If there is hell on earth then to any individual who is trying to grow and retain length, split ends can be the devil in disguise. Split ends (or Trichoptilosis, tricho from the Greek language translated as “hair” and the New Latin ptilosis ” translated as the composition of feathers in clearly defined areas” from the Greek meaning “feather”, schizotrichia, casually known as split ends, is the splitting of the hair-shaft due to excessive heat and manual stress of tools) happen when the protective cuticle has been stripped away from the ends of hair fibers. Split ends develop mostly in dry or brittle hair. Once the cuticle is removed it cannot be replaced. Here is everything you need to know about split ends and what you can do to keep your ends sane.

Causes of Split ends: Are genetically dry hair, coloring, perming, relaxing, too much heat (including blow dryers) and lack of self- induced moisture. Examples of manual stress of tools include pulling a comb or brush excessively and forcefully through tangled hair. I would never use a brush on my hair (to be honest if I tried a brush I don’t think it would come out) but this is for those that do.

Repairing split ends: is a huge myth. There is no real way to repair split ends except to cut them off

Sealing split ends: This is a method of temporarily putting back together split ends for appearance wise. The best way to seal ends is to use serum. The split ends will seal together but this method is very much like using tape or glue to seal your ends, which can cause even more damage as the split ends can travel further along the shaft ( your strands will divide into two making them weak which will eventually lead to breakage) as the serum wears off but most commonly split ends tend to break off not far from the damaged area. I know someone might be thinking “well what is the point of cutting split ends if they simply break off regardless?” The answer is after the breakage you are still left with frayed ends which means that strand is more susceptible to split again. Unfortunately there is no magical mending solution to split ends. Unfortunately!

Eliminating split ends: You can trim your hair or you can take sections of your hair and do a search and destroy which is basically viewing the ends and trimming individual strands that have splits instead of a blunt trim.  This is commonly known as “dusting” which I prefer since I have a low amount of split ends due to no use of heat in over a year also when cutting split ends it would be advisable to at least cut 1/8 above the damaged area. Most importantly always remember to use a good pair of professional hair scissors. Using dull blades can actually cause more damage to your fresh cut ends

Preventing Split ends: Eliminating heat or cutting the amount of heat in half from your regular routine if you frequently use tools that require heat. Straightening your hair only decreases the amount of natural oils (called sebum) from your already thirsty strands which put you at greater risk for split ends so please use tools that require heat at a  minimum. Consistently moisturizing your hair is half the battle and special attention to your ends which is the oldest part of your hair is a necessity. Split ends for the most part form at the ends because it is the driest area of the hair.

Ridding yourself of split ends is essential in growing or retaining length. Thinking they will just disappear is wishful thinking and not eliminating them immediately can cause further damage. Not only can your ends split into two but branch off into more splits along the same strand as well, known as “branching”. To hang on to a couple of inches of damaged ends just for length sake is insanity and will cost you the overall health of your hair in the long run. The choice is yours but make it quickly because multiple personalities have a way of sneaking up on you.