Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Verna Meachum
It’s common for hair to have split ends, even if you don’t have curly hair. We all know how annoying that can be. Curly hair is notorious for this problem and it’s not uncommon to see hair that looks like it has been attacked by a lawnmower.
It may seem like there is no way out of the hair split end cycle but, we will be discussing different solutions to help with split ends and provide a plan to help prevent them in the future.
Hair Split Ends; What Are They?
The scientific name for split ends is “trichoptilosis” or “schizotrichia“. Anyone who has hair will experience split ends at some point in their lives.
A hair strand contains three layers. The outside layer, or cuticle, is the tough outer layer that protects the hair from environmental damage. The middle layer, or cortex, is where hair’s color and strength come from. The inner layer, or medulla, is the core of hair and contains blood vessels and nerve endings.
Typically, split ends happen as a result of damage to the hair fiber, which is when hair starts to fray or split, usually at the ends of the hair strand, hence the term, “split ends.”
On a microscopic scale, it’s essentially a rough tear in your strand, similar to what happens when you snap a wooden branch. That’s why your ends seem more frizzy and bushy when you have a lot of cuticle damage.
The protective outer layer of the hair strand (or cuticle) breaks off from the hair shaft and leaves the hair looking frizzy and unruly.
Types of Hair Split Ends
A hair strand split in two on the ends is the most common and is part of the natural process of regular wear and tear that your hair goes through.
Hair split ends are not necessarily just a split in a strand. They might begin as single splits and expand to baby split, y split, triple split, tree, feather, deep, and taper split.
The most common type of split is the ‘y’ split, which occurs as part of the natural wear and tear that your hair undergoes.
It has been said that if left untreated, hair split ends will continue to split up the entire shaft, but that may not always be the case.
The tear can extend up the hair shaft, depending on the angle of the split, but the majority of it breaks off from where it began.
Hair split ends are unavoidable, but we can take certain measures to help control them.
A minor break in the shaft called “trichorrexis nodosa” is another type of split end. It is caused by the hair’s reaction to both physical and chemical trauma.
These are the regions where heat styling, frequent brushing, or use of chemical treatments has caused the hair’s cortex to expand and burst within the shaft.
You may identify this type of split by the noticeable white dots, which are usually seen on the ends of your hair.
What Causes Split Ends?
Curly hair is most vulnerable to split ends because of the way it grows. The curliness causes hair strands to tangle more frequently and that makes it more likely for hair to split.
Split ends can occur for many reasons, including:
-Excessive brushing or combing
-Rough drying hair with a cotton towel
-Using hair products that contain drying alcohol, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals
-Wearing hair in tight braids, twists, hair extensions, or hair rollers
-The environment, such as sun, wind, and pollution
-Not enough conditioning or protein in your hair care routine
-Poor hair nutrition, including a lack of vitamins and amino acids
-Hair that has been damaged from hair coloring, excessive styling with heated tools, chemical treatments, hair treatments, hair bleaching
-Genetics – some people are simply more prone to hair split ends than others
How to Tell if You Have Split Ends
The best way to tell if you have split ends is to take a look at your hair in natural light.
You can also run your fingers through your hair to feel for any roughness.
If you do have split ends, the best way to take care of them is by trimming them off.
If you’re not comfortable with trimming your hair yourself, go to a professional hairstylist and have them do it for you.
How to Prevent Hair Split Ends
Split ends are the worst and they’re a pain to deal with. It makes you want to grab your scissors and chop them all off, but don’t!
Fact, Split ends are unavoidable to some extent, but there are plenty of tips you can try out to reduce the chances of split ends.
-Get regular trims!
-Be careful about how you style your hair and what tools and products you use.
-Avoid using products with drying alcohol or sulfates in them.
-You can pamper and take care of your ends to substantially slow down the process of forming new splits.
-Avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails, as the area of your hair that is in contact with the hair tie can become weak and experiences a lot of cuticle damage
-Improve trimming methods. Make sure the shears you use are sharp as possible. This makes your cuts a lot smoother.
-Reducing heat and chemical use on the hair will help lessen split ends. The more cuticle damage you have, the more split ends.
-Protein treatments are great for split-end prevention. However, the most any product can really do is to mend damaged cuticles. Protein treatment strengthens your cuticles. Stronger hair cuticles will make split ends less likely to occur.
-Use a hair serum or oil before you style your hair to help seal in moisture and add shine.
-Be gentle with your hair and avoid brushing roughly, if possible.
-Wash your hair only as often as it needs to be washed, which may not be every day.
-Use a hair conditioner after you shampoo to help add moisture and strength.
-Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Protein is essential for hair health.
-Drink plenty of water to help keep your hair hydrated.
Do split ends stop hair growth?
No, split ends do not stop hair growth. However, if you have a lot of split ends, it can make your hair look unhealthy and make it harder to grow.
Can a brush cause split ends?
Yes, a brush can cause split ends. If you’re not careful when brushing your hair, you can pull and break the strands, which will create split ends.
Is it better to cut your hair when it’s wet or dry?
It’s better to cut your hair when it’s dry. When your hair is wet, it’s more elastic and fragile.
Are split ends the same as dead ends?
No, split ends are not the same as dead ends. Dead ends indicate that you have reached the end of your hair strand and cannot grow it.
What happens if I don’t trim split ends?
If you don’t trim your split ends, they can work their way to the root of your hair strand.
How often should you get your split ends trimmed?
Try to get your hair trimmed every four to six weeks.
Can you repair split ends?
No, you cannot repair split ends. However, you can prevent them from getting worse by trimming them regularly.
What happens if the split ends reach your scalp?
It will eventually break off, resulting in uneven, thin ends.
Are split ends really that bad?
It depends on the cause of the split ends.
For example, if they are the result of chemical damage, then it’s bad.
If however, they are the result of normal wear and tear, then it’s not bad, you just need a good trim.
Can you cut split ends with regular scissors?
No, you cannot cut split ends with regular scissors. You need to use a good pair of sharp hair cutting shears. Using the wrong scissors can cause more damage to your hair.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Prevention is the best medicine?”
The same is true when it comes to our hair. Prevention is key when it comes to split ends.
By following these tips, you can help keep your hair healthy and free from split ends. Remember, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to your hair.