We’ve all got them.
We all hate them.
We all desperately want to get rid of them.
Them? Why the dreaded split ends, what else?
Which is why we’ll explore answers to several common questions about frayed ends plus expose one big lie or misconception about them. Because I’m sure you’ve wondered from time to time just …
What Causes Split Ends?
Especially if you have ever stood behind someone in the checkout lane at Walmart and noticed their hair was full of splits. Yeah who hasn’t done that? You noticed their hair – but for all the wrong reasons.
Happened to me just the other day. I was at the store and the girl in front of me caught my eye. Well, her hair did actually, poor thing. You could see it was quite unhealthy – to put it mildly. It looked like had been processed to death, know what I mean? All of which contributed to what can only be described as a head full of splintered ends. No one wants to have damaged hair like that with no shine to speak of. It had to be eating her up inside. It would have been me. But she put on a brave face at least.
To better understand, let’s define what we’re talking about.
Split End Defined: To define them it helps to know how your hair works. You want to think of a healthy strand of hair as tightly braided rope sealed at the end. Should the rope begin to unravel for any reason, well, you’ve got yourself a split end. As you’ll see in a bit there are a number of things that leads to a split.
Yet you don’t have to take your locks to the edge and back to have problems with splits. In fact they can happen to the best of us. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you here are a few tips to keep in mind when working with your hair.
Avoiding Typical Causes Is How To Prevent Split Ends
Avoidance starts with a better understanding of the causes. Just to name a few…
- Heat Kills
Hot styling tools rank right up there as the huge problem for your hair. The heat can dry your strands out. This will weaken them. Too much of that and you will find that the tips will then tend to fray more easily. Obviously only the most dedicated to healthy hair will go cold turkey when it comes to flat irons and blow dryers so as to avoid heat damaged hair. But at the least you might want to limit their use to as little as possible. Because frankly the best flat iron for fine hair, curly or medium length locks is NONE!
- Hydration Helps
Dry hair can be more prone to splits which is why you want to keep it hydrated by using a conditioner meant for your hair type regularly. And deep condition as you should too.
- Hurt by Overwashing
You only want to shampoo as often as you need to otherwise you’re stripping away the oils produced by your scalp that are essential for healthy hair.
- Haunted by Summer Sins
Over the course of the summer chlorine, sun and saltwater do your hair no favors. Ever felt your hair when you come back from a day at the beach or poolside? Did it feel soft and touchable? Probably not. The sun beating down as the salt is lapped up by your forlorn strands does a number on them. It’s a sin to let that happen.
- Harmed When Wet
We’ve all likely seen YouTube videos where someone is taking a brush and going at their long, wet hair like there’s no tomorrow. Sadly for some of their strands there will be no tomorrow. Because after a wild brushing session like this they show this huge wad of hair they pull from their brush. Just makes me want to scream, “Stop It!”, at my computer! Because brushing wet hair like this, when it’s most vulnerable, will cause it to snap. And it does.
Of course hair damage from coloring, vigorous rubbing with a towel, or hair suffering a protein deficiency is more open to frayed ends too.
But I Want To Know How To Fix Split Ends
You and me both. Who doesn’t? But even thinking they can be fixed is a common misconception. As heartbreaking as it is there is no way to fix ’em.
So if you are looking for commercial products or home remedies you’ll have to look elsewhere because like a friend of mine would say, I got nothing. So save your money and don’t waste it on things promising a fix. We’d all love to know how to repair these little terrors I’m sure but you can’t get a fix out of a bottle. Once the split happens the only fix, if you can call it that, is a trim. Which is one bit of advice you don’t want to ignore. Otherwise the split can run up the strand, weakening it and setting the stage for the unwelcomed companion to damaged ends, breakage.
Split End Elimination
Basically you want to examine your mane regularly in like bright light or sunlight and cut off any bit of end that looks like it’s dry or damaged. If your hair is not yet back on the road to being healthy you’ll want to do this mane maintenance more often than if it is in good shape.
Specifically here’s what you do to identify which bits to trim off.
- Twist a small section of hair.
- Look for any hairs that stick out. Usually those are the ones that are a little bit frayed.
- Using sharp hair shears snip off that damaged section before it has a chance to split.
You want a clean cut which is why the hair shears rather than scissors that have been used to cut everything and anything. You obviously want to do this with all your hair and the nice thing about this method is you’re cleaning things up without sacrificing length. Of course it goes without saying this is not something you can do easily with very short hair.
This video sort of explains a similar type of routine.
How to Fight The Splits
Let’s Not Split Hairs Over Split Ends
Dealing with splits is no small thing. At least not if you want hair that’s healthy.
Plus there’s no getting around the fact that unraveled ends are embarrassing. They certainly don’t result in hair that anyone would call awesome. And since there is no cure other than trimming, you best hope to minimizing them in your hair is to keep it healthy and not abuse it.
Admittedly following tips like these may not guarantee you’ll never have a split end. But they can insure you are doing all you can to see to it your hair is set up for success rather than splitting off to failure. Or as they say, the mane you save may be your own. That way someone standing behind you in the checkout aisle doesn’t think the same thoughts about your hair as I did about the poor woman in front of me.