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Known as trichoptilosis or schizotrichia in medical terms, split ends are the bane of men and women with short to long hair because of their unsightly appearance. Just as its name implies, split ends refer to the fraying or splitting of the hair shaft, usually at the end of the hair strand.
What causes split ends? The most common causes are thermal (e.g., heating tools), mechanical (e.g., forceful or repeated brushing), and chemical (e.g., excessive application of products) stress that strip the hair strands of their protective layers resulting in their weakened state.
Before we start on the ways how to get rid of split ends, you have to visually inspect your hair to ensure that, indeed, you have split ends. You may also want to check with your doctor in case the recommended ways do not resolve the problem because split ends can also be a symptom of an underlying disease. Your doctor may check for a copper transport disease, such as occipital horn syndrome or Menkes’ disease.
Split ends come in several forms, namely:
If upon close inspection you find one of these signs on your hair, then you likely have split ends. You can then proceed in considering the wide range of home remedies for dry hair and split ends.
The quickest split ends remedy is trimming the ends of your hair. You can either have your haircutter do it or you can do it yourself depending on the length of your hair and your expertise with scissors.
If you choose to trim your hair yourself, you should keep these tips in mind for best results:
Cutting your hair by single strands instead of in one fell swoop will take several minutes, especially when you have thick or long hair, but the results will be worth it. You will not only trim off the split ends but you can keep most of your hair’s full length.
Yet another effective split end treatment is regular haircuts, which can be anywhere between six weeks and six months. The frequency will depend on the type and health of your hair, as well as the amount of time, effort and money you’re willing to spend on getting rid of split ends.
Your haircutter will usually remove about ¼ to 1 inch of your hair depending on your desired hairstyle. At this length, your split ends can also be removed so you end up with more beautiful hair.
If you’re growing your hair to a certain length and you don’t want to make a significant cut off its length, you can also ask your haircutter for a simple trim. You shouldn’t avoid haircuts just to save your long hair because when split ends are neglected for prolonged periods, these will become progressively weaker until they break off. You will still end up with a shorter hair than you planned, not to mention with split ends on most of the strands.
Getting a new hairstyle is also a good way how to fix split ends, albeit it will only be temporary unless you take the appropriate prevention measures. We suggest getting a layered haircut, which will leave the lower layers intact while also trimming the damaged hair on the upper layers. Your hair length will still be as you want it to be but your split ends will be gone with such a hairstyle.
Often, the best way how to fix damaged hair is to prevent further damage! Be careful about choosing and using hair care products since their ingredients, such as sulfates, can worsen the existing damage.
Even hair repair products that claim to repair split ends can have superficial effects – your split ends may be hidden from view but the damage is still present. Think of them only as temporary fixes soavoid using them for prolonged periods since these can also cause chemical stress.
Instead, we recommend home remedies for split ends that use natural products already found in your kitchen or pantry. You can avoid most of the side effects of over-the-counter hair repair products and save on money.
Your best choices are argan oil, almond oil, castor oil, extra virgin olive oil, and egg oil. Just gently apply one of these oils to the ends of your hair – no rubbing and scrubbing as these can worsen the damage – and leave it on overnight; use a shower cap to prevent oil transference from your hair to your pillows. In the morning, wash off the oil with warm water and pat dry.
Yet another way how to repair split ends using common household items is a hair mask. Mix equal amounts of honey, extra virgin olive oil, and conditioner in a bowl. Apply the mixture to the ends of your hair – don’t let the mixture come into contact with your scalp - and leave it on for 30 minutes.
Washing, Drying, and Brushing
Even the best split end repair methods will be useless when hair isn’t treated with care, particularly in cleaning, drying and brushing it. These tips may be commonsense but few people actually apply them in their daily lives.
These ways how to prevent split ends are all external. It’s important to look at the internal aspect, too, particularly with proper nutrition via a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and poultry, dairy products like eggs, and fatty fishes. Be sure to protect your hair from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, too, by limiting exposure and wearing protective headgear, among other tips to keep your hair healthy.
In the end, the best split end treatment consists of a wholistic approach! You can cut, condition, and comb all you can but if other aspects are missing, then you won’t achieve your desired results.
Growing up as a kid who played outside, Samantha enjoys an active lifestyle and emphasizes health as a key component to her life. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others so that anybody can live a healthy life. On the weekends, you can find her hiking around Southern California!