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Curly Nikki

Preventing Split Ends and Breakage

By January 27th, 202118 Comments

Preventing Split Ends and Breakage
Cherie writes:

My ends are jacked. They’re crunchy, dry, and many of them split. I have to admit that I did color my hair last year, but I did my best to keep it in a healthy, strong condition. I’ve given up heat for the new year, but at times I feel like it’s too late. I’m really tempted to hack it all off and start over again, but I’ve come so far. Help!

CN Responds:

We’ve all been there. Dry, damaged ends. If your ends are split or breaking (not just dry), you should get a trim… ASAP. Not only will this aid in the overall health and appearance of your hair, and make detangling and styling easier, you’ll also feel motivated to care for your freshly trimmed ends. To prevent dryness, splits, and breakage, try the following:

1. Moisturize!- On an as needed basis (for most, every 2-4 days), apply water, the ultimate moisturizer to your ends in order to open the cuticle. Follow up with a water based leave-in, conditioner, or moisturizer- you don’t need much, just be sure to evenly distribute.

2.Seal!- Next, apply a thin layer of a natural oil or butter, such as Shea Butter or Castor, Olive, or Coconut Oil. This will seal in the moisture from the water and moisturizer.

3.Hide!- Some folks, no matter how often they complete the first two steps, still experience dry crunchy ends. Protecting the ends in styles such as buns and pin-ups, may prevent them from drying out, and help you to retain length. I’m not a protective style girl, but I notice that allowing my hair to dry in a stretched style (twists, braids, rollers) really helps it to maintain moisture. Not sure of the science behind it, but hey, if it works, it works!

4. Deep Treatments!- If you really want to see some length retention, engage in a hard core Deep Conditioning routine. My hair was at its healthiest in 2008. I applied a deep conditioning treatment (with heat) at every styling session- 2 or 3 times a week. My ends were rarely dry, and they almost never split. Favs right now are Curl Junkie Rehab, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment, and MyHoneyChild’s Olive You. All of these are incredibly moisturizing and extra slippery! I often use the Curl Junkie to complete step 1 above as well.

Immediately after a micro-trim or search & destroy session, I always follow up with a deep treatment, or the first two steps above.

Remember that even without heat and color damage, our ends are very delicate… they’re the oldest part of the hair and have been exposed to natural weathering and the wear and tear of styling. Always be mindful of your practices and how you handle your hair today, because you’ll still be feeling the effects 2 years from now!

Have tips for Cherie? Share them below!


  • Anonymous says:

    I get my hair done 2- 3 weeks (once a week when my money is good) I'm am halfway there with growing out my relaxer and used to have texture with a wave pattern when wet. I am not very skilled in doing my hair myself ( which is why I go to the salon fairly often). I have a few styles that I am comfortable with doing on my own and none include heat. but when my hair stops bouncing from the salon until my next appt I do wear it in a bun or ponytail. My hair is very healthy and I don't mind regular trims but for years now (12 years) I have never seen my hair grow too far past my shoulders!! I have a very "sensitive" and "prideful" beautician and love her to death but why wont my hair grow?? What gives?? Any help?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have the same problem as anon 1/5/11 2.02 – if I want the hairdresser to take off any meaningful amount of hair when she trims I have to say "I want it to look shorter" – but then I'm not anxious about it getting to any particular length.


  • SoVAiN says:

    So I am rogue and refuse to cut my ends…I haven't had a real trim in over a year and shockingly when I went to the hairdresser in dec she didn't think I needed a trim. I am just experiencing what I think may be a few split, dry ends and I'm going to try to treat them with protein treatments and aloe. I am have been reading Ultra Black Hair for a while and she actually discussed not trimming your ends. I'm not saying its for everyone, but i'm trying to be as scissor adverse as possible.

  • Anonymous says:

    Fingercombing, keeping my hair in stretched styles (braid outs, twist outs, etc) and sealing my ends with shea butter have greatly reduced the amount of split ends and ssks I get in my 4a/b hair. I barely have to dust my ends now!

  • Anonymous says:

    There is a product called the splitender that removes 1/4 of an inch. The product really works with removing split ends. i would recommend watching reviews on youtube.

  • Anonymous says:

    Baggying,deep treatments,protecting my ends and sleeping with a satin bonnet work for me.If my ends are beyond hope then i dust lightly by follow this method by seemyhealthyhair:
    Hope that helps and HHG.

  • Rachel says:

    Protein treatments are a great preventative treatments

  • Anonymous says:

    I keep getting trims and my ends are always back to square one as though I never trimmed. At this point I think I need to change a few things. Another annoyance is that stylists that have trimmed my hair have always been reluctant to do a proper trim or cut and as a result, I have been left with a ton of splits when I specifically asked for them to be cut. I have about an inch.

    I mostly wear twists and think that this is the cause of chewed up ends since my twists unravel only at the last 1/4"

    I wonder if anyone else experiences problems with twists. My hair is not long enough for pin ups. I am thinking of changing to medium sized braids to end the cycle of trim, new ends, trim.

  • Michelle @ Fresh Radiant Skin says:

    Honestly, you can time until your heart's content. It won't matter if the hair is damaged. It will split again. The best thing for your hair is protein treatments. Aphogee is good!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with anonymous @ January 5, 2011 10:01 AM.

    I just got back from the hair salon after reading Lashelle @ 9:31!!

    I've been plagued with SSK and bubble splits, so I called my former stylist and got a walk in. It cost me $60 for a deep condish, blow-out, flat iron, and trim. 🙁

    I recognized myself in LaShelle's comment and will commit to regular trims from now on.

    "If you want something you've never HAD before, you've got to do something you've never done before".

    Thank you ladies!

  • Unknown says:

    She gave a great way to deal with them. But I would like to press the fact that hair grows! lol If you cut it and take care of it…it will return to you 10 fold! I had to just make a habit of trimming my ends once a month when they were really bad and as things got better went to every 2 months for my trimming. Also making sure to condition the hair….mayo and eggs and maybe some olive oil….best conditoner ever! Sometimes when i where my bun I start off with freshly washed hair and add my conditoner and wear it on for a day…silky smooth hair is what I have after I rinse it all out. Healthy ends mean healthy hair…and growth! take a breath a let the scissors fly!

    well i have a post about it on my blog…

  • Anonymous says:

    Our type of hair LOVES water, it needs to be saturated on a constant basis. I saturate my hair with water at least every other day until I co-wash my hair at the end of the week.I also just cut 2 inches off my ends because I had neglected my hair. Now my goal is to dust my ends about 1/8 inch a month. And I just bought a hair steamer, what a life saver. I use the steamer at least 4 times a week. I spritz my hair with a water/coconut oil mixture and sit under the steamer for about 15-20 minutes. My hair has been thanking me for it. And I
    also sleep with a satin bonnet, cotton pillow cases soak up moisture.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yeah, getting in the habit of keeping nicely trimmed ends (esp. professionally done) yields good results. I've always had long hair, I've never had a problem retaining length, and the only time my hair did seem to stagnate was when I refused to let go of some badly damaged hair. As soon as it was gone, the layered cut grew out much too quickly for my tastes.
    Even if you think your hair grows slowly, you still need to have healthy ends to keep your length.
    I've never understood this ridiculous idea that your hair won't grow back, or that it's better to have raggedy ends b/c people don't see them or b/c they are long. As Lashelle said, (and I've had the same conversation with friends who complained about hair that wouldn't grow), if your hair wasn't growing, you wouldn't need to redye it, or touch it up if you have a relaxer. Same rules apply even if you no longer have the yardstick of new growth to see how much new hair you have.
    once you hair is uniformly healthy, you'll find that a good cut will last much longer. I personally could care less aside from the cost (I live somewhere where getting black hair done is REALLY expensive). At any rate, I did find that once my hair was even and healthy, I was the one begging for touch-up trims and my stylist was like, well, if you want them fine, but you don't actually NEED one yet.
    Even though I dont' have my hair straightened much anymore, I can still tell when my ends need to go…the hair styles just don't look as tight and neat.

  • LaShelle says:

    I totally agree! I have a friend that swears up and down that her hair doesent grow. So I asked her, Do you deep condish? No. Do you wear a satin bonnet to sleep? No. Do you ever get your ends cut? No. Well THERE'S your problem, you're rubbing all your ends off and not retaining length. She still didn't agree with me, so I asked her where all her color that she got last year went, because if what you say is true, if you dyed 4in of hair last year, you should have the about the same now. She had about 1in dyed hair….Dumb face! CN speaks the truth!

  • aubin says:

    I agree with the previous posters. Additionally, make sure you are drinking lots of water. Your hair needs to be moisturized from the "inside" too! I notice that when my fingernails get brittle and start breaking a lot, that's usually a sign that I'm not drinking as much water as I should. Since nails and hair are made up of the same stuff – keratin – the health of one can be a marker of the health of the other.

  • PJ-1 says:

    I totally agree with Nik and the previous comment. I was one who cringed at the thought of getting a trim, but now that I'm really into hair care it doesn't bother me. I recently attempted to test Hairfinity pills to see if I would grow an inch of hair in a month. During the month of the test I HAD to get a trim b/c they were getting worse by the week. To make a long story short, I came out with a hiar cut and couldn't really tell how much my hair had actually grown from the pills….If you straighten your hair often, you need your ends trimmed often. The longer you wait, the more you will have to cut, and I had to learn that the hard way. BTW, I will be posting the before and after pics of the results on my blog.

  • Amy Irvin says:

    Baggying works wonders! Check out this link and try the method:

  • Anonymous says:

    My advice? Cut them off! I just went to the salon a couple of weeks ago to have my hair straightened and trimmed. I was looking forward to seeing all my new length that I'd acquired over the last two years, though I knew a significant amount of hair needed to be trimmed. I was thinking no more than an inch of hair. After the stylist blow-dried my hair she showed me how much needed to come off and I almost fainted! Instead of an inch I had at least two inches of damaged ends that needed to be cut! Although I was heartbroken at the time, I don't regret getting the trim because my hair looks and feels so much healthier and it is so much easier to manage! So go get the ends trimmed and take better care of them once you do. Your hair will be better for it in the end…

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