No matter what age you are… few things are worse than split ends. In your 40’s, you may experience your hair becoming thinner and drier, which doesn’t do your ends any favors. The only true cure for a split end is to cut it; however, if you understand what causes split ends you can mask and prevent them in the future.
What Are Split Ends?
Split ends are the frayed tips of your hair that have split into two or more parts due to dryness or damage. Your split ends expose the inner cortex of the hair. Split ends can make your hair look frizzy and extend up your hair shaft causing hair to break. Here are a few factors that may result in split ends:
- Rubber accessories
- Chemical and color treatment
- Excessive heat styling
- Over washing
- Over brushing
- Extreme weather conditions
How to Fix and Prevent Split Ends
- Schedule Routine Cuts
Once your hair is split, nothing will magically fuse the pieces back together permanently. There are plenty of ways to conceal split-ends, but the only treatment is snipping them away. It is recommended to get a trim every 6-8 weeks. The longer you wait to trim your hair, the farther up the hair shaft your ends will split. You may even ask your hair stylist to cut your hair with hot scissors.
- Mask it Weekly
To prevent split ends, it is essential to keep your ends hydrated. A deep conditioning hair mask will infuse your hair with moisture and reduce dryness and breakage. The products in a hair mask are typically more concentrated than those you’d find in a normal conditioner. They will coat each strand with the nutrients needed to prevent split ends. A mask can stay on your hair anywhere from a few minutes, to several hours, or even overnight.
Look for these beneficial ingredients to mend and prevent split ends:
Honey is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that help prevent hair breakage.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a naturally conditioning ingredient that contains fatty acids and lauric acid. These acids increase fat, mineral and vitamin content in your hair.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has a chemical makeup similar to keratin, the protein that makes up your hair strand. The nutrients rejuvenate the hair bringing it more elasticity and preventing breakage.
Avocado oil has vitamin E, potassium, lecithin, fatty chlorophyll. This oil penetrates the hair shaft and moisturizes your hair, rather than merely sitting on top and coating your hair. Fatty ingredients help strengthen the hair shaft and prevent breakage.
Bananas are rich in potassium, vitamins, and natural oils that moisturize the scalp, promote hair elasticity, protects against split ends and hair damage, and smooths frizz.
- Gentle Brushing Techniques
When your hair is wet, it is especially prone to breakage. It can be helpful to gently brush or comb your hair before the shower to prevent detangling wet hair. A natural boar-bristle brush or wide-tooth comb will be most advantageous in gently working through your knots.
To minimize breakage, start brushing your ends and concentrate on the tangles there, and then tackle the mid-shaft. Finish by brushing from your roots to yours tips in a single stroke. Lastly, make sure you’re not overbrushing your hair. The consistent friction of brushing will cause split ends and breakage.
- Use Hot Tools Sparingly
Aging hair is delicate as is, so it is important to avoid heat whenever possible. Heat from blow-dryers, straighteners, and curling wands can result in moisture loss and compromise your ends. The heat opens up the cuticle in your hair shaft, which is responsible for locking in moisture. Dehydrated hair will quickly lead to split ends. Of course, it’s hard to completely avoid heat, but air dry whenever possible and always use a heat protectant.
Don’t discount the sun’s contribution to heat damage. Avoid excessive sun exposure! UV rays damage your hair’s proteins, making your hair dry and brittle. Shield your hair with a leave-in SPF or wear a hat.
- Towel-Dry with TLC
Avoid abrasive hair towels made of cotton or terrycloth. Firstly, towel-drying roughens the hair cuticle, which causes it to lift up rather than lie flat. Cotton towels can draw moisture out of your hair quickly and lead to split ends. Instead, use a microfiber towel to gently absorb excess moisture and reduce breakage. You can gently blot and squeeze the water from your hair and air dry from there.
Another tip to reduce friction is to switch your cotton pillow case to a silky one. This slippery fabric allows hair cuticles to glide across the pillowcase instead of getting snagged by it.
- The Power of Vitamins
Heal your hair from the inside out with vital vitamins. Vitamins will not be an overnight success; however, with time you will notice your hair growing in thicker and stronger. Consider implementing the following vitamins into your diet to fight against breakage:
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, builds collagen, and helps transport oxygen throughout your body, creating strong and elastic strands. It is a water-soluble vitamin that guards against free-radical damage. Your body will not consume vitamin C long-term, so you must consistently consume it through citrus fruits, leafy greens, or vitamins.
Biotin, or B7, is proved to slow hair loss, strengthen your follicles to grow thicker, and help resist breakage. Biotin improves hair structure by supporting the keratin in your strands.
Niacin, or B3, helps prevent hair breakage by repairing damaged follicle cells. Niacin also protects against environmental damage, helps regulate oil production, and reduces inflammation.