Splits Happen: 5 Tips to Prevent Split Ends on Natural Hair
I recently did a poll to see what my fellow curly girls were struggling with when it comes to their hair. Almost unanimously, the biggest issue was breakage and growth. One of the biggest culprits for stalled growth is split ends. We all get them. They are as inevitable as taxes and death. But while we can't repair split ends, we can minimize their damage with care.
I can usually tell when my ends our starting to split by a few signs:
1. When I run my fingers down a small section of my hair, I can feel the roughness at the ends
2. My ends aren't curling up in wash n gos and my twistouts are frizzing up at the ends
3. Sometimes I even notice a color change where the end of my hair starts to turn brownish instead of the normal black color.
Ways to slow down split ends:
- Be gentle with your hair when detangling and styling. In the past I've been guilty of being very rough with my hair and I've found that being gentle when detangling reduced my split ends tremendously. In fact, I found that when I combed through my hair more slowly, I ended up causing way less tangles. In addition, I stopped tearing knots out of my hair and instead used hair scissors whenever I came across knots that were too stubborn. Most knots, I found, can be undone with a little patience and pulling strands out the knot one by one.
- Keeping ends moisturized is also crucial. At least twice a week in between washes, I make sure to add leave in conditioner to the bottom 2 inches of my hair. I did this either before retwisting/pineappling at night or before putting in a protective style. Some people might also like to seal with oil or butter.
- Protective styling protects your ends from over-manipulation. It may not seem like it, but styling your hair every day can put stress on your hair and speed up the split end cycle. I try to style my hair in an easy style like crown braids or mini twists that I can wear during the weekday and let our for a twistout or textured look on weekends. Longer lasting protective styles, like braids or twists with extensions, are also great for preventing split ends but you should make sure to not keep them in too long and to care for your hair while in those styles. This means maintaining a regular wash and moisturizing regimen.
- Get a professional trim when needed. Unless you know what you're doing, most of us aren't really doing ourselves favors with DIY trims. There's no point in doing your trims yourself if you aren't getting rid of all you splits. A professional can not only make sure she's cutting at the right point, but they can also make sure you have a good shape. Additionally, sticking to a stylist I trust has been the best for my hair growth. Many stylists have their own way of cutting and shaping and going to the same person ensures that they'll likely not have to cut off more than is necessary to get the desired shape. Trims are inevitable but being proactive about trimming rather than waiting for your ends to be at your worst can save you some inches.
- Avoid heat. Blow drying and flat ironing should be done sparingly and always with heat protectants. Heat protectants minimize damage to the shaft during the blow drying or straightening process. If you do use a flat iron, you want to try to only do one pass of the iron and not turn the heat up too high. There are also alternatives to heat to get a stretched, blown out look such as the tension or banding method.
Taking care of your hair will always give you the best results for healthiness and length. Let us know other ways you avoid split ends below.