With all our heat styling, towel drying, tossing and turning, bleaching, coloring, brushing, pressing, pinning, stretching, banding, and binding – you can’t blame hair for getting stressed out and getting split ends. But the good news is you can avoid them.
A little hair anatomy here: Each strand of hair is comprised of several layers. Imagine a tree trunk; a cross-section wood and hair look very similar. Like bark, the multi-shingled cuticle encases a bundle of long fibers that form the cortex (where pigment resides). Like heartwood, the medulla runs through the core of each strand.
The bottom line: The only way to completely get rid of split ends is with a pair of scissors.
Split ends are a result of damage to the cuticle that leaves the long fibers that form the cortex unprotected and fraying at the tips. Splitting of the fibers begins to show, and if unchecked (untrimmed) it can travel upwards until the entire strand is compromised like a log cleaved by an axe, or an unraveling rope.
The bottom line: The only way to completely get rid of split ends is with a pair of scissors. But, the good news is that you can adopt healthier and kinder haircare habits to make fraying less likely in the first place.
Hair is a delicate fabric that doesn’t respond well to being roughed up. Instead of scrubbing it dry with a towel after washing, gently squeeze and press out water using a towel, tee, or microfiber cloth – the softest and most absorbent thing you can find.
Don’t attack tangles with a brush or anything other than your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Start at the ends and work your way up to avoid tightening knots by dragging a comb down. Remember that wet hair is at its most elastic and breakable, so a light touch is always best.
If you’re set on preventing split ends, set aside the blow-dryer until your hair is at least 60% dry (90% ideally). The longer you expose hair to heat, the more damage is likely to occur. Avoid concentrating heat on the ends, of course – they’ll dry from the secondary heat.
Invest in a quality heat protectant (we recommend Hairstory Dressed Up on damp hair before flipping that switch). Focus more on the roots and mid-lengths and keep that nozzle moving. A blast with the cold air setting will help your style hold. Learn all about safe heat styling here.
Color-treated? That’s another story altogether, which we suggest you read here.
Even if your hair goal is a long game, an occasional visit to the salon is both prevention and cure. There is no reason to hold on to length that isn’t whole, and plenty of reasons to let it go. Your stylist will be happy to help – and happy to see you again.