There are only a few things in the world that are more annoying than playing with your hair and unexpectedly finding a bunch of split ends. The worst part is that sometimes, no matter how much we take care of our locks, those damn split ends seem to always be there.
So what really are split ends and how can we avoid them? The origin of every kind might be damage and weathering but it certainly goes way deeper than that. In an interview with Living Proof‘s SVP of Research and Development Eric Splengler, Marie Claire gave a thorough explanation of the different types of split ends and what to do for each of them.
So let’s understand what we are dealing with first and then I’ll reward you with some of my favorite tips and hacks to keep your hair split-end-free.
1. The Basic Split
These are the most common type of split ends and are an early sign of split development. “In these cases, cortical cells are still largely held together but large sections are beginning to separate,” Splenger says. So what does this mean? Simply that your strands need more nourishment and you should invest on hair treatments that help seal your ends. My recommendation? Try some of Redken Extreme products.
2. The Candle
For this case, Splenger says: “The Candle is an example of significant loss of the outer cuticle with no split having started but highly susceptible to begin at any time.” Your best bet is to get a trim and also invest on nourishing oils to do some pre-damage control.
3. Fork In the Road
“These are slightly less common as the basic split and are examples of more damage to the hair fiber. The fork in the road shows more widespread damage and more significant splitting,” Splenger explains. Conclusion? Your hair could use a deep conditioning mask treatment like the Redken Extreme Strengthening Mega Hair Mask.
4. The Tree
This is when the game starts to get dangerous. “The tree shows an example where more damage has occurred to one side of the hair fiber than the other and as a result several ‘branches’ of cortical cells are beginning to separate,” says Splenger. This is when you book an appointment to cut your hair STAT, girl.
5. The Knot
A classic problem when it comes to curly hair, in this case the curl gets tangled and causes its own knot. “It will typically cause the hair to break at that spot from brushing.” Splengler warns. If you have curly hair, the secret is to be extra careful when brushing it.
Life Hacks to Avoid Split Ends
Now that you’ve learned about the different kinds of split ends, here are some of my favorite tricks to prevent them.
- Use lower heat when doing your hair. This is not a shocker: high temperatures are obviously huge catalysts for split ends. The higher the heat, the higher the damage. Turn down the temperature on your hair straightener and curling iron to around 280 degrees so there’s less damage to your hair when you’re styling it.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly before applying heat. Oils and heat are literally a recipe for disaster and by that I mean a recipe for split ends! If you accidentally don’t rinse your hair thoroughly, leave conditioner in and immediately try to style it — you are literally just frying your hair and opening the path for split ends. Make sure to properly wash out all the oil in your hair before you apply heat.
- Be careful when it comes to brushing your hair. Hair is fragile and it needs to be treated accordingly! One hack for finding out if you’re being too rough with your hair is to listen to the sound the brush makes as it glides through your hair. Pro tip: the less noise, the better. If you have insane knots and brushing lightly is not an option, try starting from the bottom of your hair and work your way up to untangle it. Ripping the brush from your roots to your ends is not the way to go.
- Consider cutting layers. Layers are a great way to get rid of split ends and to also add some texture and movement to your hair. It allows you to manipulate your hair more easily and also avoid trimming healthy hair just to get rid of split ends.