Split Ends

Can You Actually Repair Split Ends

When a strand of hair “splits,” it’s rarely a clean, even break. To fix Split Ends, you can’t repair the damage that’s already done, but you can temporarily mend the hair strand. The real repair for Split Ends is trimming them off.

What are Split Ends?

Split Ends occurs when the cuticle, the protective outer layer of your hair, is damaged and worn away because of heat styling, chemical processing, and everyday wear and tear. This exposes the inner core of the proteins that make up your hair, making it susceptible to splitting and breakage. When viewed through a microscope, a split end resembles a piece of fractured wood, with many jagged ridges and edges. You can keep your damaged hair looking and feeling as healthy as possible with ongoing care and maintenance.

One quick way to get rid of Split Ends is to cut them off using a Split End Trimmer.

Although your hair is strong, it is susceptible to damage from everyday wear and tear. Your hair’s ends, which are also the oldest part of the hair shaft, can weaken and lose their protective layer. The hair may split as a result, exposing the inner cortex.

Split ends can be caused by a variety of factors. Among the most common are:

  1. Chemical processing, such as perms and coloring heat treatments
  2. Over styling using high temperature
  3. Over combing or brushing your hair forcefully

Split ends are a common hair complaint, but there are steps you can take to keep your hair healthy and avoid split ends.

Repair Split Ends to get rid of them

What is the best way to get rid of split ends? According to Meesh, Hair Product Analyst, “It’s a fact that the only way to completely remove split ends is to cut them off.” Unfortunately, once you have damaged hair, it is permanently damaged. When cutting split ends, use a sharper tool than regular scissors to ensure a clean cut rather than a frayed cut. A frayed cut may cause more split ends.

If you have split ends, I recommend getting them trimmed by a professional stylist. I do not recommend using a split end trimmer. Some people, however, require the use of a cordless split end hair trimmer for various reasons.

Split ends must be cut because the more split ends you have, the more damage can travel up your hair shaft. Split ends can spread further up your hair shaft, which is why it’s critical to get a trim. Split ends can sometimes be hidden and difficult to locate. So don’t think you’re finished just because you had one trim. It’s also critical that you stick to your hair care routine.

Suggestions For Avoiding Split Ends

The key to keeping your hair healthy and free of split ends is prevention. Although you may not be able to completely avoid split ends, you may be able to reduce the frequency with which they occur.

1). Washing and detangling your hair to prevent Split Ends

Always comb your hair in the shower, with conditioner on, and with a wide-tooth comb. Using a conditioner will help the comb glide through the hair while distributing the conditioner without breaking the strands because wet hair is more elastic. After that, rinse with colder water to seal the cuticle. When hair is dry, it is less frizzy and shinier, and it is easier to style. Remember that towel drying can cause more split ends, so gently pat it dry instead.

According to Stacey, Hair Research Analyst, “Did you know wet hair is at its weakest? Hair can stretch. Dry hair can stretch by about 30% of its original length with no damage. However, when hair is stretched over 30% irreversible change occurs causing fractures in the hair shaft.

Be careful with shampooing. Some shampoo can strip your hair of all moisture. I have used some plant-based shampoos thinking they’re going to be milder than some regular shampoos. Buy was I wrong. Some plant-based shampoos are very intense. They can clean your hair almost instantly. When using these shampoo I do not leave the shampoo on my hair for very long. I have found the longer I leave the shampoo on my hair, the more it has time to clean. The result is really dry hair. So if you are using a plant-based shampoo, make sure you experiment with how long to leave it on your hair. Some brands work better than others so you will have to see which is best for you. If you are interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll let you know what brands I have tried and the results.

2). Chemical treatments can promote and cause Split Ends

Chemical treatments, such as coloring, perming, or relaxing your hair, can be taxing, especially if you have multiple treatments going on at the same time. My advice is to at least once a week, apply a hair mask or use an instant conditioner every time you wash your hair. Also, never have over one type of chemical treatment at a time. And if you do, then increase the time between treatments. Wait at least 8 to 10 weeks between touch-up treatments. But the best way to prevent damage and to save your hair is not to have any treatments at all. But I know that is not possible for everyone. So that leads me to the next tip of hydrating your hair frequently.

3). Hair should be hydrated to help prevent Split Ends

Consider using a weekly hair mask to add moisture to your hair. A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment that can add moisture to your hair while also reducing frizziness and dryness. A mask can also help to reduce hair damage, resulting in softer, shinier hair.

Did you know keeping your hair moisturized is also important for avoiding Split Ends? Dryness can weaken hair, particularly at the ends, resulting in damage and of course as you well know more Split Ends.

Using a conditioner is great, but ingredients in a hair mask are typically more concentrated than those in an instant conditioner. The mask stays on your hair for a longer time. Usually anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, or even overnight. I like masks and deep conditioners with Coconut oils, Argan oils, Aloe Vera, and even Honey.

4). Split Ends due to heat

I am sure you know, but it’s worth saying by using heated styling tools on your hair every day can cause your hair to dry out. By doing so frequently can change the structure of the proteins in your hair. If you must use heated appliances, try to reduce the heat setting. To avoid heat damage, use a heat protectant product before blow-drying or styling. What I recommend if you have the time is to allow your hair to air dry after washing it if possible, and then style it without using a curling iron, flat iron, or blow-dryer.

How do you get rid of split ends without cutting your hair?

Even though there is no way to repair split ends, you can conceal the damage. Applying coconut oil, almond oil, or another type of moisturizer to the ends of your hair is one option. There are also many repair treatments on the market today that are very good. These products will attempt to bond your split ends back together again. They can’t repair your hair but they can change the appearance and hair texture to make it looks as if you have little to no damage. These products not only add shine to your hair but also smooth it, which helps conceal split ends.

Changing your hairstyle will work to conceal your Split Ends. Wear your hair in styles that conceal your ends. You could try wearing hair extensions or styling your hair in a low or high bun.

More about Hair and Split Ends

Hair is a complex system with both chemical and physical properties. It is a complex structure composed of several components that function as a unit. The hair shaft is in three sections: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The medulla is present in coarse hair, such as grey hair, thick hair, and beard hair, but it is absent in children’s fine hair. Asians coarser hair has more medulla than Caucasians. The medulla may be involved in hair-splitting or Split Ends because it provides a weak spot as a pathway for the propagation of cracks along the axis of the fiber.

The cuticle is a chemically resistant region made up of flap overlapping scales (keratinocytes), similar to roof shingles. The differential friction effect in hair is caused by the shape and orientation of the cuticle cells. The cuticle is composed of six to eight scales thick in Asian hair, slightly less in Caucasians, and even less in African hair. African hair is more prone to breakage due to a thinner cuticle layer.

Each cuticle cell contains a thin membrane, the epicuticle, covered with a lipid layer. This layer is responsible for repelling water or liquid (hydrophobicity of the hair) and its removal by chemical treatments and hair color procedures in which may damage hair by increasing the ability to absorb water or liquid (hydrophilia).

The intercellular matter is the cell membrane complex (CMC). CMC is made up of cell membranes and an adhesive material (cement) that connects the cell membranes of two cuticle cells, two cortical cells, and two cuticle-cortex cells. The beta-layer is the most important layer of the CMC, and it is considered the intercellular cement. It is sandwiched by other layers from each cell.

The CMC and the endocuticle are extremely vulnerable to chemical treatments such as bleaching, dyeing, and hair straightening/perming. Additionally, the friction of daily grooming and shampooing may disrupt the CMC.

Before the hair fiber ruptures, CMC fractures may be seen. Repeated rough washing, unprotected drying, friction actions, sunlight, and alkaline chemical treatments reduce the lipid content of the cell surface, causing it to transition from a hydrophobic to a more hydrophilic, negatively charged surface.

Hair is porous and damaged, hair is extremely porous. The swelling of the hair shaft is caused by water absorption. Excessive or repeated chemical treatment, grooming habits, and environmental exposure all cause changes in hair texture and, if severe, hair breakage. These changes, which contribute to tangling and frizzing, can be seen microscopically as “weathering” of the hair shaft. Weathering is the gradual deterioration of hair from the root to the tip.

Normal weathering is caused by grooming daily. Scaling of the cuticle layers, removal of the thin membrane, and cuticle cracks may occur when the hair is extremely weathered and chemically treated. If the cuticle is removed, the cortex is exposed. And thus further cortex damage may result in hair fiber fracture or as we all know as Split Ends. By reducing friction and water pickup, hair treatments and moisturizing masks can help to restore hair cuticle damage and prevent hair breakage.


Photo by Micha³ Sankowski from FreeImages

Van Meter, M., Mao, Z., Gorbunova, V., & Seluanov, A. (2011). Repairing split ends: SIRT6, mono-ADP ribosylation and DNA repair. Aging (Albany NY), 3(9), 829. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3227448/