Split ends are often a sign that it’s time to book a visit to the hair salon. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to go to your hairdresser as often? Below you’ll find the most common reasons for split ends, and how you can prevent them from happening.
What Are Split Ends?
You will see if your hair has split ends by looking closely at the tip of a hair. This can happen due to a number reasons. The scientific explanation is that if the cuticle – which is the outmost layer of the hair – becomes damaged, the hair becomes vulnerable to cracks and splits. This is more likely to happen to hair that is weathered and artificially dyed. The hair strength depends on the amount of water in the hair. Chemicals in hair dye can weaken and dry it out.
Some Common Causes For Split Ends
Heat. Since the main factor for split ends and broken hair is the lack of moisture, heat tools will speed up how long you can go between cuts. If you use heat tools frequently and are not careful to always use a heat protectant, split ends will occur faster than if you let your hair dry by itself. Excessive sun exposure can have the same effect.
Chemicals. Using hair products with a lot of chemicals, or bleaching and dyeing your hair, can also increase the strain on your hair and dry it out faster, leading to split ends.
Over-washing. Try to not wash your hair everyday and use a gentle, natural shampoo free of sulfates and parabens. This will help make sure you do not strip your hair of too much of its natural oils. Another tip is to only shampoo the scalp, and only condition your ends.
Brushing. Brushing your hair when it is very tangled will also help breaking off your hair or splitting the ends. Detangle your hair carefully with your fingers before digging in with a brush or comb. If it is a total mess, you can also apply coconut oil in your strands before brushing to sort the hair out.
Genetics. A condition called trichorrhexis nodosa, which is when nodes around your hair shaft grow thicker or weaker than usual and causes the hair to break easier. Sometimes this is an inherited condition, but could also be caused by iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, too much ammonia in the body, or because of another syndrome.
So, What Can I Do About It?
Cut it. If your ends are already split, it’s too late to fix and a fresh start is the best way to go. Cut the damaged parts off and start taking better care of your hair to prevent the ends from splitting again.
Oils. Scientific research shows that coconut oil does not only feel and smell good, it actually helps prevent breakage. In a 2009 study, researchers found that treating hair with oils reduced the formation of split ends. The study tested oils from passion fruit seed, Brazilian nut, palm oil, mineral oils and more. Considering that extraction of palm oil takes a huge toll on the environment and mineral oils could be harmful for our health if not sufficiently purified, we like to recommend Brazilian nut, olive oil or coconut oil. For a deep moisture treatment, warm the oil and apply to your whole hair and scalp. Leave it in for as long as you feel like and then wash it out. For a quicker oil finish, apply a small amount of oil to the ends after washing, or whenever it feels dry.
Hair Masks. General tips for keeping your hair moisturized can also help prevent split ends. Use a hair mask once a week – it’ll penetrate your hair shafts and protect them. After washing it out, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair cream.
Protect the Hair From the Weather. If it’s really sunny and hot outside, wear a hat, scarf or use a sun protection spray. Make a loose braid if it´s windy or gently tuck your hair up inside a hat to prevent excessive tangling. And never leave the house with wet hair when its cold outside. Follow these tips and your hair ends should stay healthier, longer!
Featured photo: Arianne Leishman via Flickr