Split ends are a common hair problem that mostly plagues those with longer hair. This is because the hair ends are the most fragile part of the hair, and it is also the part that takes the most damage. Double whammy, right?
Split ends are annoying to deal with because they make the hair strands much thinner, and they cause lots of flyaways and frizziness in the hair. Thankfully, split ends, while common and persistent, can also be easily remedied if you keep your hair healthy.
What Are Split Ends
Split ends on hair are a condition where hair gets damaged and starts to break at the very tips, where the hair is most fragile, and dry hair can start to come apart. You will notice that your hair will split into two or more separate strands at the ends while still being in one piece at the roots.
What Do Split Ends Look like
Split ends can look a few different ways, depending on what kind of processes or damaging practices your hair has gone through. Here are some common appearances and types of split ends:
Basic Split Ends
Basic split ends, also known as single splits, are the most common type among split ends. They occur when a single hair shaft divides into two separate strands at the very tips of the hair. These splits are primarily a result of environmental factors and natural wear and tear that your hair experiences daily.
Double splits occur when hair is a little more damaged than usual. This is when the hair breaks off into four strands at the ends. So, the main hair strands break into two, and each of those strands splits into two as well, making four.
Fairy knots are small knots that form at the ends of the hair due to damage or weakness in the hair shaft. These knots can lead to further breakage and damage if not addressed.
Tree splits are when the hair has multiple points of splitting that can look like the branches of a tree. They can extend up the hair shaft and cause a lot of frizziness and flyaways if tree splits are not trimmed or treated.
Deep splits refer to splits that occur higher up on the hair shaft, closer to the mid-lengths rather than just at the ends. These splits can be more severe and can lead to thinning and hair breakage. You must address this type of split immediately with deep conditioning protein treatments and strategic trims.
Feather splits are thinner and more delicate splits that resemble feathers, with fine strands splitting off from the main hair shaft. They can result from dryness in damaged hair. They can also cause those pesky flyaways and can be addressed by using natural hair oils, conditioners, and hair masks.
Candle splits are splits that occur at the very tip of the hair strand, resembling a melted candle. They often happen when the hair is exposed to excessive heat and chemicals, particularly during heat styling. The extreme heat causes the hair to reach its melting point, resulting in breakage and shrinkage at the ends. To prevent candle splits, it is crucial to exercise caution and ensure that your hot styling tools are properly calibrated to the appropriate temperature that will not damage your hair.
By recognizing the different types of split ends, you can identify the type and severity of the damage, allowing you to take appropriate measures to prevent further splitting and promote healthier hair.
What Causes Split Ends
Many factors can cause split ends. Some are avoidable, and some are just part of everyday life. However, it is best to protect your hair as much as possible to prevent split ends. Let's start by learning about the different factors that can cause split ends, including:
Physical damage is the most common type of damage the hair receives on a daily basis. Excessive brushing, rough handling, blow drying, towel drying, and using heat styling tools can damage the hair shaft, leading to split ends.
Frequent hair coloring, perming, and the use of harsh chemical treatments can cause significant damage to the hair, weakening it and making it more prone to splitting. This risk of split end increases if you don't take proper care of your hair afterward or if you do these treatments too often. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize proper hair care and avoid overdoing these processes to minimize the occurrence of split ends.
Environmental factors are another source of daily hair damage that cannot be avoided. Exposure to the sun, wind, air pollutants, and other elements can strip the hair of moisture and lead to dryness and breakage.
Damaging Hair Care Practices
Unknowingly, you might be causing harm to your hair by overwashing and using shampoos with harsh chemicals and hair products that contain drying or damaging ingredients like sulfates, formaldehyde, and parabens. Additionally, overlooking the importance of conditioning can leave your hair dry and prone to split ends.
To avoid this, incorporate a gentle moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioners into your regular hair care routine that doesn't strip your hair's natural moisture. Choose products that contain natural ingredients that provide nourishment and promote healthy hair.
Dead Ends vs. Split Ends
It's important to differentiate between dead ends and split ends. Dead ends occur when the ends of the hair become dry, brittle, and lifeless, often due to prolonged damage and lack of proper hair care. These ends tend to look frayed and dull, making the overall appearance of the hair unhealthy. The only way to get rid of dead ends is by trimming them.
On the other hand, split ends can generally be prevented by adopting a proper hair care routine and regularly using products with natural oils that promote hair health.
No One Wants the Split
Split ends are a pretty common problem, but that doesn't mean that anyone wants to have it. Now that you know the different types of splits and their causes, you can know what to change and how to prevent or get rid of split ends.