Split Ends: Types, Causes and Effective Ways of Treatment

Let’s face it, split ends happen. Between hot hairstyling tools, product overuse and hair coloring, getting split ends can be practically inevitable. But dry, damaged hair doesn’t have to be your reality. Read on to find out what causes split ends, what the best treatment for them is, and how to get rid of them once and for all.

What Exactly are Split Ends?

Split ends are the result of damaged hair where the tips of your hair shaft begin to split and fray. You’ll notice a hair that is split into two or more pieces. The best way to tell if you have them is to check your hair. Simply bend one strand over your finger. Now check to see if the shaft is ragged. If your locks are starting to tangle often, you probably have split ends. You can also ask your stylist to check your ends for any damage during your next appointment.

16 Different Types of Split Ends

From a traditional split to a feather split, there are a whopping 16 different types of split ends! Want to identify them on your own? Read on to learn more.

  1. Traditional Split: This is where the hair splits in two and resembles the “Y” shape.
  2. Baby Split: This has all of the makings of a soon-to-be split end, but the hair shaft hasn’t completely separated yet.
  3. Triple Split: If your hair is separating into three pieces, you’re dealing with a triple split.
  4. Doubly Y Split: This is where the strand has separated in two and then split again off of one of the branches.
  5. Incomplete Split: The hair shaft is weakening in a specific spot but hasn’t completely split yet.
  6. Long Split: Another form of the beginnings of a split end, the hair shaft has started to separate in a specific spot.
  7. Deep Split: The hair has split in two with the “Y” high on the shaft.
  8. Taper: You’ll notice the cuticle has started to peel away, this is typically caused by chemical damage.
  9. Thickening: This is where the ends are still intact but the actual texture of the hair is beginning to change.
  10. White Spots: Severe chemical burns can cause visible white spots you’ll see in your hair shafts.
  11. Right Angle: This is where the hair begins to bend at an angle.
  12. Off Shoot: The hair has begun to “thicken” along the shaft and has bonded together again.
  13. Crinkle: Your locks appear visibly wrinkled. This is typically due to excessive heat styling or chemicals.
  14. Tree Split: Just like the name for it, this is where you’ll see many different pieces of the shaft coming apart, resembling a tree and its branches.
  15. Feather Split: This type resembles a feather in appearance; you’ll see many different splits along one side of the hair shaft.
  16. The Knot: A problem common among curly-haired girls, the knot isn’t a split end, but it can lead to more tangles.

Myths vs. Reality: What Causes Split Ends?

Besides knowing how to fix split ends, everyone wants to know what causes them to begin with. There is actually a variety of different factors that can damage your hair. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Heat damage from curling, straightening or blow drying your hair.
  2. Chemical damage from perming, straightening or bleaching your hair.
  3. Not using a heat protectant product as part of your split end treatment.
  4. Sleeping with or rough brushing wet hair.
  5. Not going in for frequent trims.
  6. Washing your mane too often.

Hot tools zap your hair’s natural moisture, leaving your locks brittle and susceptible to breakage. Chemically treating your tresses, like highlighting, Bayalage and professional straightening treatments, can also wreak havoc on your locks. Talk to your hairstylist about your concerns and any treatment that may be necessary if you’re chemically treating your hair. Your stylist may be able to recommend hair masks and other home remedies to help keep your tresses in tip top shape.

The Best in Split End Treatment

If you are dealing with split ends, don’t fret just yet! There are many ways to get rid of them. The most effective way to do this is to maintain your hair with regular cuts, at least every six weeks. Even if you’re trying to grow it out, regularly trimming your tresses won’t slow growth and will help to prevent split ends. Here are a few other options to consider:

How to Cut Split Ends?

Your hairstylist will be able to recommend a haircut for your face shape and lifestyle that will best suit you and take care of your damaged ends. If your goal is growth, you won’t be forced into rocking a bob! Your stylist can trim your hair in a way that helps you achieve your hair goals by cutting in layers or feathering it, the latter of which is a texturizing technique.

How to Get Rid of Split Ends Without Cutting?

Does the idea of cutting your mane make you break out into a complete panic? Don’t sweat it. There are still a few ways to get rid of split ends without a massive chop, but some sort of trim will be necessary to get rid of them altogether. To lessen or prevent them, consider the following:

  1. Book a deep conditioning treatment at your salon to help revitalize your locks. Most offer Keratin and other intensive treatments you can do monthly.
  2. Try hair masks for split ends. Our favorite DIY hair mask recipe is a mix of one avocado, one egg, a tablespoon of honey and three tablespoons of olive oil. Another is simply applying coconut oil on freshly shampooed hair. Apply the coconut oil from your roots to about mid-shaft and then wrap your hair in a towel for about 30 minutes. Rinse off and repeat every other week. These home remedies for split ends are simple and budget-friendly, too!
  3. Swap out your shampoo. The best shampoo for split ends is one that’s packed with moisturizing properties like argan oil or macadamia oil. Try to pick a shampoo that’s sulfate-free, as sulfates can strip the hair of its natural moisture and cause further damage.

How to Prevent Split Ends Once and for All

The best form of split end treatment is to not get them in the first place! First, lay off the hot styling tools. Let your hair air dry if possible and try to use foam rollers instead of your curling iron or hot rollers. Second, be sure to book regular hair cut appointments with your stylist so that your locks are in the best shape possible. And make home remedies for split ends, like the weekly hair masks listed above, a part of your regular beauty routine.

A few other things to try include:

  1. Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase instead of cotton. Bonus: it’s great for your skin, too!
  2. Not sleeping with wet hair.
  3. Protecting your hair while in the sun by wearing hats, hair scarves or leave-in SPF treatments that can be applied to the scalp.
  4. Staying hydrated by drinking more water.
  5. Using a tangle tamer on wet hair to prevent breakage.
  6. Stop overwashing your hair, this could be stripping your locks of the much-needed moisture.

Best Hairstyles for Split Ends

Are there any haircuts or hairstyles that are more likely to cause split ends? If you’re constantly bleaching your hair, spending time in the sun and using hot tools on your hair, then you’ll definitely be more susceptible to them. But this is much more about how you treat your hair than a hairstyle you choose. If you have long hair and your locks are considerably damaged, consider a fresh new style like the trendy lob. Buns are also a great way to hide split ends, and they are easy to do!

Whether your hair is long or short, bleached or unprocessed, everyone will get split ends at some point, so don’t stress! Just follow these tips on how to prevent split ends and be kind and gentle to your locks!