If you manage your hair on a daily basis, with all the stress of work and life, you probably notice some split ends here and there. Split ends are the number one complaint of people coming in for a haircut and are an inevitability unless you decide to start going for that bald Bruce Willis look. Proper treatment and care will significantly reduce the occurrences however and will go a long way in making your hair look healthy and happy. We’ve put together a guide to help you repair your damaged hairstyle and treat your split ends efficiently.
What are Split Ends?
Right after you get a haircut your hair is vibrant, healthy and bouncy, but pretty soon those split ends will come roaring on back. But why? Splits ends will show up when the protective layer of the cuticle is worn away, and the hair begins to fray. This process is quickened by heat (blow drying and curling for example) coloring and brushing. Anything that applies pressure to the integrity of the outer layer of the hair follicle will further split end damage.
The only way to “cure” this issue is to snip off the damaged end and allow it to regrow.
The main causes of split ends:
- Damage caused by sun and air pollution.
- Excessively hot water.
- Harsh gels or shampoos that don’t agree with your hair.
- Chlorine damage.
- Heat from dryers and curlers.
- Teasing, combing or brushing hair.
- Not completely washing out gel and mousse.
How to check for split ends:
It can be a little awkward to attempt to inspect an area that lays a few inches above and behind your eyes. If you want to learn how to get rid of split ends, use a mirror (or bounce two off each other) to get a good look at the hair ends. If your hair is long enough this may not be necessary. Taking a picture weekly with your mobile phone it’s also a good idea to check your hair damage over a month period. They are scientifically known as Trichoptilosis and there are a number of different versions of split ends, each one may respond differently to treatment. Effectiveness will also be changed by your hair type -be it curls, waves, or straight hair.
Types of Split Ends:
- The traditional split:
- The most common, and exactly what you picture it looking like. A simple division at the end of the hair that continues up the strand.
- The “baby” Split:
- The early stages of an average split, usually a common strand that ends abruptly in two pieces.
- Triple Split:
- Once the cuticle weakens enough, you may see multiple divisions start to form on the same hair. A triple split is a hair that ends in three pieces.
- Long Split:
- When you use hairpins and the like, it will begin to weaken that spot on the follicle. This will cause the split to start high up, even mid-hair.
- Usually caused by the chemicals in sprays. The wearing away of the follicle will cause it to reduce in size and wear away at the ends, making a shorter and stubbier follicle that ends in a point.
- Right angle bends and offshoots are when the follicle is damaged to the point of becoming permanently bent.
- Theoretically the opposite physical reaction as tapering. Certain chemical reactions can cause the hair to change texture and size.
- A knot:
- Typical for the owners of the frizz or curl. Not actually a split end, but can result from certain types of damage, or split ends in the area… or maybe your hair is just curly.
- And others:
- There are a number of different types of split ends/damages that can result in your hair. Look for abnormalities in the hair like excessive crinkles and incomplete splits.
How to Treat Split Ends
Although the only way to “cure” a split end is to remove it from the follicle, correct hair treatment can go a long way in prevention and limiting the damage. So how to get rid of split ends naturally? We are going to focus on natural home remedies for this article. We want to focus on home based remedies because this is one of those issues that can be easily managed by yourself, and we will stick with the natural versions of these solutions because any other treatment tends to cause more harm than good in the long term.
Get Haircuts More Often
Not only are haircuts the only way to eliminate your current crop of split ends, but regular appointments will also help reduce the formation of them as well. If you wait to trim once split ends form, you risk them worsening and traveling farther up the shaft of the hair reducing the effectiveness of cutting the hair at the bottom.
Many people want methods for treating split ends with no haircut, but the truth is that without cutting your hair the ends will become a bigger and bigger problem.
If you want your hair to grow long, healthy and dandruff free, regular trims will maintain the integrity of the hair as it grows. It will take longer, but the results are worth it. Aim for every 6-8 weeks.
Use Heat Sparingly.
Blow dryers, especially the low-quality ones, can overheat your hair and cause significant amounts of damage. Regular use will exacerbate the situation. Cheaper blow dryers will also tend to overheat more and more as they age. Professional grade blow dryers have less of a chance to cause unnecessary damage, but will still cause heat damage. Shop around and see what your options are.
Brush down and use a round brush to separate parts of your hair and dry them. This will quicken the process and shorten the amount of time your hair has to spend under intense heat. Air drying for a bit ahead of time will also help.
Avoid Unnecessary Hair Treatments
It’s really annoying, but almost every traditional method for creating a stunning hair style also damages and weakens your hair. So if you want to figure out how to get rid of split ends then take a closer look at colors, highlights, perms, straightening, etc. All this hair treatments can lead to an increase in split ends. Try to pick your battles carefully when it comes to these hair treatments. If you do get a hair treatment try and wait a couple of days before washing it, as the hair needs time to recover or further damage may occur.
A Brazilian Blowout helps to improve the health of your hair by creating a protein layer around the hair. It will smooth out your hair, and the protective layer will ward off split ends for up to 12 weeks in some cases! Shop around to see what your prices and options are. You won’t need all the bells and whistles if your primary goal is to protect from split ends.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask
Coconut oil is in literally every cure or fix for every possible condition a human has. Seriously, just go google something like “How to treat____” and nine times out of ten coconut oil is gonna make an appearance. When it comes to hair, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and contains a bunch of nutrients. A good long term method to repair damaged hair.
To make this mask combine about two parts coconut oil to one part honey. Massage into your head, focusing on the ends, and let is sit for up to an hour. You can use a shower cap to avoid making a mess in the meantime.
Olive oil can also be used to give your hair an extra boost of moisture and vitamins. Just leave it in for a while or create a similar mixture.
Use a Conditioner you can Leave-in.
If you rinse out a conditioner, it may leave behind some nutrients and a nice smell, but little else in the way of helping your split ends. A leave in conditioner will add an extra layer of protection while you treat/dry/style it and go about your day.
A leave in product like Kérastase that “reconstructs severely damaged, brittle hair by rebuilding and reinforcing the hair fiber” is great for treating hair and offering heat protection.
An alternative you can also try is a deep conditioning hair mask. With these, you apply the conditioner while in the shower and then don a shower cap. After about 20 minutes you go ahead and rinse it out. There are also commercial hair masks specially made to help you fight against split ends.
Foods To Help Prevent Split Ends. Boost Your Diet.
Making sure your diet is geared towards ensuring your body is receiving the necessary nutrients may seem pretty straightforward, but a surprising number of people ignore this aspect of overall health. Hair is directly affected by the nutrients and vitamins made available to it, so it’s important you understand what to eat, and what your diet may be missing when trying to solve an issue with your hair.
- Folic Acid helps out with your red blood cell count which helps strengthen hair growth. Green leafy vegetables are your best bet for a natural boost of folic acid.
- Biotin: Strengthens nails and your hair utilizing the fats and proteins in your food. You can get Biotin from foods like egg yolk and green leafy vegetables. It will also help add thickness and fullness to your hair.
- Niacin is also used in hair growth but can get a little dicey when used as a supplement.
Vitamin C helps create collagen which is found throughout the body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means it will keep hair from becoming too brittle and dry due to free radicals. People with a lack of the Vitamin in their diet may suffer premature hair loss and shedding. Citrus fruits are a fantastic source of Vitamin C.
Vitamin E plays a significant role in the hydration and tensile strength of your hair. Vitamin E works with your natural oils to seal and strengthen the follicle. Almonds and avocados are easy and yummy sources of vitamin E.
Not having enough Zinc in your diet can lead to many troubling issues like hair loss and an irritated scalp. Not getting enough Zinc can also weaken the hair follicles themselves resulting in an increase in split ends. Yogurt and many types of nuts contain Zinc, as well as whole grains.
Iron is a good buddy to your blood. Iron helps ensure your hair is getting enough oxygen from the blood to maintain thickness and prevent splitting. Eggs, Seafood, raisins, and spinach area all excellent sources of Iron