Natural hair split ends are a common life cycle of hair and occur when the ends of your hair split or fray. The splitting happens because the ends of the hair, which are the oldest and obviously the weakest, start to wear down or get damaged.
Your ends can split in different ways. It can split into two or into smaller ways to look like a broom. It can also thin towards the end till it exposes only the cortex. This is not something that you want to happen.
It’s hard to ignore splits ends. Once they become pronounced they stop following the curl pattern of your hair and you will start to notice a couple of things. Your hair will tangle very easily, frizz, and basically, it will not corporate when styled or straightened.
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Can You Really Fix Split Ends?
It is impossible to fix split ends. I know there are products out there claiming to fix split ends but unfortunately, it’s not possible. Once hair is split, the damage is done and the only way around it is to trim the split end off. What you can do instead is to prevent and minimize the occurrence of split ends.
What Causes Split Ends?
Split ends is something that happens gradually over a period of time unless there has been significant extreme damage for one reason or another. Some of the causes of split ends include:
Exposure To Heat
Well, this is pretty obvious. Too much heat on your natural hair causes it to start splitting or fraying. If you are adamant about using heat on your hair always use a heat protectant like this one.
As fancy and as beautiful as they look, colour treatments strip off your hair’s natural colour. This causes the strand to weaken and the hair to start splitting.
Excessive Hair Manipulation
How you handle your hair really matters as it can be the cause of your natural hair split ends. If you mishandle your hair and cause too much tension, it will break. The broken cuticles then cause your hair to start splitting.
Fiction on hair occurs when your hair comes into contact with surfaces and fabrics such as your hats, shirts, jackets and sweaters, scarfs, and even the pillowcases you sleep on. The constant friction exposes your cuticles causing them to start splitting. Use silk or satin whenever you can to help protect your hair. It’s a good idea to use a satin pillowcase like this one when you are going to bed.
It seems like all the different weather conditions can have a way of damaging our hair. When exposed, your hair is at risk of splitting. When it’s hot, cold, windy, rainy, dry – basically, in all climatic conditions your hair can suffer damage so your best bet is to make sure that your hair remains in good condition throughout all the different seasons.
Don’t forget to deep condition and use a protein treatment when necessary.
Your Overall Health
Are you malnourished, lacking in some vitamins, dehydrated? All these health deficiencies cause your hair to be weak and eventually start splitting.
What You Can Do To Prevent/ Reduce Split Ends In The Future
While there isn’t much you can do to reverse the split ends, there is certainly a lot that you can do to prevent and reduce split ends in the future.
1. Avoid Excessive Styling
Too much manipulation of your hair exposes it to physical damage. It also weakens your hair causing the ends to start splitting. Try not to do too many different hairstyles within a week to give your hair room to rest.
Don’t follow up a high manipulation style with another high manipulation style immediately. Switch to a hairstyle that has low manipulation instead. Also, avoid daily combing (try finger combing), styling, and manipulation of any kind to your hair. It’s good to let your hair rest where you can without touching it.
2. Regularly Deep Condition Your Hair
The best secret to strong hair is a great deep conditioner. Deep conditioning your hair regularly makes your hair strong, smoothens the cuticles to prevent snags and tangles and restores any hair damage.
Try to deep condition your hair at least once every two weeks to keep your hair in good condition. Deep conditioning goes a long way in preventing split ends and fraying.
3. Keep Your Hair Well Moisturised And Sealed
You don’t need any reminding on how crucial moisture is on your natural hair. And especially if you have 4C hair. Find yourself a good moisturiser and a good sealant and you are good to go. Some great sealants that I can attest to their greatness are coconut oil and Shea butter.
4. Regularly Trim Your Hair
People don’t usually like to hear the word trim but trimming the ends of your hair is good hair care practice. It minimises split ends to a large extent. Holding on to the weak and already splitting ends will encourage more splitting and before you know it, your hair will split all the way to the root.
How often you trim your natural hair will depend on a lot of factors, but ideally, you should check your hair every now and again to see if it needs it. You can go for a professional trim to prevent damaging their hair further, however, if you want to trim your own hair then you must use super sharp scissors.
5. Avoid The Use Of Heat
Try to refrain from excessively using blowdryers and flat irons and adopt heatless stretching and drying of hair. Both blowdrying and flat irons can suck the moisture from your hair. Once your hair is very dry and brittle, it is likely to cause split ends. Heat also weakens your hair overtime making it prone to splitting.
6. Keep Your Hair Protected From Weather Elements
While there is nothing much you can do about natural environmental elements like wind, sun, rain, and humid hair, the best you can do is protect your hair when exposed to these elements.
For instance, use hats, scarves, and headwraps during the hot and dry weather. Wear your hair in protective styles like braids to protect your hair from cold and humidity and so forth.
7. Quit Using A Towel To Dry Your Hair
Remember I talked about friction? Yes, this includes the friction caused when rubbing a towel on wet hair to dry it. Instead, wrap an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel to your wet hair to absorb excess water then leave your hair to air dry.
Final Thoughts On Split Ends On Natural Hair
Split ends on natural hair are unavoidable because of the fact that the ends will always be weaker as they are the oldest part of your hair and therefore more prone to damage even with the slightest exposure. However, with proper TLC, it’s possible to go for long periods without having split ends once you know what to do to prevent them.