Do Split Ends Stop Hair Growth? 8 Pro Secrets for Preventing Split Ends
Split ends are incredibly frustrating when we're trying to grow out our hair. Even though our hair is resilient, it's still susceptible to breakage and splitting, especially at the ends. This is because the ends of our hair are the oldest and most prone to damage.
How can we grow our hair out if it keeps splitting and breaking at the ends? It can feel like one step forward and two steps back! Before we dig into prevention techniques, let's take a quick look at how and why we get split ends and how it can affect hair growth.
What Are Split Ends and What Causes Them?
Trichoptilosis is the technical term for split ends, and it refers to the breakdown of hair fibers at the ends of our hair. Split ends tend to make the ends of our hair appear thinner than the rest, with individual strands ending in a telltale "v-shape."
Fraying at the hair shaft causes split ends, and this damage can be caused by physical or environmental factors. Cold, dry weather, coloring our hair and heat styling our hair can all result in split ends and slower hair growth. The common issue that causes split ends is dryness. Well-hydrated strands typically don't split.
Do Split Ends Stop Hair Growth?
While split ends can make it challenging to grow out our hair because they cause hair to break at the ends—and ignoring them only gives them license to travel further up the hair shaft causing more loss of length—they can’t technically stop hair growth. Our hair growth originates from healthy hair follicles, which are responsible for about 6 inches of hair growth per year.
It’s also important to remember that at any given time, about 85% of your hair is in the anagen, or growth, stage. So new hair growth is almost always happening! As long as you keep up with your split end treatment (and we get into that next!), your hair growth goals can’t be thwarted by split ends!
Our Top Split End Treatment Tips
But you don't have to simply accept split ends. We compiled eight split end treatment tips for your delicate, aging tresses, including the best products for split ends, to support healthy hair growth and help you fix your split ends!
1. Get Regular Trims
Getting regular trims is the gold standard of split end treatments. Remember how our mothers used to say "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Mom was right! Our hair care is no different. The best split end remedy is preventing them in the first place! And this is especially true for those of us with damaged, curly hair and split ends. Even though curls do a great job of camouflaging damage, it still happens!
Want to banish split ends and support hair growth? If you don't want to sacrifice length, try asking your stylist for a micro trim. With micro trims, only 1/8 inch of hair is snipped. This minimal trimming helps clear out split ends while still allowing you to grow out your hair.
2. Consider the Scissors!
Whether you do your hair trims at home or at a salon, the type and quality of scissors matters! You need scissors designed specifically for cutting hair. "And sharp scissors are a must," says Emily Kirk, owner of Salon Shenanigans in St. Louis, Missouri. "Sharp scissor blades are key because dull scissors can actually make split ends worse." Dull blades can microscopically fray the hair shaft, causing ends to break and split.
Asking for a haircut using hot thermal scissors is another strategy for fixing split ends before they start. Heating the blades acts as a sealant on the ends of your hair, which adds an extra layer of protection from breakage. This option is a bit pricier, but it really seals the ends of the hair shaft for maximum protection against split ends!
3. Avoid Brushing Wet Hair
Brushing wet hair can stretch and snap the hair shaft, leaving your locks more susceptible to split ends. Never use a hairbrush of any kind on your hair while it's wet. Your hair is weakest when wet, so be gentle with it!
Instead, try using a wide-toothed comb or hair pick to gently smooth and detangle. (Bonus points for a metal comb to help prevent hair static and flyaways!) If your hair texture allows it, you can also simply try finger-combing your hair after washing. Start at the ends of your hair and slowly work your way up. The important thing is to make sure not to stretch and break the strands.
4. Add a Hair Mask for Hydration
Hydrating, leave-in products like conditioners and hair masks are excellent split end treatments. Though all hair types need moisture, curly locks require more moisture. Damage to curly hair results in split ends just like with straight and wavy tresses. The coil-shaped hair shaft makes it harder for the hair's natural oils to make it to the ends.
No matter your hair's texture, locking moisture into the hair shaft with a mask is a great strategy for preventing split ends. Our favorite split ends remedy for parched hair is our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque, which contains biotin, argan oil and a plant-based butter blend to moisturize and smooth the hair shaft. Use it in the shower after shampooing, or you can even apply a tiny dab to your ends once you’ve dried your hair for an all-day conditioning treatment to make existing split ends less noticeable!
5. Use a Heat Protectant
Heat protectants are a must if you use heated styling tools. Curling irons, heated rollers, blow-dryers and hair straighteners run anywhere from 165 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. That upper range can do some serious damage to our hair!
The best products for split ends and heat protection contain moisturizers and silicones to create a physical barrier between your hair and the heating element. This thin layer of protection prevents heat from making the ends of our hair brittle and prone to split ends. We trust our No Remorse Heat Protection & Taming Spray—it contains avocado oil, which has a smoke point of 520 degrees Fahrenheit—to safeguard our strands with reliable heat protection while taming frizz and flyaways!
6. Be Gentle with Your Locks
Let's be honest. We put our hair through a lot. Sometimes just shifting how we handle our hair day to day can make a big difference. Try these ideas for small changes that can have a big impact on hair health:
- Air-dry hair when possible and use lower heat settings
- Use a microfiber towel instead of cotton (And gently pat hair dry–no rubbing!)
- Try a satin hair scrunchie rather than an elastic hair tie
- Tie hair back low and loosely instead of tightly at the crown
- Wash hair with the coolest water possible
- Sleep with a silk pillowcase and wear a protective hairstyle while catching some z’s
- Remember, one swipe of the flat iron per section of hair
And being gentle with our locks carries through to our hair coloring choices, too. While highlights give hair a gorgeous sun-kissed glow, just like the sun, they can also dry out already delicate strands. If you have curly hair or are especially prone to split ends, apply lighter colors closer to your roots and away from your ends.
7. Choose a Quality Shampoo and Conditioner
The best shampoo for split ends will be a lightweight, hydrating sulfate-free, paraben-free product. "Be sure to choose products without added waxes or unnecessary fillers that can weigh hair down," says Kirk. Hydrated hair is strong hair, but hydrating doesn't have to equal heavy! To pack a hydrating, volumizing punch, we love our Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner for a weightless moisture option for split end treatment! Together these two products are clinically proven to reduce breakage by 98%.
8. Eat for Hair Health
Nutrition plays a major role in hair health. Eating foods high in biotin, folic acid and Vitamin A supports healthy hair, skin and nails. But striking the optimal balance for our bodies can be hard!
If your diet falls a bit short on these nutrients, a supplement can be an easy way to be sure you're getting the support you need for healthy hair. Our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement + Retinol Boost is a delicious option that supports hair elasticity and prevents breakage.
Tell us: Do you have a favorite split end treatment or tip? Leave a comment below with your favorite tips and best products for split ends!
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Split ends are a pain, but they're not something you have to live with. Whether you're looking for the best shampoo for split ends or simply want to support healthy hair at any stage, Better Not Younger has you covered. Our entire line is free from harsh parabens and sulfates to keep your hair looking and feeling fabulous after 40!