April 15, 2016

The Real Cause of Mid-Strand Splits and How to Avoid Them

@heycurlie


As if split ends were not trouble enough, curly girls also have to deal with another hair damaging issue, one that some never even knew existed. What am I talking about? Mid-shaft splits. Yes, this is another thing to add to your list of things to avoid when caring and treating your natural curls. So what exactly is a mid-shaft split and how can you prevent this from happening? 

A mid-shaft split is hair breakage or weakness occurring anywhere along the hair shaft that is not the ends. Usually found in women with kinky and coily hair due to the increased amounts of twists and bends along the strand, every bend of the hair is a point of weakness for mid-shaft splits to flourish. But, this pesky issue is not limited to one texture. Similar to other common hair problems, how you style, treat, and care for your hair on a daily basis plays a huge part in your healthy hair journey. While split ends eventually occur because it is the oldest part of the hair, mid-shaft splits are a direct result of over manipulation, chemical damage, heat damage, or weak hair. Here are four habits that can lead to mid-shaft splits.

1. Detangling with a brush
Your favorite brush could be your best friend or your worst nightmare. While a lot of women swear by the Denman brush or Tangle Teezer, be sure these tools are not doing more harm than good. Finger detangling is a great way to prevent single strand knots—a known culprit of mid-shaft splits—because it is a direct way for you to observe how your hair responds. You may be tempted to yank the brush through that tough area, however, using your fingers is a gentler way to detangle. If you are detangling and each brush stroke sounds like scratching sandpaper, that is a sign you might want to finger detangle instead. To help with this process opt for conditioners with a ton of slip.

2. High manipulation
Excessive styling is also a cause of mid-shaft splits, especially when styling is conducted on wet hair. Wet hair is weaker and more delicate to handle when styling. Constant twisting, braiding, and rolling can cause unseen breakage to your hair that you might not realize until weeks later. While these styles are gorgeous in their own right, if you find yourself witnessing splits often, opt for more buns or updos to protect your hair without having to refresh the style every day. In addition, the manner in which you grip your hair while styling factors into manipulation. Are you naturally heavy-handed? Do you find yourself pulling and tugging at section just to install a braid?

Contrary to popular belief, natural hair doesn’t mean stronger hair. To avoid mid-shaft splits, ease up on your strands and handle with care.

3. Heat styling
Heat styling is a favorite among many naturally curly women as means of switching up their look, conducting a length check, or getting a trim. We already know heat can cause damage to your curls so it is of no surprise heat may also cause mid-shaft splits. My recommendation is to find a qualified stylist to assist with blowing out your natural curls. Often when styling at home, we misdiagnose how much heat is actually needed to straighten our hair. In addition, a professional stylist will make sure proper heat protectants are used and ensure the hair is hydrated from the inside before applying heat. If you are not sure your stylist uses a heat protectant, bring your own.

4. Skipping the protein treatmentsSince chronic dryness is #1 issue among curlies, some women often forget the importance of protein. While every woman definitely needs a good moisturizing conditioner in their arsenal, having a killer protein conditioner or treatment is equally important. Protein treatments will help to fill in the missing gaps within the cuticle where the hair shaft is weak and will ultimately break. Protein treatments should be applied sporadically to prevent protein sensitivity, which occurs when your hair has a protein overload and results in further damage. Using regular conditioners with hydrolyzed proteins is a great way to start and help prevent mid-shaft splits. Some of my favorite protein conditioners include:
Carol’s Daughter Mirabelle Plum Conditioner
Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner
ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor
Briogeo Rosarco Reparative Conditioner


Have you experienced mid-shaft splits? If so, how did you deal with them?

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