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Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

Helpful Solutions For Curly Hair Split Ends

May 26, 2023


Verna Meachum

Split ends

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Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by Verna Meachum

We’ve all faced split ends at one point or another, and while it’s common for hair to get split ends, it’s more noticeable in curly hair.

If you have curly hair, you’ve probably used a couple of hair products to keep those curls looking gorgeous or even used heat to style them, and over time this results in damage and split ends.

But how do you combat split ends and get those curls looking bouncy and vibrant again?

Helpful solutions for curly hair split ends include getting your hair cut, avoiding hair dryers and styling tools that use heat, minimizing chemicals and dyes, and keeping your hair moisturized. Preventing split ends is the best solution for getting rid of split ends permanently.

When you keep getting split ends, it may seem like there’s 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 prevent them in the future.

Types Of Split Ends In Curly Hair

Image of 7 types of hair split ends.

The scientific name for split ends is “trichoptilosis” or “schizotrichia,” and it is due to fraying and splitting of the hair fiber either at the end or further up the hair strand.

Anyone with hair will experience split ends at some point in their lives but in varying degrees, depending on genetics and how you look after your hair.

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.

Vector illustration of the hair shaft.
Hair structure – vector illustration

On a microscopic scale, a split end is 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.

When you have split ends, the protective outer layer of the hair strand (or cuticle) breaks off the hair shaft, leaving the hair looking frizzy and unruly.

Types Of Hair Split Ends

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.

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 specific measures to help control them.

Trichorrhexis Nodosa

A minor break in the shaft called “trichorrhexis 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 In Curly Hair?

Microscopic image of a hair split end.

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.

Curls are pretty fragile and can only take on so much stress before breakage, and when you get split ends in your curls, you also get the dreaded frizziness.

Split ends can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Excessive brushing or combing.
  • Rough drying hair with a cotton towel.
  • Using hair products containing too much drying alcohol, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals.
  • Wearing hair in tight braids, twists, hair extensions, or hair rollers.
  • Friction from sleeping on cotton pillowcases.
  • 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 more prone to hair split ends than others.
  • Damage to your hair follicles is known as hygral fatigue
  • Loss of moisture and dehydration.
  • Brushing dry curls.

How To Tell If Your Curly Hair Has Split Ends?

Image of hair with split ends under the microscope 100x.
Image of hair with split ends under the microscope 100x.

The best way to determine if you have split ends is to look at your hair in natural light. Then, pay close attention to the ends of your hair, as this is where you’ll most likely notice any split ends.

Another way you could check for split ends is by running your fingers through your hair to feel for any roughness.

When inspecting your hair for split ends, you may notice unevenness, hairs that look thinner and shorter than other hairs, and single strands of hair that look split.

The most likely type of split end you’ll see is the y-split; this will be at the ends of your hair.

If you have split ends, trimming them off is the best way to remove them and keep your hair healthy.

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 In Curly Hair

Split ends are the worst and are a pain to deal with. Getting rid of split ends takes a lot of work and lots of love, but with the right products and hair care routine, you can say goodbye to split ends and say hello to healthy, bouncy curls.

Tips on preventing split ends:

  • Get regular trims!
  • Be careful about how you style your curly hair, and avoid heat-styling tools.
  • Avoid using products with too much 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.
  • Always use sharp hair-cutting shears to trim split ends
  • Reducing chemical use on the hair will help lessen split ends. The more cuticle damage you have, the more split ends.
  • Deep condition your hair to help add moisture and strength
  • Protein treatments are great for split-end prevention but only mend damaged cuticles and strengthen your hair.
  • 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 and get the best type of brush for your curls.
  • Wash your hair only as often as it needs to be washed; avoid washing it daily.
  • Stick to a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure you are getting a good amount of 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, creating split ends in your hair.

When Is It Best To Cut Your Hair, When It’s Dry Or Wet?

It’s best to cut your hair when it is 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 split ends trimmed every four to six weeks.

Can You Repair the 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 result from chemical damage, then it’s bad. If they result from normal wear and tear, it’s not as bad, and you just need a good trim to make your hair look healthy again.

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 looking after our hair. Prevention is key when it comes to split ends.

By following these hair care tips, you can help keep your hair healthy and say goodbye to split ends. Remember, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to your hair.

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