How to Get Rid of Split Ends
Wondering how to get rid of split ends? Split ends can spoil an otherwise fabulous hairdo. If you despair of achieving sleek, glossy locks, it’s time to take action. I’ve been working with hair for many years, and it’s fair to say that most of us suffer from split ends at some point. The result of hair damage often caused by heat, but other environmental factors such as colour treatments or over-brushing or bleaching hair also cause split ends.
If split ends are downgrading your hairdo, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be covering the causes of split ends, how to get rid of split ends and how to prevent split ends in the first place.
I’ll start with an explanation of split ends.
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What are Split Ends?
Split ends happen when hair is dry and brittle. Every hair strand has an outer layer called the cuticle. When the cuticle lifts due to damage from heat or other environmental factors, the hair’s core can’t retain moisture. Without moisture, the hair becomes frayed at the ends. If split ends are left, they can ride up the shaft of the hair and cause further damage.
What do split ends look like?
Think about a piece of string or a shoelace that has lost the seal at the end. The ends begin to fray, and if you tug on it a little, the frayed ends start to ride up the string or shoelace.
You can also see our diagram above.
Of course, hair doesn’t just split at the end. Your hair can split anywhere on the hair shaft if the cuticle is dry.
What Causes Split Ends?
Whenever I talk to a customer about a hair problem or I write a blog on a particular issue like split ends, I like to go back to the beginning and understand the causes. I find it helps to inform the solution.
What causes split ends? Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 causes of split ends.
Top Ten Causes of Split Ends
1 Applying too much heat to your hair
Excessive use of a hairdryer at high temperatures can cause split ends. Or an over-reliance on hair straighteners, or indeed any heated styling tools. As a result, I’m a huge fan of finding more gentle alternatives for hair styling. Using your hairdryer is fine at cooler temperatures and for short bursts. Go to my blog on using Velcro Rollers for a more gentle approach to styling hair.
2 Exposing your hair to the sun
I love sunny days as much as anyone. However, the sun’s rays dry the hair leading to split ends.
3 Rubbing your hair too hard when drying
If you’re in the habit of roughly drying your hair with a towel after washing, it’s time to take a more gentle approach. Hair is most vulnerable when wet, and getting too rough with a towel can break the hair and exacerbate split ends.
4 Over-styling your hair
Over-styling comes in many forms: from over-brushing to too much combing. Even things like pulling hair into a ponytail can cause damage. Elastic hair ties are a big no-no. Choose a scrunchie or some other soft fabric hair tie. There’s nothing more guaranteed to break the hair than yanking out an elastic hair tie that’s got stuck.
5 Environmental damage to hair
I’ve mentioned the sun, but the truth is most weather conditions can cause hair breakage. Cold weather and wind are drying for hair, causing breakage and split ends. Throw central heating into the mix, and your hair has to contend with multiple different temperatures, all conspiring to make it dry.
6 Washing your hair in hot water
Wash your hair at a moderate temperature. Using water that’s too hot leaves hair feeling parched. It can also be drying for the scalp, which doesn’t have an immediate impact on split ends, but it does impact the health of your hair, which in turn increases its susceptibility to becoming dry.
7 Your hair may be prone to becoming dry.
Some of us have a dry hair type. So our hair is more prone to having split ends. That is often the case for those with thicker, coarse hair.
8 Chemical treatments can leave the hair dry.
For colour treatments to work, they open up the cuticle. Once the cuticle is open, it becomes more vulnerable to becoming dry. That’s why you have to pay more attention to caring for bleached hair or coloured hair.
9 Swimming in chlorine or saltwater
Great though swimming might be for your fitness, it’s another story for your hair. Chlorine is exceptionally drying for the hair, especially if your hair is coloured.
10 Cotton pillows cause friction which can damage hair.
As you move around at night, cotton pillows rough up the cuticle and can be a factor in causing hair breakage. Switching to a silk or satin pillow will give your hair a better night’s beauty sleep.
I could go on, but I think you probably get the picture. Pretty much everything we do to our hair can cause split ends. However, before I talk about prevention, I’d like to focus on how you can get rid of split ends if you already have them.
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How to Get Rid of Split Ends in 4 Easy Steps
You may well recognise some of the culprits listed above. If you already have split ends, you may be wondering how you can fix them. Well, here’s what I recommend in 4 easy steps.
STEP 1: Cut It
Allow split ends to linger, and you’ll find they ride up the hair shaft, causing further damage to the hair and even breakage. Nip them in the bud with a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath. But here’s the thing. Trimming your hair will leave your hair looking longer and lusher. That may sound counter-intuitive. However, a sharp edge at the ends of the hair leaves hair looking fuller than it does if the ends become scraggly and broken. Plus, if your hair breaks because the split ends are riding up the hair, you’ll probably find you have to cut your hair much shorter to repair the damage.
STEP 2: Cool It
Give your hair a break from the straighteners, turn down the temperature on the hairdryer and let your hair dry naturally once a week. Use a leave-in conditioner to add moisture to hair when styling. So, keeping focused on two things helps when dealing with split ends; use less heat and add moisture to the hair. Adding moisture helps smooth the cuticle and stop further breakage.
Leave in conditioner spray, Styling Mist for Natural Hold and Glossy Finish adds moisture and temporarily seals split ends for a super-sleek finish. Adds shine and speeds up drying time to reduce heat damage.
STEP 3: Love It
Love your hair and treat it well. Go gentle on brushing and combing. Therefore, don’t pull and tug the hair, particularly when it’s wet and at its most fragile. If you are combing hair when wet, use a wide-tooth comb and gently hold the mid-lengths of the hair so that you don’t pull at the roots. Start from the ends, working your way up the hair with no tension at the roots.
STEP 4: Treat It
Treat your hair to some nourishing ingredients. Imagine what you’d do if your skin started peeling after sun exposure. You’d add moisture. Choose hair products with ingredients that add moisture, not those that deplete it. I love pro-vitamin B5 for its ability to penetrate the hair with moisture. Plus, it helps to prevent split ends. A weekly treat with my pro-vitamin B5 deep conditioner, Restore and Shine Hair Masque, will help keep split ends in check.
How to Get Rid of Split Ends Without Cutting Hair?
The answer is that you can’t remove split ends without cutting hair. But the good news is that you can temporarily seal your split ends.
During my years in the salon, I found it frustrating that many hair styling products contained harsh ingredients. It put me on a journey of developing a new styling range.
As a result, the focus was to deliver something that would improve the condition of the hair but also give control and speed up styling to reduce the drying time and subsequently the amount of heat applied to hair during styling.
My hair styling products were professionally developed in my salon over a couple of years. The results? Innovative styling products that work as a leave-in conditioner, speeds up drying time and temporarily seals split ends. The products contain tiny bubbles of keratin and argan oil that go to where the hair is damaged, sealing the cuticle and the split ends to lock in moisture.
So, yes, you can temporarily get rid of split ends without cutting hair.
How to Prevent Split Ends
Once you’ve got rid of those pesky split ends with a haircut at your favourite hair salon, it’s all about making sure they don’t come back. Therefore, prevention is now top of your list in the battle against split ends.
Here are my recommendations below for how to prevent split ends.
- Use a good quality hairbrush. Brushing is a good way of bringing shine back to hair. It distributes the natural oils, helping the overall health of hair. But as always! Too much of a good thing can be bad for your hair, and over-brushing can cause breakage. So, take it easy.
- Heat makes hair dry and prone to breakage. I recommend washing hair in warm water, not too hot. Opt for cooler settings on the hairdryer. My preference is to avoid straighteners, but if you must, use them occasionally and always use heat protection.
- Go gentle on hair when it’s wet. Gently squeeze out water from the hair. Some towels can be a bit harsh on the hair. Therefore using a microfibre towel is a better option.
- Reduce time under the hairdryer. Our styling range speeds up drying time when applied to damp (not dripping wet!) hair before styling.
- Protect hair from the midday sun. In a hot climate, cover your hair to reduce damage.
- Wear a swimming cap. Chlorine and saltwater are incredibly drying for hair, so it’s best to keep hair covered when you take a plunge in the pool or the sea.
- Get regular trims. A haircut is not a one-off event or even a once-a-year event. To prevent split ends, get a haircut every 6-8 weeks.
- Sleep on a silk or satin pillow. Hair gets broken as we move around at night. Laying your head on a slippery fabric does help. Therefore, satin also works a treat.
- Add moisture to your hair at every opportunity. Condition hair every time you shampoo. Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week. Use leave-in conditioners before styling hair. For excessively dry hair, use a spritz of Glossy Mist. That will add moisture to your hair in between washes.
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About the Author
Norris Ogario is the founder and Creative Director of Ogario London. Developed in his London salon, the Ogario London haircare products reflect his belief that hydration is the key to fixing most hair problems. You can style hydrated hair with ease. Plus, hydration leaves hair shiny and healthy. Norris has over 35 years of hair know-how. With expertise in all hair types: from dry hair to fine or grey hair, from frizzy to damaged or bleached hair, curly hair and afro hair, Norris offers his advice.
I hate to see hair that’s damaged and broken. Split ends are not inevitable and I am on a mission to share my knowledge gained in over 35 years of hairdressing and working with many hair types. I think there’s a better way to treat hair and I write extensively about how to take care of hair and improve the condition of hair; from deep conditioners to gentle methods of styling hair and getting rid of frizzy hair. If you want to improve the condition of your hair and achieve shiny hair, I recommend taking a look at some of my other hair care blogs below.
Dry hair is one of the most common problems for hair. That’s why I focus on how to get the most from dry hair treatments in my blog, Dry Hair Treatment: How to Fix Dry Hair this Autumn.
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If you have bleached hair and want to regain your shine, read my blog, How to take care of Bleached Hair. Discover expert tips on taking care of bleached hair, from the best hair mask for bleached hair to how to fix hair damaged hair. Plus, don’t miss my case study on elasticity in bleached hair.
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For advice on how to look after fine hair. I’ve worked with many clients who have fine hair. Many common questions come up in my client consultations, from the best hair volume products to tips on how to style for volume to choosing the best cut.
Discover what makes hair dry and how you can add moisture in my blog.
Ogario London is a salon developed, natural hair care range. We are passionate about our products, and, delivering the best results is at the heart of what we do. Do you have questions about our products? Or, would you like advice on the best products for your hair type? Maybe have another question about how to look after your hair? If you do, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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