Curious about how to prevent split ends on natural hair? Split ends, also known as trichoptilosis, are annoying because they lead to damage on kinky curly hair.
The Greek term, trichoptilosis, literally means splitting and fraying of the hair shaft. Splitting the ends of your hair leaves the cortex exposed, and this can lead to hair shaft damage.
In this article, you’ll find out how to prevent split ends on your hair naturally, so you can have the long, healthy kinky curls you want. If you’re going to banish split ends from your natural hair, keep reading to find out exactly how you can stop them before they start.
What Causes Split Ends?
Split ends are inevitable, and they can happen to anyone who is trying to grow their hair out. The longer your hair gets, the older the ends become. And unfortunately, the ends become weaker too.
At their weakest point, they can split into two branches. Most of the time, the weaker branch falls off, and you’re left with a thin end. This type of damage is known as a taper split end.
Here are some of the usual culprits of split ends:
- Color Treatments. Using chemical hair dyes to lighten your hair can lead to damage. Stripping the hair of color means you’re also weakening the shaft. The ends will usually show signs of wear and tear first.
- Heat Tools. Are you getting split ends after straightening your hair? Flat ironing and blow drying can lead to damage, especially when you don’t use a silicone-based heat protectant. HSI Professional makes a great argan oil heat protectant that can coat your hair and prevent split ends.
- Relaxers. If you’re transitioning into natural hair, you’ll find that your ends are the most prone to breakage. You may want to consider doing the big chop so that the damage doesn’t transfer into your natural hair.
- Ponytail Holders. Damage from hair ties is unique because the split tends to form in the middle of the strand. This type of split end is known as an incomplete split because the two parts later rejoin further down the strand. An incomplete split can lead to breakage in the middle of the strand.
You might even find split ends in hair extensions. If they are human hair extensions, you should treat them like your own hair and follow the same preventive measures listed in this article.
If synthetic ends are damaged, you can try reviving the strands by detangling, cutting, and conditioning. Or you may need to replace the extensions entirely.
Breakage and Split Ends
Split ends almost always lead to breakage. Here are four common scenarios of split ends on natural hair:
- Tapering. You might not see the effect, but as the ends split into two strands, the weaker part will usually break. After the weaker branch breaks, the strand will become thinner. You’ll know you have tapering split ends if you see that your ends are much thinner than your roots.
- Single-Strand Knots. When the hair splits into two branches, the two sides can easily loop around themselves to form one knot. When the knot breaks, it will typically create a new split end. And then the cycle repeats.
- Incomplete Split. This split end forms in the middle of the strand, and it is typical with natural Queens who wear rough and tight ponytail holders. The strand splits into two parts, then connects at a later point in the strand.
Dry Hair and Split Ends
Dry hair often leads to damage, since your hair requires moisture to thrive. Regularly hydrating and moisturizing your hair can ward off split ends. Always moisturize your hair at least twice per week, and then seal with oils and creams afterward.
This water-oil-cream layering technique is also known as the LOC method. Layering your products will help to keep your coils protected and will prevent split ends.
Dead Ends Vs. Split Ends
Wondering about dead ends vs. split ends? You may have heard the term “dead end” floating around, but all hair is technically dead when your cells push it out from your scalp.
The term may exist to describe hair that isn’t full of life. In other words, split and damaged ends. Damaged ends usually appear tattered and rough under a microscope because splits are not clean cuts. And to the everyday eye, they’ll seem dull and lifeless.
You’ll probably notice that your hair is more difficult to style and that it is much frizzier than it used to be before the damage. Below, you’ll find two of the best home remedies for split ends.
How Often to Cut Hair to Prevent Split Ends?
Wondering how to cut split ends without losing length? Trimming your hair is always confusing because there are several theories on how often to trim for maintenance.
Some experts recommend cutting every six weeks, but what if your hair isn’t damaged? Repeated trimming could mean cutting away healthy hair and sabotaging your efforts to retain length.
If you’re trying to grow your hair longer, you may want to avoid strict trimming regimens. Cut your hair when you first notice a trend of split ends. For many naturals, it means cutting about every six months.
Thinking about dusting split ends instead of making full cut? Dusting is a way to cut very little of your strand. You’d cut less than ¼ of an inch, which will be barely noticeable. The cuts are tiny enough to resemble dust.
You can also try the search and destroy method to handle split ends. Look for split ends and then cut each strand as you spot the damage.
Dusting and the search and destroy methods can both be tedious because you are making more time-consuming micro cuts, but it is an option for anyone looking to keep their length intact.
Be sure to use sharp hair shears when you do decide to trim. Keep them dry and don’t use them for anything other than cutting hair.
Always cut your hair straight across and avoid trimming at an angle. Diagonal cuts increase the likelihood of split ends because there is more surface area.
Also, avoid trimming when your hair is wet. Cutting dry hair will lead to less damage because the cut will be more precise.
What Oils Prevent Split Ends?
Want to know how to prevent split ends without cutting? It’s almost impossible to avoid all split ends from occurring, but you can slow the process by moisturizing your hair. Try using oils for moisturization.
As you probably know, oils can seal the ends of your hair and protect them from wear and tear. Sealing can help to control split ends from occurring. The best oils are those that have the following characteristics:
- Sealing properties. Sealing hydration into the shaft means you are moisturizing. Heavy oils and butter seal well. Shea, mango, and macadamia nut butter work well to coat the ends and prevent damage.
- Nourishment. Have you heard of using coconut oil for split ends? Some oils can penetrate through the cuticles and nourish the hair shaft. The most well-known penetrative oils are coconut, avocado, and olive oils.
- Lubricant. Oils like castor and jojoba work to lubricate the tips so that they don’t hook and cling to the other ends.
Purchasing and applying several oils can make your routine more complicated. You might try a blend of natural oils to make your regimen easier.
Butta Butta Cream is an excellent blend of oils that you can use to prevent split ends. You’ll only need to buy, store, and apply one product to protect your ends. In fact, Butta Butta Cream is one of the best split end repair products on the market.
Keep in mind that you’ll never be able to prevent all split ends. It’s normal to have a few split ends, but you can avoid many of them by making sure your hair is moisturized and protected. Also, aim to steer clear of heat tools and chemicals as much as possible.
What about you? Do you have any tips on how to prevent split ends on natural hair?