Wednesday, July 7, 2010

5 Ways To Help Prevent Split Ends

It's the hottest day of the year here so far.  The temperature as of 4:00PM, about 50 minutes ago,  was 33 C/91 F with a humidex of 44 C/111 F. That's pretty darn hot. My son is playing baseball tonight, but I don't think they should be playing in this kind of heat. Sometimes I sound like such a mother. Well, I guess that's because I am a mother. His game is out of town, and I won't be going, but he'd better keep hydrated.

Anyway, it's too hot to think much about hair today. I just threw my hair up in a quick updo, and haven't given it another thought until right now.

Last evening, I thought that I would check for split ends. It's always a good idea from time to time to check for them, as they should be cut out as soon as I see them.

Cutting out split ends is very important, not just for the look of  the hair, but also because splits can travel up, break off with a raggedy ends, and sometimes cause tangles that create yet more splits.

I am very fortunate in that I still have no split ends at my current length.  I was never that fortunate in the past.

While people tend to think that colouring hair is just about the worst thing one can do for one's hair, I'd have to disagree. My hair has been coloured for some 20 years, but it's only in the last couple of years that I've managed to have hair below shoulder length  that doesn't have splits.

I think that there are a few crucial reasons why I have no splits. Here they are.

1. No Heat Styling: I am convinced at this point that there is nothing more damaging to hair than blowdrying and using hot irons, as I did in the past.  I can remember finding splits in my hair when my hair was barely below chin length when I used a hot blow dryer and hot irons.

2. No Brushing or Combing When Hair is Wet: I used to comb my hair, or even brush it when it was still wet. I thought that I was being careful. Even back before I learned more about hair care, I did know about detangling hair from the bottom up. What I didn't realize is just how damaging manipulating wet hair is. Wet hair is very elastic, and if it's stretched past what it should, it will never go back to normal. Much as an elastic band wears out after repeated usage, hair will wear out and lose its elasticity as well. Wet hair is not only prone to breakage, but when brushed or combed, it can lead to split ends.

Nowadays, I let my hair air dry almost completely, at which time I very, very gently finger comb from the bottom up.

After it's completely dry, and only then, I use a wide-toothed comb to finish detangling, again working gently from the bottom up.  I do brush my hair daily , but I try to use a brush only minimally, usually after applying oil.

3. Using Conditioner: This sounds like a no-brainer, but there are people who, when in a hurry, skip the conditioner. I can't stress enough how important moisturizing you hair is to help minimize splits. Also, conditioner provides slip that helps to prevent tangles. I think we all know that tangles can lead to split ends.  Additionally, depending on your hair type, you might want to use a pea-sized drop of your favourite conditioner, rub it in your hands and apply it to the ends. I've also mentioned before that I'm a great believer in using a drop of oil on the ends to add an additional buffer. I do both.

4. Wear Protective Updos: Wearing hair up saves hair from the wear and tear of rubbing day after day against one's clothes.  Braids are also protective, but putting the braid in a bun, or folded up is better still. There are updos which leave the ends of the hair untucked. Those updos are still protective, as the ends are not being exposed to friction.  A fully tucked updo is still the most protective

5. Proper Night Time Care: I wear my hair in a scrunchie bun right on the top of my head. The scrunchies I use are made of silk satin.  I also sleep on a satin pillow case, which reduces friction.  For shorter hair, a French Braid is another good sleep option. There are also many people who wear silk sleep caps to protect their hair.  That would never work for me, as I move around too much in my sleep, but for people with very delicate hair, it's a good option.

Eventually though, everyone ends up getting splits at some length or another. When you think about how old the ends are by the time your hair hits waist length or longer, it's not surprising.

It really is important to cut out splits when you see them. Many people do a weekly session of looking for and trimming out splits.  The truly essential thing when doing this is to have a pair of very sharp hair scissors. Some  hair scissors or barber shears can be expensive, but I have found some excellent deals on eBay.

Even if you are just beginning to grow out you hair, treat it with the care you would if it's already long. That care will certainly pay off years from now.

I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.

Now I'm just looking out the window, hoping for a nice refreshing thunderstorm to come our way to clear out some of this humidity.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you're having a good day.

Love to all.

Edited to ask: Why do parcels from Germany come to me in a week, but parcels from the U.S. take 2 weeks or longer? Ideas?


  1. I'm going to have to have someone from Long Hair Forum come over to my house and show me what a split end looks like!

    I have been shown pictures and I've heard descriptions, but I have never seen this on my own hair.

    I get frizzy and my hair is strangely at different lengths even though I don't have layers, but I can't ever locate an actual split end.

    I used to have waist length hair and even then I could never find one.

    I tried doing the twisting your hair and trimming off the ends sticking out, but I have chunks of hair at different lengths and it is the chunks that stick out.

    You are way too far away, but I'm going to have to find someone to help me with this! :)

  2. I found a split on a shed hair the other day and my hair is short. Oh well.

  3. Wish I could comment on all the hair tips; nothing seems to matter when it comes to my own hair. It just simply is.

  4. I don't think I've ever had split ends myself either, but for that matter now I have a different problem. I'm not sure it counts as split ends, but it definitely goes in the "wear&tear" category: when you stress your hair too much by constantly keeping it in a ponytail, strands from the nape start breaking off at the level where the scrunchie rubs against the hair, and then you have these ugly strands hanging on your neck. I don't know if there's a particular name for this, but it's annoying and I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to stop this and aid those strands to grow back again (aside from the obvious not putting my hair in ponytails all the time, which I'm trying so hard to un-learn).

    And since I haven't properly introduced myself, I just wanted to say hi! and that I really like your blog and site. I stumbled over them yesterday while looking for a nice updo for an upcoming wedding I'm attending, and can't stop reading ever since. I really like the way you portray long hair as a long-term commitment, and think it's inspiring to find out that gosh, there is beauty and feminity in life over 30 too, unlike what stylists and lifestyle gurus would like us to think (I'm 20 right now and have been pondering upon this for quite a while). Cheers to you, and I hope you'll be healthy and motivated to write some more about hair :)


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