March 14, 2011

Preventing Split Ends

Here's another topic that I've written about, but a popular one - Split Ends.

Split End Pic from P&G Beauty

Split ends, scientifically known as Trichoptilosis, happens when the hair's protective cuticle has been stripped away from the ends, causing a splitting of the hair shaft giving it a feathery appearance.

Avoiding trims, excessive brushing, heat, elastic bands, hair extensions, towel drying and even dry scalp are all causes of split ends. There is no ‘cure’ for split ends, the only way to get rid of them is to cut them off.

The ends of your hair are very important. Dry, split ends cause breakage while moisturized ends are more pliable and retain length. Some people shy away from trimming their ends because they do not want to lose length.

But keep in mind that split ends cause the hair to split all the way up to the scalp, which will result in you having to get a major cut. Split ends should be cut at least 1 inch above the split.

Another good way to prevent split ends, along with moisturizing, is adding ‘dusting’ of your ends to your hair routine. I would describe dusting as cutting off less than an inch of your ends.

When your ends start to feel crunchy, or you hear popping when you detangle, or start to see tiny hairs in the sink that are not old shedded hairs (with white bulbs at the tips) these are signs that you may need to ‘dust’ your ends.

But remember, only trim or dust your ends when necessary - you don't want to fall into a 'routine' of cutting your ends when they really don't need to be cut, especially if you want to retain length.

Also, when you come across one of those tiny knots - simply cut the knot off and move on, again it's not necessary to trim every strand.

The easiest way to trim/dust your own ends is when your hair is in box braids or twists. Simply cut a little (about a half inch or less) off the ends of each twist or braid.

To avoid having to make a drastic cut because of split ends, the best thing to do is to take preventive measures and protect them.

To protect your ends, get in the routine of moisturizing them during the week. Use oils such as shea butter, castor oil, olive oil or almond oil to protect your ends.

Conditioning after shampooing (rinse with cool water to close your hair cuticle), detangling with conditioner, and adding a monthly deep conditioner to your hair care routine also help prevent split ends, as well as avoiding heat, air drying whenever possible, and keeping your hair moisturized.

Wearing ‘protective’ styles, such as braids, cornrows or twists are also helpful in protecting your ends.

For those with longer hair, in colder seasons protect your ends by wearing silk or satin scarves around your shoulders to keep your ends from rubbing against wool coats and cotton sweaters, or wear protective styles like updos or buns.

Make sure that the hats you wear have a silk or satin lining or wear a silk/satin scarf underneath them. Cotton absorbs moisture and also snags your hair, therefore at night use a silk/satin scarf, bonnet or pillow case.

Peace and Blessings...

Devon Trichology Practice
Ultimate Cosmetics
Hair Finder


Anonymous said...

Keeping my hair in stretched styles (twist outs, braid outs, etc), sealing my ends w/ shea butter and fingercombing have helped reduced splits, tangles and ssks for my 4a/b hair.

Laquita said...

@Anonymous - that's good to know with twist/braid outs you are able to avoid split ends - I plan on wearing my hair 'out' more this summer.

Tinuke said...

Great Post. I agree with you on the dusting which I do when it is needed.

Charlotte said...

I don't get very many anymore because I don't do wash and go's and I wear a bun during the week. My hair doesn't tangle as much and therefore requires less detangling/combing. I heavily oil my hair during the week when I wear buns and I only go lighter on products on the day I want to wear it down. By weighing it down most of the time my ends stay heavily moisturized and strong.,