Split Ends

What are they? Take a strand of your hair and examine it closely. If the strand divides into two anywhere along the shaft, that’s a split end. It can occur anywhere along the length of your hair, but usually on the ends, hence the name.

Often the breaks in the middle are two-way, causing a tear which looks like two split ends facing each other. Other tears make the strand appear like it has a gash through it.

The ends are more prone to tear they’re more aged and have endured more handling.

Causes

Unfortunately hair is fragile and easily susceptible to damage. Breakage occurs even with the mildest mistreatment, just from everyday ordinary wear and tear. Any rough treatment causes you hair to weaken and eventually split.

Mishandling includes:

• Over-brushing
• Unnecessary treating
• Excessive styling
• Using heat products (straightener or blow dryer)
• Harsh weather (heat, dry or wind)
• Chemicals (chlorine and salt)
• Using unfriendly hair ties

This is just a very limited list of common problems which need to be avoided. There are copious other causes but this article illustrates how to dramatically reduce and help to prevent split ends.

Is there a cure?

There is absolutely no way to turn back the damage of a split end. Some leave in conditioners glue them together but this remedy is only temporary. Once you brush or wash your hair the glued together splits loosen and division reoccurs.

Cutting your hair is the only way to eradicate the damage. You should trim your hair regularly to keep it healthy in any event. The trim should be at least an inch for longer hair.

Unfortunately trimming will not remove all the split ends. Even if your hair is cut straight, you will still have layers of different lengths due to interval growth. If you have longer hair, the best way of removing the majority of split ends is this:

• Grab a piece of your hair and twist it tightly as close you can get to the roots
• Cut the fly away pieces along the twist
• Continue for the whole head

This process will remove much of the damage. Some people also like to cut individual strands. When doing so you must cut above the breakage, otherwise it will reappear.

Prevention

Firstly, try to avoid situations where you hair could be mishandled (see Causes above).

Conditioning

Condition your hair regularly to keep up moisture levels, strength and health.

Swimming

Protect your hair from chemicals such as chlorine and salt with leave in moisturizers before and after swimming.

Brushing

Excessive brushing deteriorates the cuticle leading to loss of moisture causing split ends.

Brush your hair gently, preferably using a wide toothed comb. You can also apply leave in moisturizer when using a brush to ease the abrasive effect. For best results comb your hair when wet with conditioner applied. The brush or comb will glide through smoothly, even with highly knotted hair.

If you’re extremely tangled and knotted then start combing at the base moving upwards towards the roots as you detangle each level.

Hair ties & Scrunchies

Use scrunchies with a wider diameter, so there’s less likelihood of tangling and ripping. Hairties with the flat metal clasp are not recommended. These catch and pull on the strands which is extremely damaging. Also avoid rubberband type hairties which pull on the hair.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a split end free world? Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury so we must guard against and deter the inevitable as best we can. Hopefully the above tips will guide your way to beautiful sleek hair.