How to Get Rid of Split Ends
Split ends are something every girl has dealt with from time to time. First, it’s just a flyaway or two, nothing a quick snip of the scissors or some hair oil won’t fix. Then, before you know it, your neglected trips to the salon catch up to you and you’re stuck dealing with dry, scraggly ends and a ton of frizz.
For some, split ends are a frequent problem, while others can maintain their strong, healthy hair with barely any effort involved. Although genetics do play a roll in your hair’s ability to grow without breakage, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for split ends. We are here to tell you everything you need to know about why you get split ends and how to prevent them below.
What are split ends?
The easiest way to put it, split ends happen when a single strand of hair splits into two. If you are the kind of person who habitually messes with their split ends and pulls them apart without even realizing, chances are you’re familiar with the issue. But what are split ends, really? And what if you don’t treat them?
In scientific terms, split ends occur due to the splitting or fraying of the hair shaft. Even though we only recognize our split ends at the end of our locks, they can actually occur anywhere on the hair strand itself.
Having some split ends isn’t something you need to go crazy worrying about, but if you are noticing them in large amounts, you should be more concerned and taking the proper precautions to take care of them. Having a bunch of split ends indicates that your hair is damaged, dry, and unhealthy overall. If you neglect proper care, the problem can escalate quickly, resulting in severe hair breakage and brittleness overall. So if you have never actually assessed your hair close up to see if there is any splintering happening, but you can’t seem to grow your hair past a certain length, split ends could be your issue.
What causes split ends?
- Daily habits that are damaging your hair
While genetics do play a role in the strength of your hair, there are numerous factors that cause split ends to occur. Everyday stressors that contribute to split ends include taking a hot shower, putting your hair up in a towel to dry, brushing out tangled hair, and sleeping with your hair tied back. For most, these are normal activities they do for their hair care daily. But it is actually causing damage to your hair without you even realizing it.
- Heating tools
Frequently using heating tools on your hair like hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons have a huge impact on your hair health as they strip your hair of moisture, which makes your hair more delicate and susceptible to split ends.
- Chemical treatments
Going to the salon and getting chemical straightening treatments or perms, along with dying and bleaching your hair, all weaken the integrity of your precious locks, which increases the likelihood for you to get split ends.
- Using the wrong hair products
Not a lot of people realize how important choosing your hair products is for the health of your hair. If you are buying cheap, conventional hair brands, you are not going to get healthy, silk looking hair. Those hair products have drying agents and alcohols that strip your hair, which increases dryness and hair breakage overall. Also, if you are one to pick at your split ends or neglect haircuts at the salon, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
- Climate and weather
Unfortunately, there are just some factors to split ends that are out of our control. Environmental aggressors such as sun exposure or lack of humidity can lead to dry hair and ultimately, split ends.
- Bad nutrition
The expression “you are what you eat” is something that stands true when it comes to your hair health. A lack of nutrients in your diet, vitamin deficiencies, and hormones all play a role in your hair’s health.
How do I get rid of split ends?
- Trim them off
Sadly, you can’t exactly get rid of split ends after they happen. The only real cure is to trim them off, which is why being proactive and preventing them in the first place is so crucial. You might think it is counterintuitive but getting regular trims will actually help your hair to grow faster and stronger. This is due to the fact that if the split ends aren’t cut off, the strand of hair will just continue breaking higher and higher, and you will end up with frizzier hair as a result. While there are smoothing hair products you can use to help hydrate your hair and minimize the appearance of your split ends, regular trims are the only real cure.
- Fake it ‘till you make it
While preventing split ends is overall the best approach, we understand that getting your hair to its full, healthy potential can be a long journey, especially if you are prone to split ends and breakage. So we have found some insider tips that will help you fake it, ‘till you make it.
Try using leave-in conditioner before brushing your hair out after the shower. Then, use a hair oil or serum (natural is always best), concentrating it only on the middle and ends of your hair to help hydrate the hair and smooth down the cuticle. Once your hair is completely dry, use a little bit more of that hair oil/serum on the ends for that sleek, more polished look. To address hair breakage around your hairline and closer to your scalp, try using a small amount of hairspray or smoothing pomade on a toothbrush to get rid of any unwanted flyaways.
How to prevent split ends
Whether or not you were blessed with healthy, resilient hair, there are a number of things you can do to prevent split ends. It’s important to know that split ends and dryness go hand in hand, so keeping your hair hydrated is key.
- Nourish your hair from the inside out
The first tip when it comes to growing shiny, long, strong hair, is nourishing yourself with food. That means eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, while also being proactive by taking supplements if you feel you aren’t getting all the nutrients you need from your diet. Ensuring you are well hydrated is also another key component to strong, healthy hair.
Biotin and folic acid are two nutrients that have been found to improve hair health, length, and thickness. Biotin can be found in brown rice, walnuts, and lentils, and works by metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in a way that strengthens both hair and nails. Folic acid is found in oranges and leafy greens, and helps produce red blood cells, which powers hair growth. There are numerous supplements you can purchase at your local drug store that are specifically biotin and folic acid focused for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
- Get regular trims
An ideal time frame to get a regular trim is every 6 to 8 weeks. Regular trims, as stated above, is the best way to prevent split ends and stop them from getting worse. It goes without saying that if you habitually peal your split ends apart, you should stop immediately and go to the salon for a haircut instead.
Ultimately, it all comes down to keeping your hair nourished and moisturized. We know you can’t avoid split ends entirely, but by following the above tips and practicing caution when handling your hair will certainly minimize your risk.
- Use the right products
Another way to prevent split ends is by washing your hair less frequently and using the right products. For example, we don’t recommend using any clarifying shampoos because they can be hard on the hair, stripping it of necessary oils.
Many conventional hair products are loaded with toxic chemicals, harsh drying agents, and other ingredients like parabens and sulfates which harm your hair. You want to make sure to read the ingredients when shopping for hair products and always opt for natural hair care whenever possible.
Getting products that are specifically for dry, damaged hair is a good option as well. Although higher-quality products are more expensive, you’ll be doing you and your hair a favor by investing in your hair care, and you’ll be saving yourself down the line from having to pay for a costly salon treatment.
- Condition your hair first
If your hair is feeling especially brittle, try the condition-shampoo-condition method. You start off by applying condition to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair before shampooing as this will help protect the hair so it can better lock in moisture. Finish off by conditioning your hair again after shampooing for added shine and softness.
- Try an at-home treatment
To give your hair an extra dose of TLC, try setting aside some time one night a week to do a hair treatment. Research shows that treating hair with oils actually prevents split ends from forming. There are DIY treatments you can look up for damaged hair or you can find one from a brand, just make sure it doesn’t have any bad ingredients in it like we talked about above. We recommend shampooing your hair twice after using the treatment to make sure you get everything out, so your hair doesn’t have a grease film when it dries.
- Avoid coloring your hair
We get it, coloring your hair is something a lot of us enjoy doing. So if you dye or bleach your hair, try to do so less often, or opt for more of a natural coloring technique like balayage or baby lights. Since these styles are lower maintenance, you won’t have to touch up the coloring as often, which all in all will save your hair and your money!
- Use heating protectant
Although styling your hair without heat is the best option, we know that this isn’t always feasible, so make sure to use heat protectant before blow drying, straightening, or curling your hair. It won’t prevent heat damage entirely, but it will help lessen the impact of the heat tool on your hair. Also, try to let your hair air dry as much as possible before styling to avoid having to use multiple heat styling tools.
- Embrace your natural texture
Trying to embrace your hair’s natural texture as much as you can is key to preventing split ends. If you are someone who gets regular perms or Brazilian blowouts, try kicking that habit to the curb. Not only are the chemicals bad for your hair but inhaling those chemicals while getting it done is not good for you either. Consistently using hot tools also causes extreme drying, breakage, and split ends. If you are someone who never embraces their natural hair, try doing it in baby steps. Maybe designate two days a week where you will go without heat on your hair or look up and try heatless wave tutorials that give you that beachy wave, without the heat.
- Turn down the heat
When using heat on your hair, you want to avoid cranking up the temperature on your hot tools. It’s unnecessary and extremely damaging. For blow drying, use the medium or cool heat setting when blowing your hair dry instead of the highest heat setting.
- Be gentle
When handling your hair, its important to be as gentle as possible. For example, try not to brush your hair right after you get out of the shower. When your hair is wet, it is in the most susceptible state for breakage. Instead, you can try using a wide tooth comb while you are in the shower to remove tangles, starting from the bottom and working your way upwards. Also, make sure to be gentle when towel drying your hair and avoid twisting and wringing. If you can forgo the towel completely and use a cotton shirt instead, that’s even better! Even something as simple as over washing your hair can cause it to become dry and brittle. Also, if you are someone who puts their hair back in a ponytail often, you might want to try using scrunchies or a hair clip instead. Elastic hair ties can cause snagging which in turn causes breakage.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Other tips to preventing split ends including sleeping with your hair down and using a silk pillowcase to sleep on. A silk pillowcase has more slip, which prevents your hair from snagging when you toss and turn.
So whether split ends are something you are constantly having to deal with or if you only notice them once in a while, make sure you are taking the proper precautions to prevent and manage split ends. By eating a balanced diet, getting regular trims, using the right products, limiting your heat exposure, avoiding chemical treatments, and trying to be as gentle as possible when handling your hair, you can improve the health of your hair in no time.