Split ends are exactly what they sound like - they are splits in the ends of your hair ! The picture above is a great illustration of a split end. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at the causes of split ends and importantly how we can get rid of them to preserve your smooth, healthy, beautiful long hair.
Split ends occur when the hair shaft splits from a single strand to multiple, usually occurring at the tip. This is typically a sign of damaged or unhealthy hair. Split ends occur in response to excessive or repeated chemical treatments, grooming habits, and various environmental exposures.
If your split ends are untreated, then your hair will become frizzy and tangled, making it difficult to maintain. After repeated exposures, the outer protective layer of the hair, the cuticle, no longer maintains its protective function. The loss of this layer renders the rest of the hair strand more susceptible to subsequent damage and breakage, resulting in the appearance of split ends.
Artificial hair colour and chemical hair processing are common chemical processes that can lead to hair damage. The use of chemical dyes, bleaching agents, hair relaxants and perming solutions all lead to progressive damage of the hair. Perms and relaxants are used to change the shape of the hair from straight to curly, or from curly to straight. For this process to occur, the disulfide bonds that give hair its natural structure must be broken. Disulfide bonds are responsible for both the shape and strength of the hair. When these are broken, the strength of the hair is weakened. Similarly, when changing the colour of the hair, the chemicals must penetrate the cortex, the middle layer. Before they reach the cortex, they must get go through the outer cuticle layer of the hair, the cuticle. This causes damage to the cuticle layer and leads to the appearance of frayed or split ends as a result.
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause both physical and chemical damage to the hair. UV radiation causes hair to lose its natural colour, and become hypopigmented or lightened. This is why in the summer, hair generally turns lighter as there is more sun exposure. Ultraviolet sun damage has the same effect on protein bonds as it does pigmentation on the hair. Over time protein and keratin bonds within the hair can be damaged by repeated sun exposure. Protein is what gives hair its flexibility, strength, and shine. With both the colour and protein being affected by the sun, the hair can become dry, weak, brittle, and rough in texture while losing its natural colour and natural shine.
There is an average of 100,000 hairs on the top of the head that grow at a rate of 0.3-0.4mm a day. This process requires a lot of energy and proper nutrients. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health of hair. A balanced diet of protein, vitamins, and minerals are a good way to get nutrients needed for healthy hair. However, if there is nutritional imbalance or deficiency, this can lead to the progression of damaged hair. While there are many vitamins and minerals that can help supplement and maintain the integrity of hair, zinc, iron, and protein are among some of the most influential.
How to Prevent Split Ends
- Avoid excessive and aggressive brushing and combing of both wet and dry hair
- Limit excess applied heat to the hair
- Decrease the frequency of chemically applied hair treatments
- Ensure proper daily nutrient requirements
- Use moisturizing oil treatments to preserve the cuticle layer
- Protect hair from UV sun exposure
- Maintain hair health by getting trims several times a year - Use the Split Ender Trimmer!
Split Ender - For Split Ends and Damaged Hair
You can keep your hair looking smooth, healthy and beautiful with the Split-Ender - The ultimate cordless Split-End trimmer ! The Split Ender is easier, faster and safer than scissors. It cuts split-ends and damaged hair in just minutes and you can trims as little as 1/8" from your own hair.