Split ends are troublesome for many reasons. They are unsightly, they make hair styling a chore, and they take considerable time and effort to remove. But the effect of split ends on hair growth is often at the top of the list of split end concerns.
Those struggling with hair growth tend to blame split ends for their underwhelming growth results. But is this blame warranted? In this article, we will answer this question and more!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Split Ends?
- 2 Do Split Ends Stop Hair Growth?
- 3 How To Get Rid Of Split Ends
- 4 How To Prevent Split Ends
What Are Split Ends?
Split ends, scientifically known as trichoptilosis, occur when the ends of the hair strands split due to some degree of hair damage. If you’ve never seen split ends in person, they can look similar to the ends of an unraveled rope.
Depending on the severity of your split ends, the hair may appear dry, frayed, or brittle. You are not exempt from split ends, no matter your hair type, texture, or length. And various types of split ends may show up in your hair due to styling and environmental factors.
A feather split end is a strand separated into multiple small splits. Y split ends are composed of two even strands that have split from one singular strand. There are many other types of split ends, and you can check them out here.
Do Split Ends Stop Hair Growth?
Split ends do not stop hair growth. If the opposite were true, many of us would have no hair at all. Some of the most common causes of diminishing hair growth include age, hormones, genetics, and side effects caused by prescription drugs.
But generally, if you do not have a medical condition that affects your hair and scalp, your hair will grow according to your unique hair growth cycle and rate. On average, hair grows about .3 to .4mm each day and up to 6 inches every year.
Why People Think Split Ends Affect Hair Growth
People think that split ends hinder hair growth because when split ends are not addressed, they will eventually weaken and break off completely. This can make people think that their hair has stopped growing when in reality, it hasn’t.
While this breakage is occurring, the hair is still growing. The hair is just too weak and brittle to last.
Many times, split ends are so severe that the hair’s shaft cracks and breaks off as quickly as it’s growing.
Length Retention Is Key
Split ends affect length retention – not your hair growth. Your hair is growing and will continue to grow, but split ends must be minimized as much as possible to retain length as your hair grows.
Length retention is what you should concern yourself with and focus on, because retaining new hair growth is the key to achieving hair growth goals.
How To Get Rid Of Split Ends
Unfortunately, split ends cannot be repaired. There is no way to reconnect split ends after they have parted ways. However, there is one quick fix to eliminate split ends, and there are several ways to conceal them. Read on to decide which option is best for your split ends.
Trim Your Split Ends
Trimming your split ends is the only way to get rid of them instantaneously. Some people cry at the thought of cutting their hair, but split ends are like cancer to the mid-lengths and roots of your hair. The rest of your hair will thank you when you sever those unruly ends.
If you are hesitant about trimming your hair on your own, visit a local professional hairstylist or barber to ensure you get the best results.
You can cut all of your split ends at once or do it gradually, but the longer you hold onto those split ends, the more hair you’ll lose overall.
We recommend that you carefully monitor your hair regularly and trim split-ends as needed to keep your hair healthy. Ideally “this monitoring process” would be a normal step that you perform periodically within your hair care routine.
Try a DIY Coconut Oil Treatment
Coconut oil will not restore split ends, but it can smooth them, making them look neater and more uniform. Follow the steps below for a DIY coconut oil treatment.
- Massage a scoop (no more than one-quarter of a handful) of coconut oil into the hair. Focus on the ends and mid-lengths of the hair.
- Pin your hair up and cover it with a microfiber towel or a plastic cap. You can use a plastic grocery bag if you don’t have either of these on hand. Read this article to learn how to towel dry your natural hair.
- Rinse the coconut oil out of your hair thoroughly.
- Wash your hair with your favorite shampoo. You’ll want to shampoo twice because coconut oil is heavy and can leave buildup if you’re not careful.
- Complete this process no more than once every two weeks.
Apply a Leave-in Conditioner
A leave-in conditioner can be a more feasible option for those who are not into DIY techniques. Leave-in conditioners help to impart moisture and reinforce strong hair strands.
Keeping hair moist will prevent the messy look that often comes with split ends. Using your own leave-in conditioner, follow the instructions on the product label or the instructions below.
- Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
- Use a regular conditioner if desired and rinse thoroughly.
- Gently towel dry your hair – use a microfiber towel. Do not wring or twist hair while drying. This will cause further breakage.
- Apply leave-in conditioner to hair, covering the entire length of the hair.
- Detangle hair with a wide-toothed comb, your fingers, or a wide bristle brush.
- Allow hair to dry or style as usual.
How To Prevent Split Ends
Split ends are hard to deal with, but they can be avoided by implementing specific hair care practices. Keep reading to find out how to prevent split ends.
Avoid Over Manipulating the Hair
This step is frequently missed by the average curly girl and is one of the leading causes of split ends. Excessive hair brushing, combing, and touching can damage strands, especially when the hair is wet. This is why you’ll often hear that you shouldn’t comb or brush wet hair.
You can avoid over manipulating your hair by washing it only when necessary and gently detangling it with a slippery conditioner or detangler and your fingers. You can also try out protective styles, which will help limit frequent styling.
Keep Hair Moisturized
Moisture is the first line of defense when it comes to split ends. Hair has to be moisturized to remain intact. Moist strands are more elastic or stretchy, preventing hair breakage and split ends.
Yet, ironically, water is overlooked as a moisturizer. Always start with a water-based moisturizer or water itself. Then follow that up with an oil or cream-based moisturizer to seal in all the hydration.
Remove Hair and Scalp Buildup
Buildup prevents the hair and scalp from retaining moisture, which contributes to split ends. Common types of buildup include oil, dirt, product, and dead skin.
Luckily, an occasional clarifying shampoo can work wonders for all kinds of buildup. An apple cider vinegar rinse will also banish buildup. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water to make a post-shampoo rinse.
Limit Heat Styling
Flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers are all forms of heat styling tools. These tools are a great way to smooth hair and create new styles. But you’ve got to be careful with heat.
To avoid the inevitable damage that heat styling brings, limit heat styling to no more than one to two times a week. And if you can do it less often than that, that’s even better.
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The tips outlined above contribute to hair that’s free of split ends and strong enough to resist breakage. Implementing them as part of your hair routine will set you up for success.
So, to sum things up: split ends do not stop hair growth. Hair grows regardless of how many split ends you’ve got. It’s the breakage caused by split ends that directly affect hair growth (or length retention) and make your hair growth goals impossible to reach.
Thankfully, you can prevent and fix split ends by adhering to the guidelines mentioned in this article. Soon, you’ll be able to nurture your hair to new lengths and reach your loftiest hair length goals!