strand twists. When twisting my hair I don't twist all the way to the ends, I stop at least a quarter of the way from the ends and I wrap it around my finger to form a coil. Its easier to remove the twists when you coil the ends. if you do twist all the way down you risk the chance of your ends becoming tangled and possibly breaking off during the removal process. Twist-outs, braid-outs, and blow-drying your hair also works great at stretching as well.
I haven't completely rid myself of single strand knots but by taking all the steps above I've reduced my likelihood of getting them by about 95%.
Hope this helps: