Split ends are easily identifiable by their appearance – frizzy, raggedy-looking hair strands.
It’s not about how naturally ‘strong’ your hair is. Hair damage is usually the result of grooming habits and chemical treatments.
Split ends can’t be repaired once they occur, but there are ways to avoid them and reduce the amount of breakage your hair experiences.
Protecting the Protective Layer
Each strand of hair is protected by an outer layer of tiny, overlapping scales – like the shingles on a rooftop. This outer layer is called the cuticle. The cuticle is coated in lipids (fats) which repel water and protect the inner cortex from damage caused by daily wear.
When hair is stretched, heated, chemically treated, roughly rubbed, or over-brushed, those cuticle scales can lose their protective coating, fracture, and cause the strands to split.
- Avoid chemical treatments, dyeing, and bleaching, if possible.
- Choose hairstyles that don’t overstretch or pull your hair.
- Brush your hair gently with a wide comb, and not too much.
- Protect your hair from the sun. Ultraviolet rays can also damage your hair.
- Do one treatment or service at a time, and wait a week or two before the next one.
Hair is Vulnerable When Wet
When hair absorbs water, it swells and becomes weak. It becomes easier to stretch, and excessive stretching can cause damage and split ends.
- Gently massage shampoo into your scalp and allow the water to rinse it through the rest of your hair.
- Pool chemicals can be damaging. Use a swim cap and rinse hair thoroughly after getting out of the pool.
- Wait until your hair is only slightly damp – not soaking wet, not completely dry – to brush your hair.
- Turn the water heater down, so it’s not too hot.
Drying Without Damaging
While your hair is wet and fragile, you should be extra careful when drying it. Excess heat can cause excessive damage to your hair.
- Instead of rubbing it with a towel, wrap the towel around your head and let it absorb the moisture.
- Or let it air dry.
- Avoid or limit hot blow-drying as much as you can.
- Also, limit your use of curling irons, straighteners, and other hot tools on your hair.
- Shower caps are good to protect your hair while you’re washing the rest of your body.
- Use conditioner after shampooing and other moisturizing products to prevent your hair from drying out too much.
One of the best ways to avoid split ends is to know the treatments, procedures, and products you use on your hair. Search out more information about how they work and what they do to your hair, so you can make better choices about how to take care of it healthfully.