By Chin­we of Hair and Health

What caus­es dry ends?
Sebum is the hair and scalp’s nat­u­ral con­di­tion­er. In straight hair, this oily sub­stance can gen­er­al­ly move down the shaft to the ends fair­ly eas­i­ly because of the direct path. The hair’s close prox­im­i­ty to the scalp as well as con­tin­u­al brush­ing and comb­ing also aid in the trans­port process. As for tex­tured hair? That is anoth­er sto­ry.

The coilier your hair, the hard­er it is for sebum to trav­el down to the ends. Here’s my anal­o­gy: Imag­ine oil run­ning along a straight road ver­sus a path full of turns and twists. In the lat­ter case, the oil may slow down or even get caught at each curve. By the time it reach­es its des­ti­na­tion, only a frac­tion of the oil will remain. There is also the pos­si­bil­i­ty that it may nev­er reach its des­ti­na­tion. This process is basi­cal­ly what curly, coily, and kinky hairs expe­ri­ence. Addi­tion­al­ly, fac­tor in a min­i­mal brushing/combing rou­tine and the real­i­ty that some nat­u­ral hair works again­st grav­i­ty (i.e., stands up and out away from the scalp). We ulti­mate­ly have a case in which sebum just bare­ly reach­es the ends of our hair, if at all.

Now the expla­na­tion above is just one of many caus­es of dry ends. Oth­er rea­sons are list­ed in this post on mois­ture and length reten­tion.

How do you stop dry ends (due to inad­e­quate sebum)?
Since sebum may bare­ly, if at all, reach the ends of tex­tured hair, it is nec­es­sary to quench and con­di­tion those ends. Here are some meth­ods that work for me and may hope­ful­ly work for oth­ers:

1. Dis­card harsh reg­u­lar sham­poos
Sham­poos with SLS and oth­er strong ingre­di­ents strip my hair (includ­ing my ends) of their nat­u­ral oils. The sham­poo I use on a reg­u­lar basis con­tains more gen­tle sub­stances. Oth­er options to explore are con­di­tion­er wash­ing or using home­made nat­u­ral cleansers instead of a sham­poo. Some peo­ple also do a treat­ment with oil at a warm or room tem­per­a­ture pri­or to wash­ing to min­i­mize sebum loss from their strands. (Click here for hot oil treat­ments.)

2. Lath­er once when you sham­poo
Min­i­mal lath­er­ing equals min­i­mal loss of what­ev­er sebum is on my ends.

3. No direct sham­poo on the ends
I rarely expose my ends to direct sham­poo. I just focus on the scalp and let the water and lath­er run down the rest of my hair.

4. Sat­u­rate the ends with mois­ture and con­di­tion­er
Pay the most atten­tion to your ends while con­di­tion­ing and mois­tur­iz­ing.

5. Invest in good prod­ucts
Each indi­vid­u­al head of hair is dif­fer­ent, but this post may be a place to start in terms of what sealants, mois­tur­iz­ers, and con­di­tion­ers to try.

6. Eat foods con­tain­ing omega-3 and vit­a­m­in A
Few peo­ple real­ize that foods, such as salmon, can­taloupe, and flaxseeds con­tribute to sebum pro­duc­tion. For the omega-3 post, click here. For the vit­a­m­in A post, click here.

7. Air dry the hair in a pro­tec­tive style
Pro­tec­tive styling isn’t reserved for the pro­tec­tion of the ends. It has the added ben­e­fit, in my case, of help­ing my ends absorb and retain mois­ture post a wash­ing ses­sion.

8. Sleep with a silk scarf/pillowcase
The same added ben­e­fit applies here too.

How do you stop dry ends (due to poros­i­ty)?

I believe that anoth­er major con­trib­u­tor to dry ends in black hair is high poros­i­ty. What caus­es high poros­i­ty? Well, a num­ber of things includ­ing grad­u­al wear and tear of the hair. I real­ly encour­age any­one who believes they might have this issue to read this extreme­ly infor­ma­tive arti­cle: Part 1 . For solu­tions to the poros­i­ty issues, do check out Part 2 as well: Part 2 .

Ladies, how do you deal with dry ends?


Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/

Leave a Reply

30 Comments on "8 Ways to Combat Dry Ends"

Notify of
In 4 days, I will be nat­u­ral for 1 year after a big big chop. It has been a jour­ney but I final­ly found what my hair likes and I have 6″ of growth. I love my twist out and my ends now get so much love that I think the rest of my hair gets jeal­ous :-). I found out that heavy hair grease such as Ms. Akbari Oil Sheen in a jar works great for my hair and espe­cial­ly my ends for seal­ing in mois­ture. I then use TGIN twist­ing but­ter on top. With this reg­i­men my hair… Read more »

I always make sure I use con­di­tion­er, leave in con­di­tion­er and deep con­di­tion­er on my ends espe­cial­ly, seal them with oil and let them air dry. I also dont let them touch stuff like clothes much.


My friends from Ghana is going nat­u­ral and she tells me she always uses argan oil on her ends. She hasn’t had dry ends in aaaaaaages. The brand she got is called Pro nat­u­rals and it’s a leave in for after a show­er. So just in case any of you nat­u­ral girls wan­na get it on it.


My hair is relaxed every 6–8 weeks and I wash every week­end in between to fight dan­druff. My hair sheds alot and is dry and life­less look­ing and will not grow. I deal with alot of break­age and dry ends. My hair use to be long and full and pret­ty but with new baby and hor­mon­al issues thats not the case any­more. Please help…I miss my hair!!


Keep­ing hair mois­tur­ized is much eas­ier when you have all the infor­ma­tion. Many peo­ple don’t know that sul­fates dry out their hair and cause dam­age. Warm oil mas­sages are what I do when my hair needs a lit­tle TLC. It feels great and keeps hair beau­ti­ful and strong.

news article

An inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion is worth com­ment. I believe that you must write extra on this top­ic, it won’t be a taboo top­ic how­ev­er typ­i­cal­ly indi­vid­u­als are not enough to speak on such top­ics. To the next. Cheers


It’s hard to work out if I’m low or high poros­i­ty even after read­ing that arti­cle some time ago. My hair is 4c, fine and dense. When washed it takes about 5 mins to get wet ful­ly. It dries with­in about an hour after being wet. When air dried, it dries rough and extreme­ly dry. I have nev­er tried light­ly blow dry­ing. I find that if I oil rin­se, my hair often dries soft­er than if I just use deep cons. Deep cons do not eas­i­ly pen­e­trate my hair. Most­ly, they have no effect on my hair what­so­ev­er.


Jen­ny, have you con­sid­ered a steam­er? It can help open the cuti­cles so the con­di­tion­er can get into the hair. Also, a pre­poo with oil like coconut oil before you wash your hair may help as well. I know low-poros­i­ty can be frus­trat­ing like high poros­i­ty imho.


Anoth­er thing I’ve noticed is that find­ing out one’s hair poros­i­ty might be the key to solv­ing one’s hair issues. I think it’s a bet­ter gauge than hair typ­ing. Once I dis­cov­ered I have low-poros­i­ty hair, I switched up my reg­i­men and real­ized I didn’t need to close my cuti­cles with cool water after con­di­tion­ing (which is nor­mal­ly rec­om­mend­ed). Now I use a warm water rin­se to open my cuti­cles so that my leave-in can bet­ter pen­e­trate my strands and that has been a mir­a­cle for me. Also, the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment has been great for my hair…

I have low poros­i­ty hair and I’ve tried a mod­i­fied “cher­ry lola’ treat­ment. I just added bak­ing soda to my con­di­tion­er and co-washed. I liked the results. I stopped doing cold water rins­es as well. It left my hair a bit hard and rough as if I didn’t put any con­di­tion­er on it. It also made it hard for prod­ucts to absorb. I agree, poros­i­ty and hair den­si­ty have been much more use­ful in terms of what prod­ucts to use on my hair. Hair typ­ing for most is a great place to start, but, my means the only fac­tor.

To keep the ends of my kinky coily, Afro-tex­tured hair mois­tur­ized I…
-apply extra deep con­di­tion­er to my ends ends*
-focus sham­poo on my scalp/roots (via a col­or appli­ca­tor bot­tle)
-add extra mois­tur­iz­er to my ends before braiding/twisting/etc.
-seal my ends with cas­tor oil after mois­tur­iz­ing
-air-dry my hair in braids/twists/etc.
-sleep with a sat­in scarf and/or bon­net
-seal my ends with cas­tor oil when styling my hair into a bun or updo
-trim ends (cut 1/4–1/2 inch) every 3–4 months

I deep con­di­tion on dry hair before sham­poo­ing.


I com­plete­ly removed sham­poo from my hair regime. I use a mud wash to cleanse and apple cider vine­gar to clar­i­fy. I also spritz my hair with water and seal with jojoba/castor/argan oil mix dai­ly. My ends are much hap­pier now.


Mud wash­es are won­der­ful. I use it 1 a mon­th to give my hair a treat. Ter­re­sen­tials was the bomb.com but I refuse to buy any­more because of that dang ship­ping. So, I learned to make a home­made mud wash with ben­tonite clay, raw acv, a lit­tle avj, some essen­tial oils and baby it is on..:) 

look­ing at your reg­i­men you must have some gor­geous locks. Sounds healthy an all so nat­u­ral.


Just out of the show­er and after detan­gling, I usu­al­ly use Shea Moisture’s deep treat­ment or the curling sou­fle, and recent­ly I’ve been seal­ing with either aloe vera gel or a mix of sweet almond and coconut oil (all pure). My twists last for a good week and the ends nev­er frizz or lack mois­ture until I take them out. By then I’m tired of the style and wear it out for a day or two, and then I wash again.


A mois­ture mix of water, aloe vera juice, and EVOO sealed with grape­seed oil keeps my hair (ends includ­ed) mois­tur­ized for DAYS. I spray and seal usu­al­ly every oth­er night. I think find­ing what oils and prod­ucts work for YOUR hair is key.


I start­ed going to a tri­chol­o­gist after read­ing a book called “7 Myths about black hair.” She told me to start using shea but­ter as my grease (or coconut oil) and soft n free (a water based mois­tur­iz­er). I but one or the oth­er on my ends every night and that has helped a lot. 

She also told me my scalp doesn’t need to be greased. Has any­one heard of that?

Yes, our scalp does not need to be greased. It actu­al­ly could cause more prob­lems as it blocks your nat­u­ral sebum. Apply­ing grease to your scalp could also cause an inbal­ance on your scalp which can lead to irri­ta­tion and dan­druff. I remem­ber read­ing that in The Sci­ence of Black Hair. I often use tea tree essen­tial oil on my scalp if I have to use any­thing to com­bat any irri­ta­tion. Or I just use it because I like the refresh­ing feel­ing of tea tree on my scalp. As far as wash­ing, I do more co-wash­ing than sham­poo­ing. I may sham­poo… Read more »
Great com­ment mlank64, but I won­der some­times if I need to oil my scalp because if I go a few days and don’t my scalp tends to get real­ly dry and flaky. I have 4a/4b hair and have had seb­hor­ric der­mati­tis (sp.?) for a long a time and have just been get­ting over it recent­ly through using a med­icat­ed steroid oil that I got from my der­ma­tol­o­gist. I have real­ly bad split ends and was deal­ing with a lot of dry­ness a few months back, but real­ized it was because my styl­ist had given me heat dam­age. I have been… Read more »
There is tea tree oil which is very sooth­ing on the scalp. Per­haps you can mix it with a car­ri­er oil like jojoba, which is close in con­tent to the nat­u­ral sebum on our scalps. But, hon­est­ly, I’m no expert and I would con­tin­ue to seek out pro­fes­sion­al advice on this issue.  Mois­ture for me has been elu­sive until recent­ly. My hus­band jokes that I use “gheri curl acti­va­tor” on my hair. I’m almost embar­rased to reveal it, how­ev­er, I find it has helped in my mois­ture lev­el so much. I was some­one that had to mois­tur­ize my hair 2x a… Read more »
Grey Poupon

Glad you touched on foods. Eat­ing right does won­ders for the hair and skin and your over­all health.

I com­bat dry ends by spitz­ing with h20, seal­ing with cas­tor oil and tuck­ing into a bun.


What about the thought that ends seem most mous­tur­ized when hair is more detan­gled and not mat­ted. Has any­one found that ends stay mois­tur­ized when hair stays detan­gled?

Ugonna Wosu

its more the oth­er way around, your hair stays detan­gled eas­ier when its prop­er­ly mois­tur­ized. Often part of the rea­son you get tan­gles is because of dry­ness.


my hair is not porous and craves for mois­ture.
did the water test and it takes 15 min­utes for it to sink. So i mois­ture 2x a day and at night put a sat­in scarf on my damp har.
Noticed that Gio­van­ni direct leave in pen­e­trates the hair bet­ter and easy­er. And i def need to wash with a s-free sham­poo once a mon­th.

Seal­ing is also anoth­er method where you specif­i­cal­ly mois­tur­ize your ends. Take water and what­ev­er pro­duct you like most. For me, I like some kind of leave in con­di­tion­er and shea but­ter ( I always have grease if shea but­ter isn’t avail­able. ) Then I just mois­tur­ize to the desired tex­ture and feel. I do this once in between wash­es to keep my ends mois­tur­ized and com­bat again­st some frizz ( you’ll always have frizz ). I am a fan of pineap­pling dur­ing sleep ( putting all the hair toward the front of the head to pro­tect the ends from… Read more »

My hair is waistlength and I used to get dry ends, but I start­ed mas­sag­ing my scalp with my fin­gers and then I would touch/rake the ends of my hair bring­ing the sebum straight to my ends.

Actu­al­ly ladies keep­ing your hair clar­i­fied is a good way to main­tain dry ends. You want them real­ly clean so that your con­di­tion­ers and oils can ful­ly bind to the hair.That means you may want to take that sham­poo all the way to the tips. You may not need a harsh sul­fate sham­poo to accom­plish this but keep them clean and dare I say stripped of dirt and excess pol­lu­tants from the env­iorn­ment. In the win­ter keep your ends tucked most of the time. You don’t got­ta be fanat­i­cal but try to tuck most of the week. And the most… Read more »

Thank all you ladies…the advice was so so help­ful for me and my Lil girls..I’m new to this cuz my mom always did my hair n now I have 2 girls so I have to step my game up!

Ugonna Wosu

did you say ” a good way to main­tain dry ends”? Why would we want to do that? Any­way, you don’t need to sham­poo your ends, I’ve seen enough books for all races that have said this. They need con­stant mois­ture, it doesn’t need the help of sul­fates to make the con­di­tion­er stick cause its already con­stant­ly thirsty, lol. Your scalp needs clean­ing, so you focus there.


Lol excuse the typeo. It should say main­tain healthy and mois­tur­ized ends. Like some­one men­tioned above the greas­es, but­ters and heavy oils that we use make it hard for just sham­poo run off from the scalp to clean well. Especual­ly sice most of us seal our ends pret­ty fre­quent­ly. With all do respect all races don’t use the heavy types of prod­ucts that we use on our hair.

I sec­ond that! I’m always a bit puz­zled because there is a lot of con­flict­ing advice on the inter­webs about nat­u­ral hair. Yes, everyone’s hair is their own, but hair is hair and still adheres to some uni­ver­sal truths. I have found that only using a cleanser on my scalp and let­ting the cleanser mere­ly go down as I rin­se isn’t enough to ade­quate­ly cleanse my ends and I end up hav­ing to use a Den­man brush to ful­ly remove the lint, etc. that has col­lect­ed on the ends. Plus, using heavy oils on my ends (which I per­son­al­ly need)… Read more »