Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 30th Sep 2020
Split Ends Bothering You? Here's How You Can Prevent Split Ends
When it comes to ruining our hair aesthetics, there are several culprits, and one of the most annoying among them is split ends, which forces us against our will to chop our hair. Alas! Rapunzel tresses will only remain a dream. But this article is not about ruminating over something that couldn't be instead on how to effectively bid goodbye to split ends once and for all, because that's what we (your hair's well-wishers) are for.
Split Ends 101- An Overview
In the simplest of language, split ends are the split or frayed hair ends (the individual hair fiber tear opens) that makes the hair look too dull, brittle and, how do we put it politely - resemble a broom. Almost all of us have split ends.
Did You Know:
Medically, split ends are termed as 'Trichoptilosis".
Why Do We Get Split Ends?
To know why we get split ends, it is first essential to understand our hair's structure! Each strand of hair has three layers:
- Cuticle: This is the outermost layer of hair that protects whatever is inside. It is made of keratin scales overlapping each other.
- Medulla: Medulla forms the soft, central layer of the hair strand.
- Cortex: Cortex consists of fibrous protein and melanin (responsible for respective hair color). It is also the thickest part (layer) of the hair.
As per the researchers, everyday wear and tear, pollution, a lot (and we mean a lot of hair products), chemical treatments, heat styling, etc. cause significant damage to our cuticles.
Once the protective layer is damaged, the keratin scales do not fall flat against the hair fiber, which leaves the inner layers of the hair strand exposed. You can, therefore, figure out how easy it is for the inner layers to degrade. As a result, you end up with splintered hair ends.
How To Get Rid Of Split Ends?
Before starting with this section, you must know that you cannot repair split ends, at least the already existing ones.
To get rid of those unpleasant split ends, you have to trim them.
Sorry! But that's all you have got to do (at-least with the already existing ones)!
While you can always go to the parlor/salon for trimming your hair, you can consider trimming them on your own if you are comfortable because, let's get real - salons do not care for your hair length. They neither understand the difference between a feather-light trim and a length compromising the cut.
If you trust your regular hairdresser, then lucky you! Other than a conventional trim, you can consider Velaterapia (candle cutting) if your salon provides such services, and we repeat only at the salon. Please do not risk burning your hair and keep in mind that, like with every beauty technique or hack, this method is not free of controversies.
How To Prevent Split Ends?
As discussed above, the reality is, "You cannot repair split ends, but you can prevent them."
You have got to believe me on this- If you don't, then consult any famous hair specialist and you can ask yourself!
Prevention is always better than a cure. Following some simple tips and tricks, one can prevent split ends from forming in the first place and ensure optimum hair health because who doesn't want those luscious locks!
Here are some crucial things to remember for preventing split ends.
1) Be Gentle While Detangling
Avoid mechanical stress that is aggressive hair brushing or combing. The hair is in the most fragile (or we can say sensitive) state when wet.
Therefore avoid brushing wet hair. For detangling purposes, gently run our fingers through the hair or a wide-toothed comb.
Use a wooden comb instead of a plastic one to avoid the positive electrical charge, which leads to hair fall. Your hair has a negative electrical charge, and therefore using a wooden comb, which has a static charge, is the best.
2) Heat Protection
Say no to heat styling as much as possible. Keep your hair open and let it air dry as much as possible and skip the blow dryer. If, however, you are in a rush or do not have the heart to break up with the flat iron, try investing in a hair straightening brush.
The brush's bristles help in evenly distributing the heat through the hair strands and minimize the chances of massive damage with the pressing and pulling action of a flat iron. Use a heat protectant spray or serum religiously before putting anything hot and electronic on your hair.
3) Say No To Towel
We hope you are not still rubbing your hair with a towel to dry them. The friction not only leads to split ends and breakage but also frizz.
Once you step out of the shower, soak in the excess water with a cotton T-shirt or a microfiber towel. Here you are not only preventing split ends but also ensuring smooth, frizz-free mane.
4) Hair Serum
Hair serums are not a fad like perfumed facial mist. They have a real purpose when it comes to our hair.
Wet hair usually has swollen cuticles and a disrupted pH (the pH of water and shampoo being more than the ideal scalp and hair pH). Of Course, using a conditioner helps in restoring the pH to some extent. Still, you need to further seal the deal (pun intended) with a hair serum that coats the hair fiber and develops a protective layer over the cuticles, ensuring no moisture loss from the inside and no damage exposure from the outside. How cool is that?
5) Carry A Scarf/ Scrunchie:
You cannot avoid going out; neither can you avoid exposure to pollution when you do. But what you can do is cover or hair with a scarf or tie it up into a bun to minimize pollution exposure to the hair. Open hair equals more hair fibers being exposed to damage. So if you are heading out for an extended period, do tie your hair.
6) Use A pH Balanced Shampoo
Your scalp needs an acidic mantle to thrive and yield healthy hair. On the other hand, your regular shampoo might be alkaline, disrupting the scalp and hair pH, leaving it susceptible to damage - breakage, split ends, hair fall, etc.
A pH balanced shampoo will solve about 50% of your hair woes because hair care begins at the roots, with cleansing. Cringe! Follow up with a conditioner.
Thus, next time you step out to buy your shampoo or any hair care product, do not forget to buy the one with a pH level between 3.5 and 5.5.
7) Luke Warm Water For Washing
Hot water is another form of heat treatment. It not only damages your hair by making them dry and prone to split ends but also damages your skin. You do not have to go cold either, but something in between and that is lukewarm.
8) Healthy Diet
A healthy diet gives you healthy hair. So, pay attention to your diet.
Healthy and robust hair starts from the inside. When you have healthy hair, they can withstand everyday wear and tear, including heat styling and dyes, instead of unhealthy, weak hair, which is more vulnerable to damage from the slightest of aggressors.
Therefore eat your proteins, vitamins including A, B, C, D, and E, minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, and include the hair elixir omega 3-fatty acids.
Before washing the hair, rub some hair oil at your hair's ends to prevent excessive dryness and protect the cuticles.
Remedies For Split Ends
So we just let you down by stating that split ends cannot be repaired but need to be chopped off. And now, we title this section as 'split-end remedy'?
True, you would need to trim them to get genuinely rid of them. But suppose you are just not ready to trim it off immediately and are waiting for your hair to grow some more before you can bid farewell to the damaged ends.
In that case, we have a list of split end remedies that will help tame the spikes up to an extent and make your hair look presentable.
Panthenol is an alcohol derived from pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). Thus it is also known as Pro-Vitamin B5 or dexpanthenol or a bunch of other names.
Also, both FDA and European Commission on Cosmetic Ingredients has approved Panthenol to be used in Cosmetics.
It is one of our favorite alcohols because of its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and soothing properties, with rarely any side effects. Just in case you are wondering how can alcohol, which is supposed to be a nastily cosmetic ingredient, be so good? Well, nasty now, it is time to break the misconception and stop demonizing alcohol. Not all alcohol is bad.
Several drinks used in skin and hair care like cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol are moisturizing. They are derived from plant sources like coconut, palm kernels, etc.
Panthenol is one fantastic ingredient because it is both a humectant that draws in moisture. Besides, it is also an emollient. That is, it helps seal in the moisture and helps smooth down our hair and skin cells.
Look for shampoos and hair products with Panthenol to smoothen your hair, keep split ends, and frizz at bay. At Freewill, you have the advantage of creating a range of hair products especially suited to your hair type by taking a simple quiz.
2) Argan Oil
Argan oil is often referred to as 'liquid gold' and rightly so. First, it is expensive, and second, it delivers benefits amazing enough to be considered gold-standard.
Argan oil has plenty of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and the wonder hair vitamin E. The molecular structure of argan oil permits it to penetrate deep into the hair strand and nourish it.
While you can use argan oil on its own, if you are not comfortable with the idea of wearing oil on hair ends every day, then look for hair serums and leave-in creams with argan oil as one of the main ingredients.
3) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a versatile genius. Why?
It is easily accessible for starters, it's cheap, and it is the best oil for hair. The lauric acid it contains is antimicrobial. As it is a medium-chain fatty acid, it penetrates deep into the hair, absorbed better than other oils, and prevents protein loss from hair.
When going out in the sun, never forget to protect the cuticles from UV damage. Rub some coconut oil on the hair strands as it is a natural SPF with a sun protection factor of 8.
Twice or thrice a week, go for a deep conditioning head massage with some warm coconut oil. Not only your hair, but your soul will be uplifted as well. Also, look for shampoos, hair conditioners, and masks with cetyl alcohol, an alcohol derived from coconut oil.