The way to get rid of the split ends of your hair is to chop them off outrightly. This hair has been with you for the longest of times. It has been exposed to the weather, to hair care treatments, to your tumbles on the bed, at the beach; it’s been everywhere with you. It is the oldest part of your hair and the most vulnerable.
So despite your hair care routine, this aged hair is going to split at one point or the other. Now, in this article, we explore all you need to know. What causes these split ends, how they can be managed, and most importantly, how to prevent them. Yes, the best you can do for split ends is prevent their occurrence as much as possible.
What does Split Ends Mean?
We wear our hair daily; it is not exempted from any of the activities. Over time, this daily exposure takes a toll on the hair and wears out its cuticle, exposing the inner cortex. This exposure damages the hair shaft and results in split ends (1). If not managed appropriately, the split ends lead to continuous splits, shortening the hair length – visibly seen as hair breakage. Hair splits may occur in a variety of ways.
Types of Split Ends
The Basic Split: This is an early stage of the splitting process. Here the inner cortex is not fully exposed yet, the hair shaft is still held together by the cuticle, but the hair is already wearing into large sections.
The Mini Split: These are smaller split ends.
Fork in the Road: Very significant visible splitting of the hair. Here the hair splits all the way to the hair shaft.
The Tree: Here, one side of the hair fiber has been exposed to more damage than the other. Hence there are multiple branches of hair separation on the damaged side.
The Candle: Here, the hair cuticle has completely disappeared, the hair protection is gone, and the hair is thin at the end. However, the shaft is still intact; the splitting may commence at any time.
The Knot: Here, the hair curls into itself and tangles in a knot (2).
What Causes Split Ends?
Yes, split ends are part of the life cycle of hair growth, but some factors may trigger a regular occurrence. Some of the most common factors include –
1. Hairstyles – Regular wearing of ponytails or any other hairstyles that require a firm grip on the hair.
2. Hair Processing – Chemical processing treatments including coloring, dyes, and perming.
3. Heat Treatments – Heat tools such as straighteners, curlers, and hairdryers expose the hair to further damage.
4. Healthy Diet and Hydration – Supplying your body with the necessary nutrients and water keeps it nourished and hydrated. If your body is healthy, your hair will be healthy too.
5. Environmental Factors – Weather conditions including the cold, the wind, sun, humid climate, dry climate cause various forms of damage to the hair.
6. Friction – The fabrics and materials used in producing various hair coverings may cause damage to the hair. This also includes bed covers, pillowcases, and every piece of fabric we lay our head on (3).
7. Physical Manipulation – Combing, brushing, handling, detangling, and hairstyling processes gradually wear out the hair cuticle.
Why Do We Need To Get Rid of Split Ends?
- Split ends are progressive – Once it starts, it does not stop halfway; it goes all the way to the hair shaft and completely damages the entire hair strand (4).
- Hair with split ends gets into a lot of tangles – The hair does not have the smooth, protective covering of the cuticle anymore. So they catch at each other and snag, trapping even the healthy hair ends in their tangles.
- Split ends are damaged and unhealthy hair.
- Split ends prevent hair length retention – The hair keeps splitting, shedding, and breaking off.
- If you do not trim them off, it gets all over your hair.
How to Conceal Split Ends
Before you find your way to the salon or get around sitting down to trim out your split ends carefully, you may need to make the damage less noticeable. Probably for a meeting or to run some errands. Now, this is temporary; it does not mean you should keep the concealed hair. However, your hair is splitting because it’s damaged, and you need to take off the damaged ends (5).
- Use Protective Hairstyles – Hairstyles that hide split ends such as hair extensions, wearing hair buns – high or low buns (6).
- Use of Hair Products – Hair products that contain oils such as coconut oil, almond oil. It adds shine and smoothens the hair.
- Use of Hair Masks – Hair masks deeply condition your hair, restore hair moisture, and strengthen hair shafts. As a result, they improve overall hair appearance.
You can make these conditioning masks by yourself using
- Sweet Almond Oils – Hydrates the hair (7)
- Panthenol – From pantothenic acid – Vitamin B5. It strengthens hair and retains hair moisture (8)
- Argan Oil – Deeply moisturizes and adds shine to hair.
20 Ways to Prevent Split Ends
1. Trim Your Hair Regularly – Although you want to grow your hair to its possible maximum length, periodic trimming is necessary to prevent split ends. For example, dusting your hair every 8 to 10 weeks or trimming the hair every 4 months will save your hair from split ends. In addition, you will need to use sharp scissors or hair shears that leave a clean-cut. This ensures the new hair ends do not continue the fraying and splitting.
2. Avoid Washing Your Hair Daily – Even when you do, consider using more conditioner and less shampoo.
3. Apply Leave-in Conditioner – Always use a conditioner after shampooing; this could also be a leave-in conditioner (9).
4. Use Appropriate Brushes and Combs – Use wide-toothed combs for thick curly hair and narrow-toothed comb for thin hair. When detangling your hair, use only a wide-tooth comb.
5. Reduce Hair Color Treatments – Avoid dyes and hair bleaches as much as possible. When the roots grow out, get root touch-up only. Try to avoid re-dyeing your entire hair. The chemicals in these products may weaken the hair cuticle.
6. Reduce Hair Heat Treatment – Heat treatment denatures the hair protein keratin. This denaturing weakens the hair shaft and exposes it to possible split ends. These treatments include hot hair drying, straightening, steam treatment, curling, and styling processes. Try reducing the frequency of heat use on your hair, and also, even when used, keep them at a minimal temperature.
7. Take Hair Supplements -If required, consider including Biotin and Folic Acid supplements.
8. Use Hair Masks Regularly – Hair masks deeply condition your hair and reduce hair dryness. Leaving a hair mask in your hair for 20 to 30 minutes can greatly improve your hair health. It moisturizes your hair and keeps it damage-free. You can make yours using ingredients such as aloe vera, bananas, honey, coconut oil, and olive oil. They leave your hair softer and with great shine (10).
9. Avoid Unfriendly Hair Accessories – Hair accessories such as tight elastic bands may damage the hair.
10. Avoid Picking at Your Split Hair Ends – Take your hands off completely from your split ends. Every form of trimming should be done by the hairstylist or by yourself – only using sharp scissors or hair shears.
11. Avoid Tough Hair Manipulation – Be gentle when you touch your hair – every form of touch. This includes washing, brushing, detangling, and styling. Manipulating your hair gently drastically reduces the development of split ends.
12. Avoid Frequent Touching and Coming – Reduce how often you touch your hair—regular combing and brushing of your hair do more damage than good. Also, use a wide comb for all forms of hair detangling. Comb and brush your hair gently. If you notice any tangling, gently untangle before you continue (11).
13. Stay Hydrated – Drink a lot of water. It hydrates your body from the inside. And this has a great effect on hair growth.
Putting oil on hair or leaving it in hair while clamping down with heat may cook it rather than style it. Cooked hair is split hair. Make sure to use heat protection products that shield your hair strands from the hot temperature.
14. Apply Hair Oil – Shampooing the hair regularly may strip the hair of its natural oil. This makes this hair dry, brittle, and susceptible to split ends. Hair oil creates a strong natural barrier that protects and lubricates the hair shaft, preventing it from splitting. Use nutrient-rich oil such as argan oil, egg oil, castor oil, almond oil, or olive oil. You can oil your hair twice a week (12).
15. Have a Healthy Diet – Having a healthy diet that contains the recommended amount of vitamins, proteins, and minerals ensures your body is healthy enough to produce healthy hair. They keep the hair whole and shiny. Foods such as nuts, seeds, leafy green, fish, and avocado.
16. Keep Your Hair Protected While Sleeping – Ensure you have your hair in a braid or bun before going to bed to prevent tangles and breakage. Also, using a satin bonnet or sleep cap and a satin pillowcase keeps the hair protected.
17. Avoid Washing Your Hair in Clumps – When washing your hair, do not make a pile at the top of your hair. Scrubbing and rubbing that pile may ruin their ends. Rather, apply the shampoo to your scalp and let it run down your hair.
18. Avoid Friction When Drying Your Hair With a Towel – Rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel may cause friction. Rather, wrap your hair gently with a cotton T-shirt or a soft and absorbent towel to remove excess water (13).
19. Protect Your Hair From Sun Exposure – The UV rays from the sun may damage your hair. Protect your hair underneath a hat or scarf.
20. Protect Your Hair Before Swimming – Before you get in the pool, lake, or any other water body, use appropriate hair protection. This may be a swimming moisturizer product, a leave-in conditioner, or oil; you may also wear your swim cap. This protects your hair from the absorption of harmful chemicals. Also, ensure to rinse your hair as soon as possible after the swim.
Split ends are a part of the natural hair life cycle. They happen to every hair and have a great impact on the appearance of the hair. The only way to get rid of split ends is by trimming off the hair. As much as you may have hair length goals to achieve, keeping the split hair will not help that. The hair is already damaged and leaving it only progresses the split ends and hair breakage. Although split ends occur naturally as part of the hair cycle, it can be managed. The prevention of the split ends is key. In this article, we have shared preventive tips to ensure split ends are kept off and your hair remains healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can hair products fix split ends?
No, you may only use hair products to conceal split ends. However, this should be only temporary. Split ends are progressive, it splits continuously until it gets to the hair shaft and damages your hair. So while your hair may be sealed outwardly, the split goes on within. The only way to fix split ends is to trim them off.
Do split ends stop your hair growth?
Split ends lead to hair breakage, and this shortens hair length, but it does not stop your hair growth. Rather your hair, splits, sheds and breaks at a faster rate than it takes your scalp to produce new hair length.
How often should you cut split ends?
You may have your hair dusted every 8 to 10 weeks. Dusting is very minimal trimming. However, you may have a hair trim every 4 months. Whatever option you opt for, ensure you use sharp scissors or hair shear for clean cuts. When the hair cut is not clean, your hair may continue fraying from the new hair ends.
- “Cuticle (hair)” – wikipedia.org
- “What Your Kind of Split Ends Say About You” – marieclaire.com
- “How to Conceal or Get Rid of Split Ends” – healthline.com
- “Split Ends: Treatment and Advice” – schwarzkopf.com
- “How to get rid of split ends” – healthline.com
- “HOW TO STOP DAMAGING YOUR HAIR” – aad.org
- “Essential Oils for Your Hair” – webmd.com
- “Panthenol” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “How Often You Should Wash Your Hair, According to Science” – sciencealert.com
- “Try These DIY Hair Masks to Treat Dry, Brittle Strands” – shape.com
- “How to Remove and Prevent Split Ends” – wikihow.com
- “How to prevent split ends” – dove.com
- “5 Mistakes You’re Making When You Air-Dry Your Hair” – allure.com