There’s a scientific name for the split in the hair fiber, known commonly as a ‘split end,’ and that is Trichoptilosis. Once you have it, the only real answer to how to get rid of split ends is to cut them off. There are, however, several ways to prevent your hair from splitting.
It is important to think about the different ways in which our hair splits, before we can work out what we might be doing wrong and how to reverse the trend. Some split ends include: the generic split end, multiple splits up one strand of hair and a split in the middle of the strand that bunches up into a tiny knot.
And now for the causes:
Chemicals on the hair can damage it, especially bleach and hair dye, but also chlorine in swimming pools. Ever been to the hair salon and been asked whether you do a lot of swimming? You were probably left nodding in agreement and embarrassed, whether you swim regularly or not.
They could have been asking because they noticed that your hair follicles were splitting. Sometimes even the water we wash and rinse our hair with can be damaging. Some water contains chlorine or a lot of calcium carbonate. This is known as ‘hard’ water and depends on the geographical area you live in.
The way we style out hair can cause split ends when we are too rough with our brush. The ends of our hair can be very fragile and delicate and prone to splits if we are too harsh with them. We often tend to over brush our hair, which is unnecessary.
Also, some of the hair bands we use can cause split ends, especially if we tie it back with an elastic band or a band with a metal connector.
The over-use of heat devices and too much exposure to the sun can cause the ends of our hair to break and split.
When we over wash our hair with harsh shampoos, this too can cause split ends.
Those four reasons are the main ways in which our hair follicles snap and split, but there are ways to care for our hair to stop that from happening.
Here are some handy tips to follow:
- Go natural, or if you must dye your hair, look at the ingredients and try to dye it with organic color products. There are natural products and recipes online including honey and lemon, which naturally lighten the hair, giving you a lighter shade but less damage.
- If you swim a lot, consider a swim cap or at the very least, ensure that you invest in a good leave-in conditioner. Some products help with chlorine damage. Always rinse your hair when you leave the swimming pool to get rid of excess chlorine.
- If you live in a hard water area, try a water softening system.
- Back combing your hair is a no-no and use a wide-toothed comb or a gentle brush. Tease out any knots and tangles gently rather than tugging at the hair. If you have stubborn knotty locks, try out a detangling lotion.
- If you are exposing your hair to UV rays, wear a sun hat or protect it with a spritz of heat protectant spray and tie it back in a bun.
- Do not rub your hair when towel drying it, but instead, pat it dry gently and never brush your hair when it is wet (use a wide tooth comb instead).
- Heat is not your hair’s friend – so try to limit the amount of hair dryer and straightening iron time on your hair.
- Trim your hair regularly to keep it in good condition. It is advised to trim the ends off every 6-8 weeks.
- Experiment with the products that work best for you and the best haircare routine, but do not use too many products as this can lead to a build-up.
- Opt for the best haircare routine for your lifestyle – washing your hair every day is not necessary and can do more harm than good as it dries out the hair follicles.
- Use a good quality deep conditioning treatment on your hair regularly or use a leave-in conditioner. Products with jojoba, coconut, avocado or argan oil work well. There are loads of recipes for making your own treatments which can be a fun thing to do with friends!
- Drink plenty of water and ensure that you have a balanced and nutritious diet. If you are what you eat, you need to aim to hydrate well and eat plenty of foods high in vitamins and minerals for shiny, good-conditioned hair.
Sometimes it is a case of too little, too late. Your hair has split and that’s that. So what can you do about it? If you can isolate the area, for example, if your fringe has been exposed to straightening irons and got more split ends than the rest of your hair, you can chop off the very ends yourself. Be sure to use hairdressing scissors rather than paper scissors as they can cause more damage.
So many products on the market claim to heal or mend split ends. While they may be able to seal the hair follicle and prevent further damage, they cannot reverse the split. The best thing to do is to use a good quality hair serum to smooth down the effects of split ends, including frizzy hair or to visit a salon and get a cut and start over.
The key is to keeping your locks in the best condition possible so that your hair strands never split in the first place. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Hopefully some of the hair care advice above can get you started.
Over to you…how do you keep your hair free of split ends? Do you have any tips or advice to share with You Queen readers? We would love to hear more from you. Just drop a comment in the box below and get involved in a discussion!