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How to get rid of split ends?

Why do I have so many split ends??? How to fix them?

We have no doubt you hate this frizz in your locks caused by frayed tips. Not only do they look pitiful but also lead to tangles, encourage further breakage, and reduce your heroic attempts to grow out your hair to nothing. So, let’s find out how to prevent or get rid of split ends. Hair care experts and scientific facts will help us along the way.

What Are Split Ends?

Does the word trichoptilosis mean anything to you? Well, this is how our poor frayed tips are called scientifically. Moreover, hair experts distinguish no less than a dozen types of split ends, starting from the basic two-way split and up to sophisticated “trees” and “knots”. Nice, huh?

So, what do split ends look like under a microscope? You will see something like fractured wood with multiple fibers sticking out and even forming curlicues. Yet, you don’t need any special equipment to observe your hair strands losing their even structure towards the tips. This happens because the outer protective layer (cuticle) is damaged, making the hair shaft expose its inner cortex, which gets cracked.

What Causes Split Ends?

Let’s start from the fact that our tips are the oldest and, thus, the most vulnerable parts of the hair. They get dry and break easily, and we do our best to help with that. How? Through the following:

– Practicing harsh combing and towel-drying

– Picking at hair ends

– Using tight elastics

– Exposing the hair to sunlight

– Using heat tools

– Bleaching and dyeing

– Doing perms and chemical relaxing

The first three factors create friction, which leads to ruining the cuticle. Heat styling affects the ends in several ways – deforms the hair and high temperatures deprive our strands of moisture. The sunlight does its dirty deeds with UVA and UVB rays damaging the cuticle. And all kinds of chemicals destroy the hair structure. Ta-da!

How to Fix Split Ends?

According to hair care experts, a split end treatment can help only with a minor breakage, when the strands are just beginning to fork. However, no one will be able to heal them – the ends are dead, and thus, they cannot regenerate. All we can do is to repair the affected area by applying special products containing oils or polymers. They create a kind of coating to keep the split parts together and make them look smooth and even shiny. But this split end repair will last only until the next shampoo, and it won’t be able to stop the breakage progression without extra efforts.

Sorry, girls, but you need to trim split ends if willing to ultimately do away with the problem.

How to Prevent Split Ends?

Forewarned is forearmed, so let’s get to the tips on how to steer clear from bad split ends. Obviously, they result from the described causes:

– Don’t shampoo daily and don’t skip conditioner.

– Choose hair care products based on your hair type and watch for harmful chemicals.

– Heat- and sun protectants are your friends.

– Brush, dry, and detangle gently, especially when your tresses are wet (and finally buy a boar bristle brush).

– Be generous with moisturizing and deep conditioning.

– Avoid everything “over” – styling, heating, dyeing, and so on.

– Don’t pick at your strands and opt for smooth hair ties.

– Don’t combine topical oils and heat styling to prevent cooked strands.

Best Products for Split Ends

The best shampoo for split ends would be filled with nourishing and moisturizing ingredients to at least protect your locks from further splitting by strengthening them. And it surely wouldn’t contain alcohol, dimethicone, sodium chloride and similar substances that can make your locks and scalp even dryer. If you have fine or dry hair, switch to sulfate-free products. However, your must-haves are a conditioner (including live-in options) and concentrated products like a split end serum or a mask (especially for overnight treatment). Their highly charged formula works to seal frayed tips and prevent the disaster from spreading.

How to Cut Split Ends?

You surely want to know how to cut your own split ends without losing length. There are two ways to go:

– Trying a split end cutter – This device works through locks to capture the tiniest pieces sticking out and chop them off while leaving the overall length untouched.

– Go dusting – Instead of the costly split end trimmer, you’ll need sharp scissors and a bit of skill to snip off just a few millimeters of frayed tips without cutting too much. In fact, there are several techniques to master, so choose the one that feels easier to you.

However, you can ask for the surface split ends cutting, dusting in a salon as well as for candle cutting, which is a bit pricy (and scary) yet fancy method based on burning split ends.

Home Remedies for Split Ends

Actually, you don’t need a big-ticket hair mask for split ends if you’re ready to spend some time and craft your own remedy.

– Start with applying sweet almond oil or argan oil as a live-in conditioner–both are great at retaining moisture and have light textures to avoid weighing your tresses down. If your locks are porous or naturally curly, opt for shea butter, which is a bit thicker but no less effective in locking in moisture.

– Sure, we cannot do without coconut oil for split ends since, unlike other fats, it can go deep into the hair shaft to condition it. It is also the best oil for split ends because it prevents protein loss.

– Consider adding panthenol, eggs, bananas, aloe vera, or honey to your DIY hair mask for split ends. These ingredients can tame the frizz, strengthen and hydrate your locks, add them a soft feel and shine.

Natural Curly Hair Split Ends

Sadly, but African-American hair is officially more prone to splitting. It has a different hair shaft shape, a slower speed of growing, and lower content of water. That’s why it’s easier to get split ends in curly hair and that’s why you need to double your efforts and prevent them from popping up.

Split ends are nasty, and it’s obviously better to give our locks enough TLC for having them strong and healthy. Anyway, now you know how to handle this issue, and we hope your damaged hair will feel better with our tips transferred into actions.

Featured Image: diana.grytsku

by Donna Sullivan
Donna is a hairstylist with 8 years of experience. Ask her about any hair-related problem (haircuts, hairstyles, colorings, hair care) and get a pro advice!