In this article, you will find (i) a complete guide on hair split ends and (ii) the top 15 tips on “how to prevent split ends.”
The oldest part of the hair shaft, at the end of your hair, can weaken and lose its protective layer. This makes the hair vulnerable to damage from daily wear and tear. The hair ends may split, exposing the inner cortex. (Source)
Anyone can suffer from hair split ends regardless of hair type or texture.
Causes Of Split Ends?
They can occur due to dryness, chemical irritation, or heat damage. The most common factors leading to hair split ends include:
(ii) Long hair that has not been trimmed
(iii) Chemical processing, such as coloring and perming
(iv) Forcefully brushing or combing hair
(v) Using abrasive hair ties, brushes made of firm, inflexible fibers
(vi) Overheating the hair from a hair dryer, curler, or straightener
(vii) Heat treatments
(viii) Excessive washing
How To Prevent Hair Split Ends Naturally – 15 Top Ways
Split ends are a common problem. Unfortunately, you can’t mend split ends once they are frayed. Thus if the ends of your hair are damaged or frayed, the only way to fix them is to trim them for a fresh restart. Yes, you can conceal them. That’s why the best solution is to prevent them from occurring.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep your hair healthy, looking its best, and free of split ends. Although you may not be able to avoid split ends altogether, you may be able to limit how often they develop.
Let’s look at the best ways and techniques that can help prevent split ends.
Haircut with hot scissors
Some hair experts claim that getting a haircut with hot scissors is an effective way to fix split ends without sacrificing the length. The hot scissors use high heat to seal your hair cuticle and treat split ends. Whereas without the heat from the scissors, the cuticle remains open. Hot scissors (with temperatures up to 310º F) help seal the hair shaft’s end. This helps reduce damage and allows the hair to retain moisture better.
Did you know the longer the hair, the more venerable it is to split ends? This explains why it is essential to keep up with your regular trims. Irrespective of your hair’s length, get your hair trimmed every six to eight weeks to maintain your hair ends as healthy as possible. The longer you wait to cut your hair, the farther up the hair shaft will split, ultimately making your hair shorter than you started.
Tip: A simple haircut can sometimes cut off the split ends to help healthy hair growth.
Overwashing dries out and also weakens hair. The hair is in its most fragile state when it is wet. So the more often you shampoo your hair, the more time your hair spends in this fragile state. This dramatically increases the chances of breakage, which causes split ends.
Use argan oil products
Argan oil is liquid gold in hair care. It’s an excellent hair elixir. So, use hair products containing argan oil – whether a deep hair conditioner for applying to wet hair or a shine serum for post-styling. Argan oil provides weightless hydration. Unlike other oils (like olive or coconut), the argan oil’s molecules are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft. What your hair gets is instant moisture that helps conceals split ends.
Avoid hot showers to prevent split ends
You might get a cozy feeling with hot showers. But super-hot water neither helps the hair cuticles nor prevents split end-causing build-up. Use lukewarm or the coldest water you can comfortably tolerate when showering. Hot water damages your hair because the hair cuticle swells, making it more venerable to split. Cold water closes the cuticle, sealing the outer layer of the hair.
Avoid blow-drying hair ends
The more heat is applied to hair ends, the more they’ll be exposed to wear and tear. So, it makes sense to point the dryer on the upper lengths of the hair and near the roots than the ends. Also, there’s no need to dry your hair thoroughly with the blow dryer. Instead, consider air-drying some of it. This will save you from more damage in the long run.
A hairdryer that limits heat exposure is recommended for damage-prone hair ends.
Be gentle after washing your hair
Wet hair is prone to damage, breakage, and split ends. So it’s necessary to care for your hair gently after shampooing.
Some people rub their hair dry with a towel. But this can damage hair strands. Frequent rubbing can damage hair cuticles, causing split ends or frizziness.
Instead of rubbing hair, blot it dry with a towel to avoid damage and breakage.
Don’t use terry towels. Instead, use microfiber towels. They are more effective in drying the hair after a shower and have the added advantage of being more gentle. After showering, use a microfiber towel to wrap and allow the towel to absorb the excess moisture. You can also gently pat your hair with a towel if necessary.
Note: If you don’t have a microfiber towel, wrap your hair in a t-shirt. This will help protect your hair when drying.
Tip: Don’t brush your hair when wet because it can cause breakage.
Detangle your hair
It’s difficult to comb or brush tangled hair, whether wet or dry. So always try to detangle hair before drying, brushing, or styling.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests using a wide-tooth comb to detangle hair. The wider tooth comb is more delicate on strands than a brush. Let the comb glide through your hair without causing breakage or damaging the hair ends.
Take extra care when brushing your hair
Hair is fragile. Thus you must treat it gently to prevent damage or breakage and keep it healthy. We suggest first detangling your hair and then using a brush. If your brush meets resistance, stop brushing and move the brush further down the strand.
Use metal-free hair accessories
Whether you don a ponytail, topknot, or half-up half-down style, the accessories you put in your hair can cause damage, such as the metal ones. So, use hair accessories that don’t have metal because the metal pieces can pull and break your hair, leading to split ends and uneven strands. Of course, you’ll have to use something that still offers a good hold for your style.
Don’t Overheat Your Tools
Don’t use heating appliances such as straighteners or hair styling tools at their highest setting. So, consider turning down the heat setting by a notch (or two). Using overheated styling appliances on your locks can damage your hair, causing split ends. Instead, use low or medium settings, and limit the use of hot tools on the vulnerable parts of your hair, like the ends.
If you rely heavily on hot devices, apply heat-protectant before blow-drying or using any heated styling tool to protect your hair from heat.
Hydrate your hair
Keep your tresses moisturized to prevent split ends. Dryness weakens strands, especially the ends, which can damage hair and cause split ends.
Consider using a weekly hair mask to deep condition dry locks (especially hair ends) to add moisture to your hair. A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment, which, while infusing moisture into your hair, fights off dryness and frizz and reduces the risk of hair damage, leading to softer, shinier hair.
The ingredients in a hair mask are generally more concentrated than those in an instant conditioner. Also, a mask stays on your hair for longer — anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours or even overnight.
Increase time between hair treatments
Chemical treatments such as perming or coloring your tresses can damage hair, particularly if you get more than one treatment at a time.
Here are some tips to reduce the risks of hair damage, split ends, and breakage:
(i) Keeping more time between treatments. If possible, try to have 8 to 10 weeks between touch-up treatments.
(ii) Go for only one type of chemical treatment at a time. If you wish more than one type of treatment, the AAD recommends perming your hair first. If you also want to color your mane, wait two weeks before getting it done.
(iii) Use a hair mask once per week or use instant conditioner every time you wash your hair.
Sleep on a silk pillowcase
You need to protect your hair at night too. Instead of sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase. This will reduce friction and let your hair glide over the pillow while turning during sleep, thus avoiding split ends. Less friction between the pillowcase and your tresses will help prevent hair damage and breakage.
How to conceal hair split ends?
Even after taking the above preventive measures to prevent split ends, if they still occur, you can make them less noticeable. One option is to apply almond oil, coconut oil, or another type of moisturizer to the hair ends. They will smooth your hair and also add shine, which will help conceal split ends.
Another option is to choose hairstyles that hide your ends. You can try styling your hair in a low or high bun or wearing hair extensions.
Keep in mind that split ends can progress and split up the hair shaft. So you’ll have to trim or cut off the damaged hair to prevent further damage.