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Curly Nikki

Retaining Length- Natural Hair and Split Ends

By January 27th, 202113 Comments

by Tamara Floyd of

The key to long hair is to retain the length of your hair or maintain the ends. If you think your hair is not growing, you are mistaken. Your hair is growing. Average hair growth rate is an one-half of an inch per month. If you’re not noticing growth, chances are the ends of your hair are breaking or splitting which results in breakage. Below are some reasons why you may be experiencing split or breaking ends. In the beauty world split hair or split ends is officially known as trichoptilosis. There are wide range of reasons why split ends occur.

Courtesy of Felicia Leatherwood, Celebrity Stylist & Owner of Loving Your Hair with Natural Hair Care.

Some causes include:

  • Excessive use of hot styling tools (irons, hot curlers, blow dryers, hot combs).
  • Overuse of chemical treatments (relaxers, perms, hair color).
  • Use of inferior styling tools that rip or snag hair (cheap synthetic brushes or combs, brush rollers, etc.,).
  • Environmental damage from heat, cold, wind and other climate issues.
  • Lack of routine maintenance such as regular trimming.
  • Improper detangling techniques.
  • Overwashing.
  • Use of inferior hair care products.
  • Excessive use of styling products such as gels, waxes and sprays.
  • Trimming with inferior scissors

There are other causes for split ends beside some of the main ones mentioned above. Other causes could be excessive tangling, improper application or removal of hair extensions, headgear that snaps or rips delicate strands or even scratchy bedclothes, fingers or hands. Regardless of how you developed split ends, once you have them they will not just disappear. You will have to deal with them by either having them removed, wearing your hair to disguise their appearance or utilizing tricks to temporarily merge the splits together. There are a lot of myths about split ends. The number one myth is that once a split end occurs, you can actually fix it by repairing it so that the end is no longer torn. The truth of the matter is that once an end is split it is ripped apart for good. Yes, there are ways to temporarily glue the ends together and even give the appearance of healthy ends. Celebrity stylists disguise split ends all the time for their megawatt star clients. However, ultimately the only way to remove a split end is to cut it off with a proper trim.

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  • Anonymous says:

    I'm a once a week washer now, and I use KCCC and KCKT on my fine penspring coils.

    What I wanna find is a NATURAL detangler, no -cones, no questionable chemicals.

    If you've found a HG detangler for coily 4c curls, please share! Inquiring minds want to know!

  • That Girl says:

    Funny that you mention overwashing, because I was looking at my hair from this time last year and it looked so much better. I thought about it for awhile until I finally realized that it was because I only washed my hair once every OTHER week as opposed to once a week. I'm back on my every other week game, and I'm already noticing a difference.

  • Anonymous says:

    ::side eye:: @ "inferior hair care products"

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for these tips!

  • Anonymous says:

    this mite be dumb question, but i dont know and would like to know so that when i get in the salon I dont end up gettin messed up like usual…do you have to have your pressed to get the ends trimmed?

  • amadis says:

    I don't get split ends. At least I haven't seen any on my head since the 90s, and I do regular searches! My problem with length retention has always been knots. Single strand, two strand, three strand. Because my hair is super coily and since gravity tends to stretch the hair out a bit at to top but less at the ends (where there's less weight pulling the hair down) the ends of my hair are the kinkiest coiliest part and tangle the most. I have to be on constant look out for knots and be super, super gentle while detangling or manipulating because the hair can easily break where it is knotted.

  • Yirssi says:

    @anon 10:51 AM, I've read that if you don't cut split ends the split can move up the shaft of your hair.

  • mangomadness says:

    Split ends are unavoidable no matter how gentle you are with your hair. I cut about 1/4 inch every 3-4 months. It keeps the split ends at bay and my ends feeling nice.

  • Anonymous says:

    I too get split ends no matter what. I don't get it. I went to the hair dresser the other day, the 1st time since I have been natural, to get a sew-in, and she said I needed a major trim. 4-5 inches. She said the next time I come she thinks I should get it cut. I really don't want to b/c #1 I wear my hair straight 3 maybe 4 times a year so you can't tell IMO unless it's straightened. #2 I am willing to let my hair grow out first and them cut the splits #3 If I cut the splits my hair will be alot shorter and what if the inevitable splits come bac? I would have chopped my hair off to only cut it shorter again later.. sigh..She even said split ends are inevitable so why cut?

  • Laleepop14 says:

    This is a dead on post!!! I was coming to post in the forum about my trim and how amazing my hair feels now!!! I got my hair straightened and flat ironed and trimmed for my sister's wedding August 19th. My hair was still straight. I did my routine yesterday and OMG!!!!! The trim has made a drastic change in my routine, how much easier my hair is to style, detangle, all of that…I think I will follow a nice trim schedule of about 3-6 months..I havent cut/trimmed my hair since the BC, over a year ago!!!And suprisingly I still have my length..

  • Yirssi says:

    But does anyone not get them? I think they are inevitable for everyone. I think that if wealthy stars get them, I don't have much to worry about.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Tianna, you and me both. Some splits are inevitable. I see far fewer than I used to when I follow the above rules, but still, damn.

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    It seems that no matter how well I follow these guidelines, I still end up with split ends. Not horrible, but still split nonetheless, so I just have a light trim done at least every 3 months.

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