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Split ends - How to prevent dry and split ends

by Lotte Lindgren on Oct 29, 2022

Read through by Dorthe Kristensen

Hairdresser and former co-owner of the award-winning hairdressing chain Zoom by Zoom
With many years of experience in the hairdressing industry, Dorthe has advised many customers about hair and hair care. Dorthe has read through this blog entry to ensure high quality and professionalism. This blog post is professionally updated on May 15, 2024.

Table of contents

We can probably all agree that sooner or later we have struggled with split ends. Fortunately, this is a fairly common problem, although it can be annoying. There can be several different reasons why you get split ends, which also means there are several different ways to treat it. Fortunately, it's relatively simple to treat once you know why it's happening. In this blog post, we'll take you through everything about split ends, why you get split ends, and how to get rid of them so your hair can grow normally.

 

Don't be fooled if there are a few good tricks and some "aha" experiences hidden in these topics.

What are split ends?

Well, what exactly are split ends? Specifically, it is when the ends of the hair have naturally split due to some form of damage. The ends of the hair shaft are thus also the oldest part of the hair and also often the part of the hair that has been exposed the most. However, split ends can occur anywhere on the hair and not just at the tips. There are 3 common types of split ends.

What do split ends look like?

Split ends can have many different shapes, which we'll try to cover here. Otherwise, here is an illustration of what a split hair can look like:

Normal fork-shaped cleavage

This type of split is the most normal, where the ends of the hair shaft are split so that it has the shape of a fork. This form is most common and at the same time constitutes the early stage of a split hair. If you discover this type of splitting of your hair, it may therefore be a good idea to start now, so you can save your hair as much as possible.

Branched splitting of the hair shaft

If your hair strands look like the crown of a tree with a lot of branches, this is an indication that one side of your hair strand is more damaged than the other side. This type of split also often means that those hairs are quite damaged and need a lot of love to get them back on track.

Knots on the hair shaft

Sometimes the hair can also form knots. This means, for example, that it has a significantly greater risk of breaking when you brush it. It can often be people with curly or very tangled hair who can experience this.

Why do I get split ends?

Now that we know a little about the different types of split ends, let's take a closer look at why you get split ends. There are many different causes, but basically split ends occur because your hair is damaged to one degree or another. We take you through some of the most common causes of split ends here.

You wash your hair too often

Do you wash your hair every day? Do you just love the lovely clean feeling when you've had a shower? Your hair may not. If you wash your hair too often, it can be one of the reasons why you get split ends.

When you wash your hair with products that contain sulphate, the hair loses its natural oils, which is very bad. Sulfate is a cleaning agent that can easily be dispensed with. Often it is far too harsh on the hair, but it gives that instant 'clean' feeling and makes the shampoo lather a lot. It can of course be fine in appropriate amounts, but if it happens too often your hair will become dry and frizzy , as the scalp cannot produce enough natural oils for your hair. The lack of moisture in the hair can therefore lead to dry hair, which has a greater risk of breaking or splitting.

Washing your hair too often can be a reason for split ends

Bleaching or chemical treatments of the hair

Bleaching or chemical treatments of your hair help to dry out your hair, which can make your hair damaged and prone to splitting or breaking. It can especially go wrong if it is done incorrectly or if you do it too often. Chemical treatments are hard on your hair and need to be done with a lot of thought and planning before it's good. If you would like to know more about this topic, you should check out our blog post about bleaching hair here.

No regular haircuts

Are you one of those people who feel a sense of dread when you just have to go to the hairdresser and all of a sudden you've lost 5 cm? If you want to avoid split ends, overcome your fear and get your ends trimmed regularly. Here it can be a good idea to include your hairdresser in your plans for your hair, so that they know 100% what the purpose of the visit is. We recommend getting the ends trimmed regularly every 3-4. month. A few millimeters or just 1-2 centimeters can often be enough.

In any case, there is no doubt that your hair will thank you for it, as the hair becomes stronger by having some of the damaged hair cut off. In addition, you yourself help to control the length of your hair. If hair e.g. is very damaged and split, it can break uncontrollably and it is a sad discovery to suddenly get.

Regular haircuts can help reduce split ends

Heat and direct sun

The weather is often also one of the culprits for split ends. It may make good sense to take a second look at the weather forecast. If there is a lot of sun, it may be an idea to make sure to reduce the hair's exposure to the sun or use UV protection for the hair. The sun's UV rays help to dry out the hair and make it easier for it to break or split.

You are using too much heat styling

Is the straightener or the curling iron your best friend? So see if you're not going to find a new friend. Excessive use of high-heat heat styling can have a negative effect on the overall health of your hair. This applies especially if you do not use heat protection for your hair . This can often result in dry and damaged hair, which significantly increases the risk of split ends, but also of your hair breaking.

Heat styling can cause split ends

The wrong hair products

Split ends can also occur if you use the wrong hair care products. If you have dry hair and use a completely wrong shampoo and conditioner, you can actually end up harming your hair more than you benefit it. Therefore, it is very important to find hair care products that match your hair type to avoid split ends.

A small tip is to avoid sulfate-containing shampoos, as they can often contribute to drying out the hair and scalp.

Chlorinated water or salt water

Chlorine and salt water are not your hair's best friend. It wears out the hair and requires the right care to avoid getting split ends or dry hair in general..

Why is it important to avoid split ends?

Split ends are the hair's way of signaling to you that it is not doing well and needs help. It is therefore very important to listen to your hair's signals before the problem grows bigger. Often, split ends are a sign that the hair lacks care and moisture to return to a normal state. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments for split ends and dry hair, which we will give you in a moment!

Which hair types get split ends most easily?

Split ends, also known as split ends, most commonly occur in hair types that are exposed to certain stresses or have certain characteristics. Here are the most common hair types and circumstances where split ends often occur:

  • Dry hair: Hair that is naturally dry or exposed to drying factors such as frequent use of heating appliances (hair dryers, straighteners, etc.), chemical treatments (colouring, perms, etc.), and environmental influences (sun, wind, cold air) are more likely to develop split ends.
  • Long hair: The longer the hair, the older and more worn it is, especially towards the ends. This makes long hair more vulnerable to splitting.
  • Curly or wavy hair: This hair type tends to be drier than straight hair because the natural oils from the scalp have a harder time travelling down the hair shaft due to the structure of the hair. This makes curly and wavy hair more susceptible to split ends.
  • Chemically treated hair: Hair that is regularly coloured, bleached or permed is often weakened and prone to damage, leading to split ends.
  • Fine hair: Fine hair is less robust and can break and split more easily than thicker hair.

To prevent split ends, it's important to care for your hair properly, use appropriate hair care products, avoid overuse of heaters and chemical treatments, and ensure regular trimming of the ends.

Is it possible to repair split ends?

Unfortunately no. Once the hair is split, there is no way back but to cut off the split ends. There isn't really a miracle cure for split ends, the best thing you can do is prevent it. A good prevention of split ends is to focus on adding a lot of moisture and care to the hair

Our best advice for you with split ends

Now we finally get to the exciting part: what you can do to reduce split ends. We've collected all our best advice here. There are both recommendations for products, but also tips for your hair care routine that can make the difference in the fight against split ends. Read along here!

Get new shampoo and conditioner

Among the reasons was that you used the wrong hair care products for your hair. It can therefore be very good to look around for exactly this. If you often experience split ends, dry hair or electric hair, you can benefit from finding shampoos and conditioners that contain a lot of moisture and care. At the same time, it may also be an idea to find some shampoos and conditioners that are free of sulfates, so that you avoid drying out your hair. With this, you have taken a really good first step towards reducing your split ends.

Try a protein hair treatment

Protein cures for the hair are really good at repairing your hair. However, if you get a protein treatment for your hair at a hairdresser, it can quickly end up being an expensive pleasure. Fortunately, there are many good products on the market that are a great alternative if you want to do it at home. We can highly recommend our Grow and Glow hair mask, which contains hydrolysed wheat protein, keratin and a lot of other fantastic ingredients that care for your hair to the maximum.  

Take care of your hair when it is wet

We can hardly say it enough, but you really have to take care of your hair when it's wet, especially if you tend to have dry and split hair. When the hair is wet, it is even more fragile, where you can quickly damage the hair. Therefore, be careful not to save your hair too much when it is wet and ensure that it is dried in a gentle way. We can recommend our microfibre towel for the hair, which has an effective absorbent capacity.

Make sure your hair is dry before using heat styling

If you plan to style your hair, it is very important that you ensure that your hair is dry, preferably clean. If there is moisture or e.g. conditioner left in the hair, you risk burning the hair off. This also applies to various serums or sprays for the hair, they should preferably be applied after you have used heat styling. BUT, if they are heat-protecting products, you must of course always use them before you use heat styling. Special heat protection products are very important when it comes to heat styling.

Get a haircut regularly

We've already covered it a bit further up, but a regular trim can be worth its weight in gold for your hair, especially if you suffer from split ends. Start by letting your hairdresser know what the purpose is, then you are sure to get a good result. We recommend getting approximately 1-2 centimeters cut approximately every 3 months. You can advantageously ask your hairdresser to use the cutting technique "dusting", so that it does not go too far beyond your lengths.

Make sure your ends get plenty of moisture

When you suffer from split ends, it is often the hair's signal that it is dry and lacks moisture. That's why it's important to add a lot of moisture to your hair and especially your ends. You can use a hair mask approximately once a week, where the hair really gets a lot of care and moisture. It is important to use conditioner after the hair mask, as the conditioner helps to close the hair shaft again and thereby bind the moisture in the hair. You can also supplement with a hair oil to add moisture to the hair as needed. We can highly recommend our Anti Frizz hair elixir, which is a fantastic hair oil that provides lots of moisture and nourishment.

Consider changing your pillowcases

Have you ever thought that your pillowcase can actually have a big impact on your hair? Something so simple can actually be quite so effective. When you sleep on a traditional cotton pillowcase, the fibers are not particularly smooth and it can therefore wear on your hair. Conversely, a bamboo pillowcase has smooth fibers, like silk, which means that the hair does not have the same friction against the pillowcase and is thereby spared. You will experience a big difference already after the first night.

Drink plenty of water

We have talked a lot about external care of the hair, but sometimes the internal care is just as important. An easy tip is to drink enough water, as this can also affect your hair.

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