You’ve probably had split ends before. It’s a dilemma each one of us will eventually face at least once in our lifetime.
Everyone knows it’s somewhat bad, but sadly, it almost became the norm, especially for ladies who love trying out products and chemical processes.
Among the possible consequences of split ends concerns hair growth. Do split ends stop hair from growing? If so, will trimming end the nightmare?
You can spot a split end by looking at the tip of your hair and observing any forked or split hair strands. Primarily, they are split in half but sometimes in three.
Split ends happen due to damage inflicted on the cuticle of your hair.
A cuticle layer acts like a shield protecting the cortex— the part which gives hair its elasticity and strength.
Once you damage this shield, you weaken the hair to the point of splitting and breaking.
If you don’t let your hair breathe, you'll eventually get frizzy and unhealthy hair. Thinning is also on the horizon too! Yikes!
Most of the blame comes from your habits. But your environment, nutrition, and genetics can give you split ends.
A good routine starts from the shower! That is something you must keep in mind.
The sun and winter chill can both contribute to dryness.
UV radiation from the sun may damage keratin— the protein responsible for the hair’s structure and shine— and ultimately lead to brittleness and split ends.
Lack of zinc, iron, and amino acids vital to hair growth can also lead to split ends. Nutritional deficiency can lessen the hair’s structural integrity.
Moreover, inherent conditions may make you more susceptible to weakened hair. Hair disorders like Trichorrhexis nodosa and trichothiodystrophy can increase the damage sustained by your hair when you don’t follow a good hair routine.
There are multiple types of split ends. Some say it’s five types, and some list up to sixteen.
Among these types, baby splits are the most common, where you can find a tiny break at the tip. It can progress into a more distinctive splitting of two parts, the Y-split.
Some ends become tapered as hair thins out at the end. Worse, it may split multiple times like a tree or a feather.
Split ends don’t merely show at the tips, albeit the name. The split can also occur mid-strand, where it looks like the eye of a needle.
If you have baby splits, this signals that your hair needs more care due to previous damage.
Y-splits are most likely due to mechanical damage, e.g., overbrushing. It’s not as detrimental as having multiple splits, which tells you that your hair’s severely hydrated and damage requires intense repair treatments.
Split ends may look like a horror story unfolding, but there are as many myths as there are truths when it comes to them.
One is worth debunking: hair growth does not stop because you have split ends.
While it certainly looks like your hair hit pause once you had gathered some split ends, hair grows healthy hair follicles. Hair grows about 0.3-0.4 millimeters every day or about six inches annually.
Unless you have an underlying medical condition that weakens your follicles and makes your scalp susceptible to damage, hair growth does not technically stop.
Split ends are your hair’s warning signs. If you insist on not hydrating enough, frequently using heat tools, and subjecting your hair to chemical stress, it’s likely to give up on you.
FYI: 85% of the time, your hair is in the anagen or growing phase, so don’t worry about it stopping anytime soon!
However, in severe cases, the split ends occur so often that the hair shafts barely even have the time to grow before it cracks and breaks off. Hence, the misconception of never-growing hair gets perpetuated.
If you have such a problem, your focus now should be on length retention. After all, this is what split ends prevent your hair from doing.
Since you cannot tape split ends together, the goal is to eliminate and conceal them while undergoing reparative and hydrating treatment.
Foremost, you’d need to trim your split ends. Shocker!
No matter how daunting the idea is of getting shorter hair, the only way to instantaneously solve a split-end problem is to trim it. Trimming the damaged ends ensures the damage does not travel to the roots, which can lead to further breakage.
The more you expose your hair to chemicals and mechanical damage, the more you’ll need a trim.
For those who bleach, color, or style their hair with hot tools, it’s best to trim every two months. Meanwhile, if you're less risky with your hair, you can cut it quarterly to avoid split ends.
Always remember, your hair grows from the roots, not the tips.
It will not stop growing even with split ends! But the best way to retain any length and volume is to cut dead ends.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, but refusing to cut or trim your hair will only lead to more brittleness, dryness, and breakage.
It starts as a baby split until the crack leads to the roots, and your hair breaks as soon as it grows!
You can try micro-trims at first, where only 1/8th of the ends get trimmed. That way, you don’t have to feel rushed with saying goodbye to the length of your hair!
Trimming is not the only way to fix split ends. You can try the following preventive/ remedial steps to guide your hair to a healthier version of itself.
Meanwhile, you can try concealing your split ends with these tricks.
Split ends do not mean the end of the world. But you can’t also brush them off and ignore them altogether. Again, they signal that you must act now while there is damage.