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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29 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 »
Danmarks beste trylle shop

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 :)

T4APoHApquqkb

935389 5446­For any­one one of the lucky people?s, refer­ring pur­chase cer­tain prod­ucts, and in addi­tion you charm all of the envy of all the the numer­ous any oth­er indi­vid­u­als around you that tend to have effort as such make a dif­fer­ence. motor movers 250961

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 do a pro­tec­tive style… 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 hair… 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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