As most newbies are in repair mode (from those darned relaxers), some think just about everything can be repaired. That includes split ends as they are severely damaging to our strands. I continue to see newbies asking this question everywhere and even in my inbox. Why? Because they are in repair mode and because you can find sores of products claiming they can do away with your split ends through repair. Well, is it true?
No, you cannot repair split ends
Look, I would be doing you a huge disservice by lying to you so I won’t. Hate me if you will (you won’t!) but know that it’s better to know the truth than by feeding you all kinds of lies and you end up buying products that don’t work or just temporarily fix your split ends. I’ve got some experts to explain why you cannot repair split ends.
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“I’m sorry but once hair is split, it is split,” says Chelle Neff, owner of Urban Betty Salon, in an email to Bustle. “I have never come across any product that could magically glue a split end back together. Cutting off split ends works the best and by doing that you are helping to prevent the hair from further breaking up the hair shaft and causing even more problems and breakage,” she adds.
“Despite what hair care companies might tell you, there’s nothing that can actually repair a hair that looks like that. At best, you can temporarily smooth the split by using a product that covers the damaged area with a film. But the next time you wash your hair that protective film washes away too.” The Beauty Brains
“Conditioner contains a variety of agents which are particularly attracted to areas of damage. For example silicones are particularly good for temporarily fixing split ends. Fatty alcohols such as stearyl alchohol and surfactants such as behentrimonium chloride can adsorb (meaning temporarily stick) onto hair. (Don’t tune out – See the diagram below!). However, all of these ingredients will wash out. The only remedy for damaged hair is to cut off the damage and let the hair regrow.” The Natural Haven
Enough experts for you? I can go on and on but I would much rather show you HOW to prevent them in the first place since you can do with a split end is cut it off! Getting regular trims will keep them from damaging your hair even further so I opt for once or twice a year. You may need more trims as I don’t color or use any chemicals in my hair. Naturals don’t need the as often as we did when we were relaxed so a few times a year should suffice for most.
Prevention is key when it comes to split ends. We’ve got some proven ways to keeps those ends sealed and healthy so they stay on your head longer and give you all the length retention you crave.
Limit your heat styling to fight split ends
Unfortunately, our hair is just too delicate for all that direct heat. Direct heat (flat iron, hot comb, blow dryer (without diffuser), curling iron or wand) is very damaging to our hair. Appliances using direct heat are harsh on the hair and dry it out so the much needed moisture our hair needs is depleted. You can also incur heat damage which is irreversible. We should be using direct heat sparingly (once a month or less) as even one application of direct heat can cause heat damage.
Moisturized hair is key!
Our hair NEEDS moisture! Moisture keeps our hair pliable and hydrated and without that moisture, our hair becomes dry and brittle. When the hair is being moisturized, water molecules bind with the protein present in the strands. It is this way that they are able to absorb and perform their hydrating duties. We also need to keep it in after we get it into our strands by sealing it with sealing oils, leave-in conditioners or creams.
Deep Condition Every Wash Day (Duh!)
I cannot say this enough! I take this step very seriously and the reason I rarely suffer from dryness in the dry climate of Colorado. DC’s are penetrating conditioners that dig deep into the hair shaft to adds moisture, maintains elasticity, and strengthens hair. They work harder and better than regular conditioners so do them regularly!
Stay away from the chemicals like texturizers, relaxers and harsh dyes
Yes, even coloring like permanent hair dyes and especially bleaching are extremely hard on our strands. Permanent hair color uses harsh chemicals to lift the hair’s cuticle and then fill it with the dye. That can often damage your hair’s cuticle and create damage. A texturizer is considered a lite relaxer but they possess the very same straightening ingredients, either sodium hydroxide (lye) or calcium hydroxide (no-lye).
A relaxer completely straightens the hair while a texturizer only loosens the curl because it is left on a shorter amount of time. Texturizers are far more successful on shorter hair and even for stylists it’s hard for a texturizer to keep a uniform texture from touch-up to touch-up. That just means some strands may end up completely straight while others may have a curly or wavy pattern. In some cases the texturizer cannot turn the kinky/coily hair into a curly texture but rather dry damaged hair that can create an environment for split ends.
Protect hair at night!
Another helpful tip to keep hair healthy is protecting it at night with a satin bonnet, scarf or sleep on a satin pillowcase. Not only will it help to preserve your style, but cotton sheets whisk away moisture and create frizz. Over time you may even incur breakage. I extend that protection in my car (I have a satin bonnet on my head rest), airplanes and anytime I must wear a helmet like on vacay when we go ATV riding. Taking your hair’s protection seriously pays off especially when it comes to keeping split ends at bay!
Do not over manipulate your hair
The less you manipulate natural hair, the better! Styling, heat, washing, combing and just about everything you do to your hair can be damaging. That’s why many women opt for protective styling and while a great idea for many, it is not necessary to maintain healthy hair. Just ensure you are not constantly touching your hair, allowing your hair to rub up against your clothing (too much) and to keep hair moisturized.
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Get regular trims
Yes, hair grows regardless, but it can be breaking off if not trimmed regularly. Holding onto raggedy, frizzy or damaged ends will not help your hair grow and may cause even more damage. Trim them yourself or go get a trim from a professional. Split ends can travel up the shaft of the hair and can cause serious hair breakage. I get a trim twice a year.
So, the best way to fight split ends is to NOT get them, Newbies.