For many of us, dealing with split ends can be a constant struggle. Those unsightly dry, brittle and frizzed ends can ruin even the best of hair days. And while chopping them off may be the first solution that springs to mind it’s not your only option. Save your long hair and keep it healthy with these simple prevention and treatment tips.
What Causes Split Ends?
Split ends occur when external stressors cause the hair’s outer protective layer to wear away. These external stressors can include heat styling, salon chemicals, sun rays, pollution, hot water and more. Once the hair’s outer layer is compromised, the internal structure becomes exposed, leaving the hair wk, dry, damaged and (you guessed it) with split ends. Prevent split ends by avoiding these stressors, having regular trims and being kind to strands.
The hard truth: Once you get a split end, it won’t go away.
The only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off. And for the future, you can take care of your hair and prevent splits from occurring in the first place. There are simple ways to avoid split ends, but before that let’s look at what causes split ends.
What causes split ends?
The longer the hair, the older the end and therefore more prone to split ends.
The daily grind – washing, combing, styling, and chemical treatments – can cause the hair cuticle, which is the outside protective sheath of the hair’s shaft, to wear off. Once the cuticle is damaged the inner layer of hair is exposed, and it becomes weakened, dehydrated and damaged, making the hair prone to split ends.
The good news is that you can easily avoid split ends and grow your hair longer with having to worry about them. Here are some of the tips to say bye bye to them forever:
7 Ways to Treat and Prevent Split Ends
1. Get Regular Trimming
No matter how well you look after your hair, the everyday combing, washing will cause some wear and tear, and therefore you can’t prevent split ends entirely. Inevitably, a trim will be necessary at some point to control split ends. But, proper care will allow you to stretch trim appointment to every eight to twelve weeks, or may be even longer. Keep a regular check on them. If you happen to see a random split end, take a pair of scissors and get rid of it. Leaving the split end uncut is not a good idea, as it could potentially get worse and travel all the way up to the root.
Removal: Always use sharp scissors or the ones meant for hair cuts. Using blunt pair can fray your ends and cause more splits after a while. Also cut about 1/4 of an inch above the split, and if you don’t there are chances that split might reappear.
2. Oil Your Hair Before You Wash Them
Shampooing/Washing can cause damage to your hair. When hair gets wet – during shampooing – it absorbs water and swells. In this state it is very fragile and therefore it is easier for splits or chips to occur.
How does oiling hair help? Oil forms a protective sheath around your hair, reducing the damage during washing process. Plus, oil also nourishes your hair, and help restore its moisture balance. Some of the best oil for pre-wash treatment are coconut oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil and almond oil. To use: Apply oil of your choice on the scalp and massage gently with the pads of your fingers. Finish by running fingers through your hair. Keep it for an hour and wash as usual.
3. Apply A Leave-in Conditioner
If you have bad split ends or are prone to having them, then be sure to apply a leave- in conditioner to your hair. This is to protect your hair from the regular wear and tear that can happen due to combing, styling, and also environmental factors (hot sun or cold winds).
You don’t need any fancy brands. Oils or plant butters make an excellent leave-in conditioners. Best oils to use – coconut, almond and jojoba oil; and best butters that work – shea and aloe butter. To use: Take a little amount (not more than a pea size) of oil or butter and rub it between your palms and apply to damp or dry hair, focusing on the ends and leave-in. This will smooth down frizz, split ends and flyaways, and leave your hair looking shiny and beautiful. Start with little, you can always add more to adjust the needs of your hair— you don’t want your hair to look greasy.
4. Dry Hair Gently
Wet hair is fragile and vulnerable to damage. So treat it with utmost care. Vigorously rubbing your hair dry with a towel creates tangles and twists in many unnatural directions, thus causing breakage and split ends. Instead, gently dab the dripping hair with a towel to get rid of the excess water.
To Dry: Use a soft cotton towel, as they are kinder to your hair and causes less friction when drying, and therefore less damage. Plus, cotton towel absorbs a great amount of water, so your hair will dry faster. The next time you wash your hair, wrap hair in a soft cotton towel and leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then let hair dry naturally. Your hair should be smoother and healthier!
5. Use A Wide Tooth Comb
The best way to detangle your hair after shampoo is by using a wide-tooth comb (comb in general are more gentle than brush). And Do Not tug it down your hair from the root to the tip. Doing this will cause tough knots which will be hard to undo and the delicate ends will be forced to take the comb bashing, thus causing hair breakage and split ends. Instead, start at the ends, and gently work your way up. When you encounter a tangle, stop and untangle gently with your comb or fingers and then proceed.
For tangles, apply a leave-in conditioner – as previously mentioned. This will help untangle with ease and prevent the snaps and breakage you can incur when you try to comb hair. Also try to avoid combing until your hair is almost dry.
6. Reduce Use Of Heat Appliances
Heat appliances such as blow dryers, flat-iron, and heat curlers are bad for your hair – however expensive or reputed they may be. When you blow dry or apply heat on your hair it reduces your hair’s natural moisture, leaving it dry, rough and brittle. Constant use can cause physical hair trauma, and the result is damaged hair and split ends.
The best way to dry your hair is to let it dry naturally, and the healthiest way to style it is heat-less. Go gentle. And your hair will look and feel better, and last longer.
7. Protect Your Hair From The Elements
Environmental factors such as sun, wind and cold work against your hair. Long term exposure to hot sun may damage your hair, leaving it dry and brittle, and more prone to breakage as well as split ends. Similarly, cold winds too can be quite harsh on your hair.
Whenever you are stepping outside in the hot sun or cold winds you must protect your hair. Wearing a scarf, a hat or a cap will lock the moisture of your hair and protect it against the elements. In addition, they make great accessories, and they are also excellent at hiding bad hair days 🙂
Further tips and tricks to keep your ends healthy:
- Don’t wash your hair everyday. Washing hair couple of times a week gives your scalp enough time to restore the natural oil balance – leaving your hair smooth, shiny and protected.
- Skip hot showers: Hot water strips away protective oils from your hair. Thus, prefer lukewarm water which is kinder to your hair as well as your skin.
- Don’t swim unprotected. Apply coconut oil or olive oil to your hair to prevent any related damage. Even when you are using a swim cap it’s safe to apply some oil for that extra protection.
- Stop back combing your hair as this causes a lot of damage to your hair. It lifts up the scales of the cuticle in the wrong direction and this may cause them to break off. The result is hair breakage and splits.
- Eat a balanced diet. Getting all the necessary nutrients will ensure that your body produces healthy and strong hair.
Be kind to your hair and it will be beautiful 🙂
How do you avoid split ends?
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