natural hair split ends

Split ends and break­age are the bane of length reten­tion. How­ev­er, some­times hair just nat­u­ral­ly will split and break even with the best care pos­si­ble. This arti­cle is intend­ed for those who real­ly are doing every­thing right (gen­tle han­dling, hap­py with your wash and mois­ture rou­tine), but still see split ends and break­age. If you have fine hair that has mul­ti­ple kinks and a tight curl, you may be used to see­ing the­se tiny wisps of hair when you run your hand through/over your hair or when you comb/detangle. Your hair is high­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to split­ting and break­ing as a result. How­ev­er, it is still pos­si­ble to gain length pro­vid­ed you deal with the hair fiber cor­rect­ly. Here are some tips:


1. Reduce over­all styling time of free hair
The less you manip­u­late your hair, the less dam­age you do to it. The high­est amount of break­age out­side of detan­gling tends to be seen when hair strands are being styled while free. There­fore reduc­ing this over­all styling time is a big key to retain­ing length. For exam­ple:

- Lady A: Wears a twistout reg­u­lar­ly. It takes 3 hours to install ini­tial twists and after that point dai­ly styling requires 10 min­utes in the morn­ing and anoth­er 10 min­utes to prep at night. Over the course of two weeks, just under 8 hours are spent styling free hair.

- Lady B: Wears own hair twists which take 3 hours to install. The style is kept for 2 weeks at a time with­out undo­ing the twists. Over the course of two weeks, 3 hours are spent styling free hair.

- Lady C: Wears box braids which take 10 hours to install and the style is kept for 8 weeks at a time with­out undo­ing. Over the course of two weeks, 2.5 hours are spent styling free hair.

I have used typ­i­cal styles and times in the exam­ples above. The point of the exam­ples is sim­ply to say, reduce the time you spend styling your free strands of hair and reduce the like­li­hood of break­age of those strands.

2. Nev­er go on a no-trim chal­lenge

The more your hair nat­u­ral­ly has a ten­den­cy to split/break, the more fre­quent­ly you need to trim. Hair is pre­dictable, if it snaps eas­i­ly because it has kinks, it will always do so despite your best efforts as the kinks will always be there. Trim­ming should be a con­stant and con­sis­tent part of your rou­tine to make sure that the bro­ken hair is under con­trol. Split ends or fib­ril­lat­ed ends from break­age will form a hotspot for push­ing break­age fur­ther up the shaft. I would rec­om­mend a dust­ing rou­tine where you cut off a quar­ter of an inch every 2 months or so. Please pick up a ruler and look at a quar­ter of an inch, it is not much at all, just enough to pinch off the bro­ken ends. If your hair is long enough, a search and destroy rou­tine can work too, but you should do it thor­ough­ly and fre­quent­ly e.g once a mon­th.

3. Wet hands not wet hair
Many nat­u­rals will nat­u­ral­ly begin styling by get­ting out a spray bot­tle and mist­ing hair. If your hair shrinks eas­i­ly , you may have found that this is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive as hair only shrinks and it becomes more dif­fi­cult to part or sep­a­rate strands BUT you can work around it. A slight amount of water is all that is need­ed to make hair more flex­i­ble. Mist a small amount of water onto your hands, enough to get them moist but not enough to drip water off. Apply that small amount of water to a sec­tion of hair (if you work in quar­ters, apply to one quar­ter), tak­ing care to smooth it from root to tip. Give it a min­ute or so to sink in then imme­di­ate­ly start work­ing on the sec­tion. Reap­ply water to your hands should your hair stop being flex­i­ble.


Do you find your­self deal­ing with break­age-prone hair? What prac­tices have you imple­ment­ed in your reg­i­men to com­bat break­age and split ends?

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15 Comments on "3 Tips For Dealing with Natural Hair That Constantly Breaks and Splits"

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Joan B. in S. C.

Guilty of #1 and #2. Was always wet­ting my hair, but gave wet­ting my hands a try and it worked a lot bet­ter. Thanks for the arti­cle.


Such a good arti­cle, every­thing that is said is the truth. Now I know I was on the right path!


OMG, I had this prob­lem last night. Well actu­al­ly it was snarling and knot­ting togeth­er and then it would break when I would try to work out the knot. I was so bummed.

Yvette M

I wish I had done num­ber 1 soon­er. I didn’t retain length because of hav­ing free hair for too long. Hope­ful­ly I will turn this around since I’m pro­tec­tive styling again

Miss T

My hair is very fine, kinky, 4c/4b, Its extreme­ly frag­ile and breaks quite a bit. I’ve been using amla oil for a mon­th and the shed­ding and break­age is 80%-90% bet­ter. It smells kin­da her­by and like liquorice, but the smell goes away after a day.

Final­ly some­thing for the fine high­ly tex­tured girls. I am a fine 4c hair girl here. My strands are so frag­ile that even with the best prac­tices it still breaks. I am going to imple­ment the more fre­quent trim­ming AND i need to add that styles that are as low manip­u­la­tion to take down as pos­si­ble are good too. I find that tiny lit­tle box braids require so much manip­u­la­tion of the ends that they aren’t worth it. I make braids with twists down the last two-3 inch­es of hair and pin them up 50% of the time. But hon­est­ly,… Read more »
Hi, fel­low 4-Cot­ton-er here Just a few things… Any­thing besides your actu­al hair is heavy (to the root) and pulls at the root. (Which can cause the hair to fall out, espe­cial­ly at the weakest point, the hair­line.) (I wore super light yarn braids and lost a half inch to an inch of hair line. Lucky me.)  It also dries the ends of the hair, because mois­ture is drawn out from the hair more quick­ly where it is thinnest (check: take a hand­ful of hair, trace from root to tip, see how the thick­ness reduces as you pro­ceed down­wards). When your… Read more »
Napturally Nesey

I am in the same boat. I find that putting my hair in mini twists or cro­chet braids help a lot. I cur­rent­ly have cro­chet braids so I can play with the cro­chet hair with­out caus­ing any dam­age to my own hair. I also make sure to exam­ine my ends and trim accord­ing­ly.


“Wet hair, not hands”.…Now there’s some­thing that may rev­o­lu­tion­ize my detan­gling expe­ri­ence!


I only see the tiny wisps of hair only when it’s wet though. what does that mean

Shay M

#3 Espe­cial­ly! My hair shrinks up to 75%-80% of its true length and this has been so help­ful to me and I try to spread the knowl­edge it makes de-tan­gling a breeze because your hair stay rel­a­tive­ly stretched yet lubri­cat­ed enough to de-tan­gle gen­tly. Same goes for con­di­tion­er just a small amount for fin­ger de-tan­gling!

Miss Elisa K.

Great post! My hair is begin­ning to break a bit (line of demar­ca­tion- col­ored nat­u­ral edi­tion). The­se are help­ful tips that I know but for­got as my hair grew. Time to revis­it the old faith­fuls.


The­se arti­cles are great but I miss the style icons :(… bglh hasn’t had one in a min­ute… i can’t wait til I get my hair to where I want it to be so I can be a style icon one day :)


You should do it now. So every­one can see the pro­gres­sion. :-)


Thanks! I will :)