Hair breakage can cause serious long-term problems. If your hair keeps breaking off faster than it grows, you may even begin to think that it has stopped growing completely! It’s no secret that most people who complain about slow hair growth suffer from extremely bad split ends, and eliminating this annoying condition is the only way to have healthier looking and longer hair.
What Causes Split Ends?
In many cases split ends are the main cause of hair breakage. It’s very important to understand that your hair is not a living organism – as soon as it leaves the follicle its properties can no longer be changed. Now, as hair grows longer it gets increasingly more susceptible to developing split ends. This condition can be caused by many things:
- Dry ends: Anything from lack of proper conditioning to using too many heat-based styling products can lead to extreme dryness and, eventually, split ends.
- Poor hair care: Things like combing your hair too often or using a very narrow comb can also lead to split ends. Some hairstyles are also known to contribute to both split ends and hair breakage around the crown.
- Chemicals: If you tend to color your hair or “touch it up” often, it may lead to a lot of chemical overlapping, dryness and breakage. This breakage can occur both in the very ends and around the crown, so be very careful about this!
As you can see, split ends are not some sort of mystical condition that requires expensive treatment! For most of you making just one or two simple lifestyle/hair styling changes should make a huge difference. Remember that preventing hair breakage is crucial, because the damage cannot be repaired once it is done!
How to Prevent Split Ends
Most of you likely already know what you need to do to stop split ends from forming in the future. If you don’t, here’s a quick checklist to get you started:
- Trim your ends! Most women agree that the only way to successfully retain length is to trim dead-hair-ends regularly. Do not be scared that trimming will somehow make your hair look shorter; in the long term, it will do the exact opposite. Make sure that you ask your stylist to cut off only the very (dead) ends and leave the rest of your hair be. Most women should trim their hair once every 2.5-3 months (or about four times in a year).
- Treating chemical damage is a bit trickier. If you believe that your hair is breaking off because you’ve overdosed on hair color or other chemicals, you are going to need a suitable protein treatment. Protein works to shield and strengthen hair, which is absolutely crucial when dealing with weakened and damaged hair. Another good option is deep conditioning using coconut oil (since it mimics protein and has a very similar effect). Remember that intensive protein/coconut oil treatments can cause drying and further breakage, so start slow and see how your hair reacts!
- Know when and how to comb and brush your hair! As a general rule, you should never comb dry hair and never brush your hair when it is very wet. So remember: comb your hair while it’s wet and brush it once it has, at least mostly, dried. Another important thing is to only use wide-tooth combs and natural bristle brushes (plastic ones are a no-no).
- Avoid tight hairstyles and other physical damage. Avoid very tight hairstyles since they put a lot of extra pressure on the roots and will cause damage over time. You should also avoid pulling your hair and/or running fingers through it (which is something that many of us do when talking to others or working on mundane tasks).
- Detangle your hair with care! Our hair, especially the very ends, tends to tangle easily. If you try to detangle it with your fingers while in a rush, you are almost guaranteed to cause breakage!
- Avoid heat! Do not use flat irons and avoid blow drying your hair where possible. The best way to retain as much length as possible is to let your hair dry naturally after every wash. Remember: both towel drying and blow drying are very bad and will most likely cause damage! Flat irons can cause serious damage after just one use.
Getting rid of split ends once and for all is not hard and while it does nothing to speed up how fast your hair grows, it will certainly help you retain more of that growth over time! Once your hair stops breaking off so much you can cut down to trimming it just once or twice per year.