When split ends show up, they can undo your whole style. Instead of having a nice smooth texture, your hair will look rough and ratty at the ends. Not exactly fashionable, is it? So, do split ends stop hair growth?
Contrary to popular belief, split ends will not stop hair growth. Your hair grows out of the follicles located on your scalp, however, Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic, says if you don’t cut your split ends, they can travel up the hair shaft, thus inflicting further damage.
For those that don’t cut them off, the splits tend to run up higher on the hair shaft, splitting and breaking off more. This results in hairs of oddball lengths and looks unkempt. It’s best to take good care of your hair and avoid split ends. And should you spot them, immediately get rid of them.
Do you have split ends? Do you want to grow your hair out longer? Then keep reading to find out how to make that happen and enjoy a healthy head of gorgeous, enviable hair.
What are split ends?
Technically called trichoptilosis, split ends occur when the cuticle of your hair is ripped from the hair fibers. When hair is dry and brittle, it is much more prone to split ends. When hair splits, it starts off at the end of the hair shaft. If you ignore your split ends, it will keep on going and can even be in the middle of your hair strands.
That’s why we said to keep on top of those split ends. While you might not be thrilled with cutting an inch or two off your hair to keep it healthy, you don’t want to neglect your hair entirely and have to chop off much more than that.
Remember, hair grows from the root. The end is the oldest part of your hair. If you have long hair, the ends of it now were once the root several years ago. All the things you’ve been through, that hair has been through too. How have you treated it, that hair of yours?
Now that it has made it to the end of your hair, it is the most vulnerable and exposed part. Ends don’t last forever. To keep hair fresh and lively, you need to cut it frequently. By doing so, you keep it from getting exposed to the inner cortex where those frayed, split ends come about.
Even if you take care of your hair with religious precision, the daily wear and tear from brushing, styling, and the environment all take a toll. It’s important to stay one step ahead to always keep your hair looking its best.
What causes split ends?
There are two ways that split ends develop. They can either come on rapidly when extreme damage is caused to your hair, or more likely, they will develop over time when you do some daily damages to them. These items are detailed below so you can see if perhaps something you’re doing during styling is causing your hair to have split ends or if it’s some external factor. Either way, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on so you get your hair back to healthy and gorgeous. Keep reading to find out more!
– Physical damage and manipulation can cause split ends
Every day that you style your hair, you cause slight damage to it. Even just brushing it can lead to split ends, which is why your stylist always recommends you come in for a trim every so often. This helps keeps your hair healthy.
Of course the more styling you put it through and how you handle tangles will make for more damage. And if you twirl your hair around your fingers or pull the ends when you’re on the phone, nervous or bored, that also puts some stress on the ends, breaking down the hair cuticle bit by bit each day.
– Heat-induced split ends
Do you blow-dry your hair? Use a curling iron? A flat-iron? All of the above? You’re speeding up the damage done to your hair to give it split ends. Excessive heat is one of the biggest factors that leads to those frayed hairs. If you have your hair chemically treated (permed, straightened, or dyed), adding heat to the mix makes for faster split ends.
Can’t go without those hair treatments? Then you need to up your game to protect your hair or find ways to lessen the heat exposure to enjoy your favorite styles.
– Friction can also be a factor
Interestingly, it’s not all styling that does the damage. If you like to wear hats, hoodies, or scarves, these can speed up split end damage. The winter months can be horribly cruel to your hair with the drier air and those knitted hats. Cute and warm as they are, they could be rubbing your hair the wrong way. Even your shirt or jacket can do the deed if your hair is long enough that it constantly brushes the back of it.
And here’s something else…pillowcases! Do you sleep on cotton sheets? That leads to friction on your hair during any season. For the sake of your hair, get a satin pillowcase which eliminates the friction and allows your hair to glide off it like butter!
– Environmental reasons
It seems no matter where you live, the environment will provide stress on your hair that will cause it to fray. Whether the weather is hot, cold, windy, dry, or humid, you’ll have to protect your hair from the damage. Add to that all the styling you do and you’re just moving the split end process right along, causing those ends to run ragged.
– Internal factors that cause split ends
If you want beautiful hair, you have to nourish it from within too. What you eat has a significant impact on your hair’s strength. Make sure you’re eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed, fried, and sugary foods. Your hair shows its gratitude for all those key vitamins and minerals by being lustrous, bouncy, full, and healthy.
That doesn’t mean you can skimp on the outer care of your hair though. Approaching it from the inside out will ensure it is as healthy as it can be.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too. Just like your skin, when you don’t hydrate enough, hair becomes dehydrated. Nutrition is one of the easiest ways to take control over your hair’s health, not to mention your overall health too!
How do split ends affect hair growth?
Split ends do affect your hair growth to a degree. Cutting your hair obviously shortens it. But if you don’t cut it when you have split ends, those hairs split right up the shaft. Then they break off while the hair follicles are still in the midst of the growth phase.
Stylists recommend you trim your hair every 8 to 12 weeks and take about a quarter of an inch off. If you have fine, curly hair, it is more prone to splitting. It’s best to give it a blunt crop. Meanwhile thinning out the layers can only bring on split ends faster.
The thing is, split ends destroy your tips faster than your scalp can grow more hair. What’s more, when the hair doesn’t fully break off, it creates rough edges that cause tangles. These brush up against other hairs and create friction which perpetuates the damage and furthers breakage.
Essentially, it’s a vicious cycle. Sure, you don’t want to cut your hair short. But if you don’t do anything about it, it’s going to become badly damaged and impossible to style to your liking. Then you’ll be forced to cut off much more than you wanted. You really should go for that haircut. Keep reading to find out why!
Why you should cut your split ends anyway
There is nothing out there that can fix split ends. Once the hair shaft splits, it’s game over for that strand. Cutting split ends off will help hair growth and it’s the only way to get rid of your split ends. Hair can’t heal itself and there’s not a product out there that will do it. You can find quality hair products that will help smooth things over, but it’s really just a temporary solution.
Any true stylist will tell you there is no other way to get rid of split ends other than to cut them off. And the sooner you do it, the healthier your hair will become. Do it now before the rest of your hair suffers more damage for your fear of cutting off length. Then you can follow the tips below to avoid split ends as much as possible in the future and focus on growing out your hair healthfully.
19 tips on how to avoid split ends
Once you get that cut, make a few changes to your hair care routine and you’ll improve the health of your hair. You’ll see fewer split ends and you’ll only need to do those small trims unless you decide to go for broke and try out a new hairstyle.
1– Use a chemical-free shampoo to avoid split ends
Never, ever use hair products with sulfates, phthalates, or any of those other nasty chemicals. They all lead to hair damage.
2– Always use conditioner
Your conditioner should be free of chemicals too, and you should use it every time you wet your hair.
3– Avoid excessive heat when blow-drying your hair
If you must blow out your hair, turn down the heat. Use the cool blast option on your hair dryer to keep from overwhelming your hair. You can also use a heat protectant like this one by HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector to guard it from high temperatures up to 842°F (450°C), though you should section off hair so that every strand is covered with the protectant.
4– Oil your hair one to three time a week
Hair oils provide deep nourishment to dry and stressed hair. Kick back and relax while they go to work to soothe your strands.
5– Use a wide wooden tooth comb to brush your hair
This is a must when your hair is wet. Never brush wet hair with a hairbrush. It tugs at the hairs, causing them to split and break. Hair is more vulnerable when it’s wet. Baby it appropriately.
6– Drink more water to prevent split ends
Take a water bottle with you everywhere you go to stay hydrated. Use a fruit infuser if you tire of the basic taste so you get even more nutrition without added sugar.
7– Eat a balanced diet
Food that’s good for you will help you keep your hair healthy. Choose fresh foods and keep a balance of the nutrients your body needs. Don’t deprive yourself of important food groups like carbs either. Just avoid the processed stuff and focus on whole grains for your whole health, including that of your hair.
8– Use hair masques
Hair masques add deep-down conditioning to the hair. Using them once weekly can make a great difference in hair health. Briogeo – Don’t Despair, Repair! is a great conditioning mask you should try as it’s free from harmful chemicals such as sulphates, parabens and silicon.
10– Trim your hair regularly to improve the look of your hair
Make your appointment with your stylist for your trim and keep it. When you do this, you’ll always have hair that looks fresh and healthy.
11– Wash and condition your hair daily
Just be gentle about it! Use the right chemical-free products for your hair type. Some hair types don’t need to be washed every single day. When it feels greasy or you’ve been sweaty from the gym, wash it!
12– Use a swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner set after going to the pool
The chlorine from the pool can dry hair out, leaving it brittle. If you wet your hair in the pool, make sure you wash it immediately with a shampoo and conditioner set designed for swimmers like the Redken Extreme Shampoo and Conditioner (Amazon links). If it’s impossible to get a full shower, make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly in the shower by the pool.
13– Try to let your hair air dry often
When you can, keep your heat-styling tools away. Let your hair air dry after you shower at night and only touch it up in the morning. There are great products that allow for making air-dried hair to look fabulous, like the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer.
14– Make sure all weaves and extensions are light
These styles are notorious for pulling on the scalp. Ask your stylist about alternatives to these that prevent tearing at the hair and scalp.
15– Consider a new hair style that requires less damaging maintenance
Another thing to discuss with your stylist is a hair style that is easier to maintain without loads of heat stress. Your stylist can recommend what would look best to frame your face and works with your hair type and texture.
16– Avoid wearing tight hats for fashion
If you like wearing hats for style, try to refrain. Instead, reserve wearing hats for those days when you need protection from the sun.
17– Be gentle when you handle your hair
Use a soft touch when you wash, style, and brush your hair. And keep your hands off of it when you’re not styling it. That mindless twirling only damages I further!
18– Don’t towel dry
Remember that whole bit about friction? Towel drying your hair is a big source of friction. Get a microfiber towel instead or simply just let your hair air dry.
19– Line hats with silk or satin
If you must wear a hat, use silk or satin like with your pillowcases to keep from snagging your ends.
It’s not too late to save your hair. Vow today to start taking better care of it. Start by going to your stylist to get the damaged ends cut off. Then trade up your chemical-filled products and heat styling tools for better methods.
Keeping yourself healthy and nourished inside also reflects on the outside too. By following these tips, you’ll turn your hair’s health around and will love the way it looks and feels!