One of the biggest enemies of healthy, growing natural hair is the dreaded split end. You look at you hair, and all of sudden it is splitting into two, sometimes even three. You panic, and almost justifiably so. If you don’t act now, it’ll only get worse. But before you get irrational and shave your whole head, learn where split ends come from, how to get rid of them, and how to avoid them altogether.
Where do split ends come from?
Split ends almost always come from a preventable cause. When your hair becomes brittle and dry, it becomes more likely to experience breakage or split. The most common include reasons include:
- Over-usage of heat tools — Pulling out the blow dryer every day and turning the heat up to the max won’t save your hair!
- Chemical treatments — Including perms and bleaching
- Poor detangling — Make sure to use a quality brush like the Mason Pearson Mixed Bristle Brush, especially when detangling dry hair!
- Not trimming with enough regularity
- Bad products — If you are getting split ends and you are using low cost products, it may be time for an upgrade!
What do I do if I see one?
Don’t panic! A single hair splitting doesn’t mean you need to do anything just yet. This could happen randomly from using your towel to hard to dry a part of your head. However, if you start to see a quite a few, you must act immediately. You need to get a trim, and there is no way around that.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you can mend your split ends with some magic potion of avocados and other ingredients. Repeat after me: There is no split end super glue. No product you buy (no matter how expensive), nor home remedy you concoct (no matter how frankincense, myrrh, fairydust and shea butter containing) will do anything and then you’ll just end up with more split ends from not trimming soon enough. Worst of all, over time the untrimmed split ends travel further and further up the strands over time, resulting in the tragic hacking off of five inches of your hair rather than the barely noticeable 1/4" dusting you could have had were you to trim earlier.
P.S. Make sure to find a qualified natural hair stylist so that they actually know how to identify where the split ends start and end--so that you actually receive a trim, and not a big chop! (I've been burned before!)
How to prevent split ends
Avoiding split ends is pretty straightforward. Take care of your hair like any other part of your body: with tender loving care. Be gentle when handling your coils, with or without heat. Tugging angrily on your hair or trying to wring water out of it when drying is only going to lead to problems. When it comes to brushing, blow drying and styling, follow this mantra: If you hear "snap, crackle pop," you need to stop!
Ultimately, the two biggies in avoiding split ends are Diet and Trimming. Make sure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need and are drinking plenty of water. If you are experiencing split ends and are following the rest of the tips, consider getting a blood test to see if you have any nutrient deficiencies. Getting that sorted out could help a lot more than just your hair.
Make sure to get regular trims, ideally every 6–8 weeks, from a stylist you trust. That might seem like a lot, but you’ll only be cutting a small amount of hair each time, preventing a much bigger hack all at once. This will do wonders for your hair's health and length retention. Split-free strands are way easier to detangle and less likely to cause the other enemy--single strand knots! Most importantly, clean ends make for fly styles, so hit the salon, banish those splits and start rocking your best fro' today!
As always, feel free to comment below on your trimming routine or healthy hair habits!