Split ends are probably one of the most common complaints women have. But don’t be fooled – it’s not just women with long tresses who complain, even those with short hair grapple with the issue.
And though almost everyone knows that a haircut is the only solution for split ends, they don’t really know how they occur or how to prevent them.
What are split ends?
It simply means that a single hair strand splits into two at the tip. But in severe cases, the hair strand splits into multiple ends and overall, this gives a very ragged, unhealthy looking mop of hair. And chances are, the longer your hair, the more split ends you have. Also known as Trichoptilasis, split ends may occur for several reasons. Keep reading.
Why do split ends occur?
Your body reacts by exhibiting pain when you put it to a severe mental or physical stress, and so does your hair. When you put too much thermal, mechanical or chemical stress on hair it reacts by becoming too coarse, it loses sheen or develops split ends.
Straightening/Curling/Perming: It’s a special occasion or you have a friend’s party to attend so you decided to get yourself a hair makeover. In come the straightening rods or the curling irons! These appliances work mainly by heating your hair to give it the shape you desire. But they also end up sucking the natural moisture out of hair follicles, leaving your locks dry and brittle – an open invitation for split ends. Another similar process is called re-bonding in which, your hair is exposed to chemicals for over three hours.
Blow drying: When you just can’t afford to get any later for that date, you reach out for the blow dryer. The idea is the same – using hot hair to dry it. Hello split ends!
Highlights/Hair colouring: Chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals – they wreak havoc with the natural chemical composition of your hair. But also end up changing its texture. Where once your hair was smooth, it turns rough and weak, giving way to split ends.
Excessive/Strong shampoos: Chances are if you have had your hair coloured, permanently straightened or rebonded, your stylist would have advised you to use special shampoos and conditioners. Consequently, you end up putting your hair through more chemical torture, making it terribly weak and unhealthy.
Brushing/Combing: Some women comb their hair as if they were preparing for war – relax! Brush your hair lovingly, especially if they are wet because that’s the time they are most fragile. Vigorous drying and combing is the most common reason for split ends.
Genetic condition: For some, hair with split ends is just a genetic problem. Called Trichorrhexis nodosa, this condition causes a defect in the hair shaft. So the hair is thick at some points and thin at others. This uneven texture causes it to break easily.
Some tips to keep split ends away
Steer clear of styling: As much as possible, avoid styling your hair through straightening or curling iron. If you must, do it very seldom. And stay away from permanent styling if you want healthy locks. Rebonding is a complete no-no.
Find out what your hair needs: The shampoo your best friend uses and gushes about needn’t be the best for you too. Seek a dermatologist or find out which shampoo or conditioner suits you best. The general rule of thumb is to use a mild shampoo. Those that lather a lot are also heavily chemical-based. And just because it creates a lot of lather doesn’t mean it will clean your hair better.
Pamper your hair: Brush your hair gently, especially when wet. Instead of rubbing a towel, wrap it around your head and let it soak the water. Comb your hair before you sleep and tie it in a loose plait.
Even if you have a genetic problem, it can be alleviated through proper care.
Get a haircut: This doesn’t mean you get a complete makeover. A little trimming off the ends will go a long way in keeping your tresses free of split ends, especially if you want it to grow long.
What more can I do?
Eat well and eat healthy. Remember how grandma oiled your hair when you were a kid? That still stands good today. Cover your head when you go out in the sun. It’s quite simple really – be nice to your hair and it will be nice to you. Don’t stress the tresses!First Published: Mar 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM