By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care

Split ends are weakened areas along the hair shaft where the cuticle is breaking apart and the cortex of the hair is exposed. When hair becomes dry, brittle and under-moisturized without relief, the cuticle naturally begins to crack, chip and unravel. If left uncorrected, the split will worsen and begin exposing the inner cortex of the hair.

Depending on how the split end is situated on the hair shaft, a single split can unravel and travel quite a ways up the hair shaft. But most split ends simply peel away or break off near their starting points. The best way to get rid of split ends is to prevent new ones from occurring. Here are some tips for preventing split ends:

1. Trim Hair with Sharp, Quality Hair Shears

Trimming your ends regularly with sharp shears before they break off is great split end preventive maintenance. Clean cutting is very important to prevent split ends, and only sharp shears can guarantee a clean break. Make sure that your hair shears are only used on the hair. Using your scissors to clip coupons or to perform other random tasks will dull your shears.

2. Cut Hair Ends Straight Across

In addition to using sharp shears to maintain your ends, the direction of your trim is also important. Always snip straight across the ends of your hair, never at an angle. Angled trims increase the surface area of the new end and introduce more opportunities for splitting and breakage.

3. Avoid Wet Trimming

Whenever possible, trim your hair while it is dry. Some people prefer wet trimming, but this can lead to split ends, especially if the shears are dull. Think about cutting paper. Cutting wet paper does not give you as clean a cut as cutting the same paper dry. The same principle applies to your hair.

4. Reduce Your Heat

Heat is often the main cause of split ends resulting from physical hair trauma, because heat quickly reduces the hair’s natural moisture balance. Heat also temporarily alters the hair’s protein structure, which would typically keep the hair’s moisture balance in check. Repeated use of heated styling tools like flat irons and blow dryers should be avoided. If heat styling is a must, only use heat on freshly conditioned, clean hair that has been sprayed with a thermal protectant to prevent split ends.

5. Cut Out the Chemicals

Chemical processes like color treatments, relaxers and perms add spice to any style, but they must get deep into the hair’s cuticle to work their magic. Unfortunately, to get inside, these chemicals must break down and degrade the cuticle. When the cuticle is weakened, split ends are bound to appear at all points along the hair shaft. For color, stick with deposit-only colors and rinses.

6. Increase Deep Conditioning

Deep conditioning weekly with quality moisturizing conditioners and protein reconstructors is great for split end prevention. Protein treatments reinforce the cuticle and hair shaft so that they can resist premature chipping, peeling and breaking, while moisturizing deep conditioners help restore the hair’s delicate moisture balance.

7. Create a Moisture Barrier

Daily moisturizing with water-based moisturizing products and oiling the hair as a seal will also help prevent split ends. These products lubricate the hair fiber and keep the hair soft and supple. They also shield the hair from the harsh sun and other environmental hair stressors, like wind and humidity. Focus daily moisturizers and oils near the ends of the hair shaft, which are more vulnerable to split ends than the roots.

Ladies, how do you deal with split ends?

Audrey Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, health scientist and author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (available on Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com).

For more insight from The Science of Black Hair— relaxed, natural or in between, visit us on the web atwww.blackhairscience.com and on facebook & twitter.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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30 Comments on "7 Ways to Prevent Split Ends"

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May

I use argan oil EVERYTHING and it does prevent split ends 🙂 I use sulfate free shampoo too, anything from the Pro naturals haircare line, they have the BEST argan oil stuff you can get.

Ashley

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Ceddranique

Funny. This article was made on my birthday last year! *holllaaaa* (:
I’m 13, and just starting my hair journey (relaxed). I just cut off my split ends. (Hadn’t had a trim in 7-8 months!!! :P). Follow me on ig: @triangularpolaroids

awesome

hi guys!please can you help me? iv’e got a head full of really really thick hair. the roots are thick but i cant get the ends thick as well. I’ve tried trimming and it’s great as it gains length but doesn’t thicken them. any tips? :-S

Charlotte
I have to say, it does not matter what routine I follow or what I do, my hair just cannot be “healthy” of healthy means it lacks breakage, split ends, weak hair, etc. But my hair is hip length and has never fallen out of my head plus it has always grown very fast. My hair pretty much defies what every expert thinks they know about hair. Personally I don’t care if ppl think that I should cut my hair because it does not fit their standard of healthy. I remember cutting my hair so much when I was younger… Read more »
Ariana

I can’t find a miracle product that stops my hair from splitting. I get TONS of single stand knots. You moisturized a lot. What do you use that doesn’t make your face feel greasy?!!?

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hello!,I like your writing very so much! percentage we keep in touch more about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this area to unravel my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to look you.

Natasha

Hi Natasha Hannah

Natasha

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Natasha
Those magical products claiming to repair split in are a gimmick! It’s a typical marketing scheme aimed at us hair-care-fanatics. They know we will buy it because we are so concerned about our ends. These products work by TEMPORARILY ‘gluing’ the ends together giving the illusion of fixed split ends. They don’t repair them permanently. Also, they can claim they “repair” because they do, in fact, put a bandaid over the problem and keeps that bandaid over it with continued use. Ta-Da! It’s repaired! 935389 5446For anyone one of the lucky people?s, referring purchase certain products, and in addition you… Read more »
Mary

I hate split ends…I always make sure I get a regular trim to prevent them. I even went all out and bought the whole Pro Naturals hair care line online from beyas, good thing I did though because my hair is looking awesome and I haven’t had any more split ends yet 🙂

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Zenith

I trim my hair every 3-4 months (1/4 in) with every sharp shears.
I also DC once a week, always use a light leave in conditioner, cowash (instead of shampoo) and seal ends with a combo of argan and coconut oils. I rarely see a knot or a split end. Oh, and I use no heat or chemicals whatsoever.

Michelle

I rinse with beer and add boiled ground protein (sago, barley, linseed and occasionally oats) to my shampoo and conditioner. I trim my ends when my hair is dry but I always thought that was the WRONG way to do it, turns out that is was the RIGHT way 🙂

Carla

I had no idea wet trimming was bad for the hair! For me, wet trimming helps me trim my hair because my dry hair is too curly. I guess I’ll have to find a different way…

LM

i too usually trim on wet hair, because I can wrap the wet ends around my finger tips to see how much I am cutting. the ends stick to my finger because they’re wet. Maybe I can use a creamy leave in instead to get the same effect. How else am I suppose to know how much I am cutting?

Natalee

I’ve been doing all of these for a little over 3 years and still had a few splits and fairy knots until I started moisturizing daily. Moisturizing is key for me! It makes everything easier (detangling, shampooing, etc.), especially when it comes to keeping my ends hydrated. I had to trim my hair last month and found minimal splits and trimming was a breeze.

Charlotte

When you say moisturize daily did you have to add a water based moisturizer along with the oil or can you just apply oil? Let me know, thanks.

Alleyah

Hi everyone! Please visit and favorite my blog eatworkthrive.com.
Natural hair care tips and more.
Thanks

chichi
HI ! I’m not natural anymore so not sure I’m even suppose to give a contribution here… I just couldn’t let go of this site… Anyway, in order to prevent split ends I have few tips though -when I moisturize I always start with the ends so I won’t neglect or forget to apply product there -I add castor oil to the ends… every time I remember to do it! -I do the ‘search and destroy method’ so I won’t cut healthy hair -when I detangle I start with the ends when its damp not wet or dry -when I… Read more »
Carla

I learned I have to moisturize and seal my hair daily. At least seal my ends. I wash often (ever 3-4 day) so that keeps my moisture level high…

Charlotte

I agree. Even if a person’s hair seems to hold onto moisture well I think ppl should err on at least moisturizing the ends daily.

KaraJ

I have seen so many new products that say they repair split ends which makes me wonder how it works but I say the best way is to start fresh and clip the split ends also sealing your ends can also prevent split ends. I normally use castor oil works great!!!

Rennie

Hi,

Those magical products claiming to repair split in are a gimmick! It’s a typical marketing scheme aimed at us hair-care-fanatics. They know we will buy it because we are so concerned about our ends. These products work by TEMPORARILY ‘gluing’ the ends together giving the illusion of fixed split ends. They don’t repair them permanently. Also, they can claim they “repair” because they do, in fact, put a bandaid over the problem and keeps that bandaid over it with continued use. Ta-Da! It’s repaired!

That stuff is bologna! Cut those bad babies and keep it moving…

Bernadette
In terms of dealing with split ends — I cut those bad boys off. Any sort of repair is a temporary fix. Every 2-3 months I do the “search & destroy” method where I examine my ends and cut the splits, the knots, and mid shaft splits. At one point, I was so obsessed with removing splits I would use my work scissors to cut them when I saw them. Hair scissors are now my BFF! When I’m not feeling lazy, I moisturize every other day, I haven’t used heat in years, and I am a firm believer (for my… Read more »
Charlotte
I couldn’t agree more. I used to dc my hair to try to prevent frizz and I figured out that the reason my hair was frizzy was because I was obeying the number one rule of curly hair which for me needs to be broken. I have to comb my hair if I want to wear it down. Exclusively wet combing my hair and not combing it again makes it look a bit frizzy. The only reason I do a weekly treatment with coconut oil is to reduce the amount of tangling my hair experiences under the shower head. I… Read more »
LillianMae

After 2 years, yesterday was my first time NOT using a deep conditioner! I was so afraid that my hair today would just snap right off, but lo and behold, she didn’t :). IDK if it was because I did my clay treatment yesterday or not, but it was a success! I might be able to cut it down to twice a month, rather than weekly.

Bernadette

I forgot to ask: How often do you do the clay treatment?

Bernadette

Yeah, I stopped using deep conditioners only because it added an extra 40 minutes to my routine. I’m always looking for ways to cut down on time. I haven’t seen much of an impact.

I do, though, pre-poo by conditioning my hair as soon as I take out my 2 strand twists.

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