How to See (and Trim) Split Ends Without Heat

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By Jc of The Natural Haven

If you are unable to see split ends (or even if you are), your hair will still indicate to you whether it is damaged or not. As hair grows and gets older it has a tendency to taper due to loss of the cuticle. If you have split ends then logically as the hair splits the ends will get thinner over time. 

I have previously discussed the science of how hair wears over time and if you have not seen it, then here are the links:
1. Trimming for longer hair
2. Trimming how much and how often

Today I want to talk about one heat free method to ‘see’ split ends. This involves braiding hair in small-ishsections  (around a square inch or so) and then checking to see if the ends taper or not (See the image below).


Tips to using this method successfully:

1. Tension: You should braid with approximately the same tension. Don’t increase the tension as you go along or you may get a false result.
2. Sections: Small sections are necessary since hair does not grow at the same speed. It is very possible to have much longer hair at the back than the front or vice versa.
3. Styling:  If your hair has been cut into layers or weighted (thinned out in sections), this method is not useful for you unless you are growing out the layers and would be happy to loose the longer lengths.
4. Long hair:  Hair around the 12-18 inch mark and longer has a tendency to taper not because of split ends but rather because of normal wear. You can still use the method above but must make your own judgement call on how much you wish to cut

What is your method for trimming?

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


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45 thoughts on “How to See (and Trim) Split Ends Without Heat

  1. I’m very happy to read this article! I didn’t want to go to the salon and get a ‘hatertrim’ and preferred to do it myslef no matter how long it’d take…thx again BGLH!

  2. I tried this method this afternoon and LOVED IT! I worked like a charm. My ends feel wonderful and healthy, AND I’m going to have a fierce braid out when I take the braids down. Before when I trimming my ends with my hair unbraided, I definitely wasn’t being aggressive enough. I was cutting as much as I WANTED rather than what I NEEDED to cut. Today, it was so obvious to see where to cut. I cut with confidence and probably took about an inch off the ends. But who wants ratty ends just to keep length?

  3. What if you know that you have breakage or if your hair is but in a style? Will this affect the width of the braid towards the end? Will the braid tapering ONLY indicate split ends? I just don’t want to trim my hair if it’s not necessary.

  4. I find this article informative there I have seen others but this comes at the right time as I have noticed an increasing amount of straight strands which I finally realise are due to split ends (someone correct me if I’m wrong *crosses finger*) I have been trimming my ends admittedly with no regularity but have noticed that there are more straight strands poking through. After reading this article I think its looking likely that an inch or more will need to be taken off :(

    My hair is fine and grows slowly I have made changes I now finger detangling instead of combing, I believe has made a difference to my hair growth but in general my hair seems to grow slowly as much as my aim is to have healthy longer hair I am debating whether to trim the very ends once a month and have a better hair moisturising routine including weekly steam and deep conditioning treatments and see how that goes or take off more with the hope that that is the better remedy. Yes it is vanity that driving my choice although as I am writing this I am thinking the extreme option makes the most sense as I don’t want my hair to get worse and it will grow back and only I will notice its shorter so i’m off to bite the vain bullet :s
    Thanks for information :)

  5. i forever have split ends and its really annoying. only at the front of my hair though.What should i do? I have trimmed maybe 4-6” of hair in the last two years and it’s really hurting my journey.

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