Hair Liberty's Nicole Harmon, our Resident Curl Chemist, is answering your most urgent hair questions. Check it out!
Q: I have split ends all the time even right after a trim. How can I get them to stop?
A: Your hair splits when the cuticle has been completely worn away. That can happen anywhere on the strand, but it’s most likely to happen at the ends because they’re the oldest hair. The cuticle is made of about 7 layers and those layers get damaged every time you style your hair. Damage is unavoidable, but if split ends are always popping up that means you’re pushing your hair passed its limit. Are you using heat? If you heat style your hair, you must only do so after your hair has been freshly shampooed and conditioned. It’s also really important to use a heat protectant. If you’re still getting split ends after taking those precautions, you may be using too high of a setting. Whether you’re using a blow dryer, bonnet dryer, flat iron, or curling iron, you should turn the heat down. If you usually use high, use medium, if you usually set the temp to 350°F, set it on 300°F.
If you don’t use heat but you’re still seeing constant split ends, you probably need to comb your hair less. Natural hair is really sensitive to combing because of the way our coils tend to wrap around each other. You may be trying to comb gently or limit your combing to a few times a week, but split ends are a sign that you’re still doing too much. Do you wet your hair (with a water/conditioner blend for example) to re-style it during the week? Split ends are more likely to happen when your hair is wet than dry. That’s important to remember on wash day, but also when you apply products between washes. Only use enough product to slightly dampen your hair, not wet it, and always start by finger combing.
Once you find the cause of your split ends and create a routine that prevents them, don’t change what you’re doing. That means don’t change your products and don’t experiment with different styles for a while. Give yourself a chance to see the long term benefits of a good regimen.