Split ends are one of the most common hair problems that many individuals face. Almost everybody has them but no one wants them.
What Exactly are Split Ends?
Split ends are technically called trichoptilosis, which happens when the protective cuticle at the end of hair strands is destroyed and split into two or more strands. A variety of causes damage the hair causing this to occur.
Different Types of Split Ends
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Although the splitting of the ends of hair strands seem to happen in just one or two ways, the reality is that there are 16 types split ends. Here they are:
- Traditional Split– The hair strand forms a “Y” shape as it splits in two.
- Baby Split– The hair shaft has not separated yet. This is the start of the splitting.
- Triple Split– The hair stand splits into three.
- Double Y Split– The hair strand separates into two then splits again into more strands.
- Incomplete Split– The hair shaft has already weakened in one spot of the hair strand but ut has not fully split. This creates a seemingly circular hole in the hair strand.
- Long Split– This is a split end in the making where the hair shaft has already separated in one part of the strand.
- Deep Split– The hair strand has split into two but the “Y” form is high on the shaft, making it look like one of the strands is longer.
- Taper– The cuticle has been peeled away. It can be difficult to notice but if you look at the hair strand closely, you will see the tapering.
- Thickening– The hair strand has not separated yet but the texture of the hair has changed, making a little bit rough to feel.
- White Spots– These are visible white spots on your hair strands caused by severe chemical burns.
- Right Angle– This is the type where the hair strand is bending forming an angle.
- Off Shoot– The shaft has thickened and the splits have bonded together.
- Crinkle– The ends of your hair strand look wrinkled.
- Tree Split– The shaft has come apart, splitting into branch-like strands, hence the name.
- Feather Split– This is called such because this type of split ends resemble the looks of a feather. Several splits are present in one strand, especially on one side of the shaft.
- The Knot– While this is not really a split end, this can result to more tangling of hair strands. This is a common problem for curly hair.
Myths vs. Reality: What Causes Split Ends?
Split ends are caused by a variety of factors. Determining the reason for the damage of the ends of your hair will help you avoid the activities that cause them and lead you to better knowledge in caring for your locks. Here are the causes of split ends:
- Mechanical Damage
This includes trimming the hair with dull scissors, improper detangling techniques, extreme towel drying, use of low quality hair care and styling tools, excessive washing, and lack of maintenance. These cause the breakage of the locks and the hair shaft, which stimulate the onset of splitting.
- Chemical Damage
This includes misuse of chemical treatments such as hair coloring, relaxing, and straightening, overuse of styling products, and use of harsh hair products. Strong chemicals applied on the hair cause the tresses to be stripped off their protective cuticle, which prevents the hair strands from drying and breakage.
- Heat Damage
This includes the frequent use of hot tools such as blow dryers and hot hair curlers. Exposing the hair to excessive amounts of heat will strip the moisture from the strands causing it to become brittle and prone to damage, which are sure recipes for split ends.
- Environmental Damage
This includes sun and climatic damages. Excessive exposure to the sun can cause damage to the hair. This is also true for other climates. Extreme weather conditions can cause the hair to become dry resulting to brittles and breakage.
- Lack of Healthy Lifestyle
The lack of vitamin E intake contributes to the poor health of your hair. Also, vices such as smoking can fill your hair with damaging chemicals that negatively affect your hair’s health.
These causes are the reality of split ends. Knowing that these are the reasons for the breakage and splitting of your hair, you should now adjust your lifestyle and hair care routine to reduce split end problems and other hair damage issues.
The Best in Split End Treatment
There are different ways on how to resolve split ends. However, as the famous saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” means that you should avoid the common causes of split ends and stick to a healthy hair care routine.
a. How to Cut Split Ends?
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It is best to leave the trimming of the split ends to the hair cutting experts. They have the proper and sharp tools to cut your hair without further damaging your hair. If you are into a new hairstyle, you can ask your hairstylist. But if you are growing your hair, you can request for minimal trimming.
In case you want to trim your split ends on your own, you can do so through the following methods:
- Loop method
Take some amount of hair then loop it over one finger to form a loose fold. Hair strands will stick out. From here, cut the ones that have split ends. Be careful not to trim healthy strands.
- Twist Method
Take an inch of hair then twist it to form a spiral. Unhealthy hair, including split ends will be sticking at the sides of the twist. Trim these as well as the split ends at the end of the twisted hair.
- Locks Method
Take some hair from one side by holding it in your non-dominant hand such that you see the ends of your hair. Look for the strands that have split ends then cut these.
- Trim Ends
Part your hair all the way down such that you hair strands are placed in front of your shoulders. Using a mirror, start estimating how much you can trim your hair. Cut your desired amount of hair while looking at what you are trimming in the mirror. It is okay to make a few uneven trims since this is hardly noticeable.
b. How to Get Rid of Split Ends Without Cutting?
If you are keen about not cutting your hair to remove split ends, here are some natural methods to resolve this problem:
- Head Massage– Use natural oils good for the hair such as coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil. You can use one or a combination of any or all of these. Heating them before massaging them onto your hair is better. By applying them onto your hands then rubbing them onto your scalp and massaging your head, you can improve blood circulation, which will strengthen your hair. Massage down to the ends for an instant and temporary remedy for your split ends.
- Homemade Hair Pack– You can combine different natural ingredients including fruits, fruit juices, and oil for a homemade hair pack. Apply it on your hair then leave it for a couple of minutes to an hour before you rinse and wash your hair.
- Deep Conditioning– You can deep condition your hair at home or at a salon. This will help revitalize your tresses, which temporarily resolves your split end problems.
- Change Shampoo and Other Hair Products– If you notice that your shampoo and hair products are causing split ends or drying your hair, it is time to change them. Opt for moisturizing shampoos and hair care products instead.
How to Prevent Split Ends
The best solution for split ends is to prevent them from happening to your hair. There are different preventative measures that you can perform to lessen the chances of developing split ends. Here are some of them:
- Avoid excessive hairstyling.
Reducing the exposure of hair to heating tools and chemically abundant styling products is a good way to prevent the protective cuticle of the hair from getting stripped off. As a result, the hair remains moisturized and protected from drying and breakage. If you cannot avoid the use of heating tools, keep the temperature at the lowest possible level.
- Practice gentle hair grooming.
When the hair is wet, it becomes more susceptible to damage. Thus, be careful when brushing your hair after a shower. If you can avoid brushing your hair while it is wet, do so. If you cannot, use a wide-toothed comb instead. This will detangle the hair while causing less stress. Always comb your hair first before brushing it.
- Use the right hair accessories.
Choose hairpins, headbands, and other accessories that will not cause a tear or breakage in your hair. Moreover, sharp accessories may also wound your scalp. If you have to tie your hair, avoid using rubber bands. Instead, use fabric materials such as scrunchies.
- Keep your hair moisturized.
Use a gentle conditioner after you have shampooed your hair. Ideally, you should deep condition your hair once each week. You can also use natural oils such as olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil and many other types to moisturize your hair. Make sure that you only apply a sufficient amount of any substance to your hair. Anything in excess is bad. Also, drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, since this will also help moisturize your hair.
- Do not overdo hair washing.
If you wash your hair more than what is necessary, this will strip the natural oils from your hair, which keeps it moisturized. Thus, wash your hair in the proper frequency to keep it from drying and becoming brittle.
- Maintain your hair regularly.
Have your hair trimmed every couple of months to remove the damage parts of your hair. Regular trimming will stimulate better hair growth.
Best Hairstyles for Split Ends
While you have not resolved your split ends issues yet, here are some hairstyles that you can use to cover these unwanted elements of your hair:
- Classic bun
Tucking the ends of your hair into a classic and stylish bun is a good way to look as if your are not facing hair problems at all. The classic bun is perfect to give you an elegant look while covering the unwanted features of your hair.
- High Buns
Positioning your hair bun up on top of your head is also a good way to conceal your split ends. As long as you tuck your hair ends well into the bun, you will love this hairstyle.
A chignon is a perfect hairstyle for work or a formal event. It is also excellent in hiding the ragged ends of your hair by rolling the bottom of your hair up to achieve this hairstyle.
- Waterfall braid
This is ideal for those with curly and wavy hair. The hair will be styled into lose curls, which makes split ends less visible.
- Roll and Tuck
Rolling your hair, tucking it, then setting it in place with hairpins will hide the unwanted split ends while making a fashion statement.
- Inward curl
This hairstyle is achieved by blow drying your hair inwards such that the split ends are hidden inside the curls.
- Messy Braid
When you are having a busy day, which makes you incapable of creating a decent hairstyle, you can always rely on the messy braid. This conceals different hair problems, as well as split ends.
Whether you have long or short hair, and whether you process it frequently or rarely, you will still experience split ends. This is a common hair issue for everyone. Keeping your body and hair healthy by sticking to a healthy lifestyle will prevent the split end issues from worsening. If you are getting bothered by the splitting of your locks, you can always have them trimmed. If you are not open to this solution, you can always opt for alternatives such as hair masks and homemade solutions. Still, the best weapon against split ends is to keep your hair healthy and strong inside out.