How To Stop and Control Split Ends
Split ends are nasty problems that can seem impossible to get rid of; no matter how many trims you get or how careful you are with your hair they just never seem to go away! The truth is, just about any kind of damage your hair is subjected to will result in split ends, so it'll take all the preventative measures you can possibly manage.
First, an assessment of your hair's overall health must be made. If you use hair care products with silicone-based ingredients (the ones ending in "cone") you may need to discontinue use and find something without them for a couple of months or clarify with a diluted vinegar rinse to wash the coating out of your hair and see what kind of condition your hair is really in. Splits occur more easily if the hair is deprived of either moisture, protein, or both. Silicone-based ingredients coat the hair and can make it look healthy and shiny, while sealing the hair shaft away from moisture and making it even unhealthier.
Avoiding Nutritional Hair Imbalances
Do a "strand test". With a strand of wet hair held firmly between your fingers (it can be a shed hair from your comb), pull the hair slowly and gently in both directions. If the hair breaks immediately, it needs moisture. A hair that stretches over 30% of the original length without breaking and does not return to its original shape when released needs protein. Healthy hair will stretch about 30% longer than its original length then pull back into approximately the same shape it started in. There are all sorts of oils and proteins you can use to correct these imbalances, your hair type will determine exactly which ones you use. One favorite for a wide range of hair types specifically trying to eliminate split ends is an infusion of catnip poured on the hair then rinsed out in the shower.
Once nutritional imbalances have been corrected it's time to go on to other causes. Often, problems with splits are made even worse without the proper maintenance. It's much easier for an already-split hair to split even further and snag on other hairs and cause them to split. If the ends of your hair tangle easily and/or you can see lots of splits, a micro-trim can help that problem. These trims only take about 1/4" off the bottom of the hair and are for the sole purpose of removing some of the most troublesome split ends.
Splits occur more easily if the hair is deprived of either moisture, protein, or both.
Finding splits in-between trims? Trimming individual hairs, or "dusting", will help curtail the problem; dusting should be done with a pair of very sharp hair cutting scissors that are used for no other purpose. Dull scissors can crush the end of the hair at the cut, effectively creating a new split where it just removed one. If your hair is too short to hold in front of your eyes, you'll probably have to have someone help you with this task or attempt to do it in front of a mirror. The easiest way to pinpoint splits is to take a small section of hair, gently twist it into a loose rope, and trim off the ends that pop up.
Identifying Mechanical Hair Damage
So now your hair is nutritionally balanced and you're doing everything you can to remove splits...but they keep coming back? Mechanical damage of all sorts may be afflicting your beloved strands. Pay attention throughout your daily activities. Does your hair rub against the back of the seat in the car? Against your office chair? Your clothes? All of these can cause tons of damage all along the length. It surprises many people to know that the most damaging thing in your everyday life could actually be your pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases are rough on the hair, even more damaging than cotton clothes because the hair is rubbing against it - possibly with a head on top of it - all night long. Satin pillowcases are a favorite of hair-conscious individuals...and they're really comfortable too!
Finally, avoid harsh chemicals, excessive heat, alcohol and other things that can dry out your hair. Be sure to keep well-hydrated and try to avoid subjecting the hair to excessive direct sunlight. It may take a long time to catch all the splits in badly damaged hair and it may seem impossible at times, but if you take some steps to improve and protect your hair you will eventually see some stunning results.
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