View Full Version : Why do I keep getting split ends?

September 20th, 2012, 04:05 PM
So, about this time two years ago, I started to flat iron my hair. The entire sleek-straight phase lasted about six or seven months, and then I quit and decided I wanted to grow long healthy hair.

I've had about seven inches taken off, and I still have damage. I can't see how I get my hair cut, and look at my ends and continue to see splits! Will I really have to grow out a full head of hair before I can abolish the damage from my flat iron?

I don't flat iron, curl iron, brush, blow dry, or anything. I use coconut oil all the time and take hair vitamins. I'm also anemic, and was only diagnosed last winter, so is it possible that my anemia has caused a weakness in my ends?

The only thing that I can really think of that is damaging, is sometimes I pick at my split ends, and break them off. I also brush my fingers against the scales of the shaft, but this afternoon I promised myself I would break that habit.

I really don't want to get another hair cut. My hair has been this length for years. What if I grew my hair to waist, and then took off two inches, growed it back out, and took off some more?

Eventually I plan on growing to hip and then cutting a good four inches or so back to waist.

Maybe I obsess too much about splits? Everyone has them, right? I should probably just let them be and they won't be as bad. I'm sure my picking at them makes them worse.

September 20th, 2012, 04:15 PM
Get some super-sharp hair scissors, sit down and trim the little split ends (I believe the general rule is 1/4 or 1/8 inch above the split?) Its a better habit than picking at them.

Do you have layers? Breakage up the length? Splits might get missed if they're higher than where the hair gets cut. I imagine that anemia would contribute to weakness, and the stroking habit.

Other than that, I'm sorry but I'm still learning about hair diagnoses.

September 20th, 2012, 04:17 PM
Well, you can't get rid of splits with your hands. You need some nice sharp scissors, preferably used for nothing but hair.

I'm guessing that if you used the straight iron on your whole length you will have to wait until all of that length is grown out before you stop getting splits from the damage caused by the flat iron.

Everyone has splits to some extent and generally you have to get pretty close to someones head to see their splits. Don't worry about it too much, just continue to take good care of your hair.

September 20th, 2012, 04:18 PM
I have some little scissors, but sometimes I'll just pick at them. That's definitely going to stop, though.

The only other thing I can think of is because it's where I tie off my braid.

And yes, I have long layers. Some hairs for sure get missed. I think the best way to deal with that is just to grow it all out, and get a few inches chopped off, and ask for less layers.

September 20th, 2012, 04:18 PM
I've got them. I've been in LHC for so long that any damage I did previously has been cut away. I get or do trims on a regular basis, but I still get split ends, lots of them, and they drive me crazy.

Short of putting my hair under glass in a dimly lit room, I don't think I could take better care of my hair.

September 20th, 2012, 04:29 PM
Sorry to hear you're having such problems. :(

I've had about seven inches taken off, and I still have damage. I can't see how I get my hair cut, and look at my ends and continue to see splits! Will I really have to grow out a full head of hair before I can abolish the damage from my flat iron?

This. :( Yes, if you want to completely abolish the damage done by straightening, you have to grow it all out. You can try protein treatments if your hair is super stretchy, and moisturizers if it snaps easily, but no amount of treatments can truly "heal" hair. Also, you can baby it and try to cause as little new damage as possible, especially mechanical since it's likely that there are weak spots along the hair shafts from heat.

For reference you can look at this (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=79) article to see what heat damage looks like, and why it can continue to cause splits along all the length, not just the ends.

Also others have said, I would try to S&D as much as possible with a pair of sharp scissors to keep the splits from traveling up further.

September 20th, 2012, 04:44 PM
You can't fix damage. So if your hair has always been about the same length, you had 20-25" of hair that got damaged by the flat iron. You've only cut off about 7", so you've still got quite a bit of heat damage remaining.

And as Spidermom says, some hair types just get split ends. I get fewer by not using heat. But fewer does not mean none. It has (very gradually) let me taper off my trims to every 6-9 months. I also need to have very gentle hair handling habits, so things like your habit of breaking off the splits would make things much worse for me.

September 20th, 2012, 04:51 PM
My hair has split ends. It has always had split ends, no matter how well I treat it, and probably always will. I minimize them, but I am resigned to there always being a new crop in the works.

If you are picking at your split ends, you may be making more of them. Try some sharp hair scissors instead. Also, how sharp are the scissors of the person cutting your hair?

September 20th, 2012, 06:11 PM
Split ends are the result of mechanical damage or lack of moisture.

To help combat the splits, you might try catnip rinses:

Daily S and Ding with SHARP shears is a good way to keep on top of splits. The more damage you remove, the better for your hair.

You might also want to look into using mineral oil (baby oil) to help keep moisture in your hair longer:


September 21st, 2012, 06:05 AM
- Consider going Sulfate free. HERE (http://killerstrands.blogspot.com/20...mpoo-list.html) is a great article with info on sulfates and why cutting them out of your hair routine is a good idea.

- When you wash your hair do not pile it on top of your head. Start at the scalp and zig-zag down to prevent tangles and needless damage. You do not have to shampoo your ends every wash. It can cause them to become dry, and they do not get oily like your scalp does. Reverse for the conditioner. Your scalp does not need conditioner. It can actually build up over time and clog your hair follicles which causes thinning.

- Stretch out the time between washing your hair as long as possible. The natural sebum (oil) that your body produces is good for both your hair and scalp.

- Use a clarifying shampoo once a month or so. It's a specific type of shampoo that gets rid of build up on your follicles, scalp and hair - from products, dead skin, hard water, environment and what not. Build up happens over time and makes hair limp, flat , dull and generally just weighed down. Try something like Alberto VO5's Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo (under $1 - $2). A shampoo doesn't have to be labeled as a clarifier. Just look in the ingredients for Acetic Acid (the kind of acid found in vinegar, which also work very well for clarifying). The higher on the list, the more the shampoo contains.

- Use a deep conditioner. Aussie's 3 Min Miracle works great. You just use it in the shower about once a week. Takes 3 mins - as the name implies lol.

- Hair masks are your friend! I do them at least once a month. They can help to make your hair grow stronger, healthier, faster or even stop hair loss and excess shedding. You can use almost any oil. They all have different benefits. Put the oil in your hair; put a shower cap or Saran wrap over your hair; leave it as long as you can; then wash out.

- When you get out of the shower try not to put your hair up in a towel. Putting your hair up in a towel is a major contributing factor to frizz - especially for those with curly hair - and damage. If you do, keep the twist loose, and take it out as soon as you can. It's better to gently squeeze the water out with an old cotton T-Shirt instead.

- When you brush your hair always start at the ends and work your way up to the roots. Never brush your hair while it's wet, unless you do it with a wide toothed comb. Finger combing is also a good option. Brushing while your hair is wet causes major breakage and damage because hair is at it's weakest state. The less you pull at you hair in general, the better.

- Try to use less heat! This one is probably the most important, and the hardest to follow (for me at least...). There are a lot of no-heat methods to achieve the style of hair you want. I LOVE sock bun curls and cinnamon bun waves. If you do use heat, always use a heat protectant and the lowest setting that will work for your hair. That includes blow drying!

- Sleep with your hair up. I normally sleep with a cinnamon bun or sock bun held with a few sectioning clips or bobby pins. Be careful not to put your hair up too tightly. A loose braid is another very good option. Try to find a pillowcase with a satin or silk type quality to reduce frizz and damage.

- Learn to self trim. If you do regular Dusting's (very small trims) it helps your hair to ward off damage and grow faster. Another good way to keep split ends down it to Search and destroy (S&D). That is where you take a sharp pair of hair scissors and cut off individual hairs that have bad split ends. It prevents them from traveling up the shaft and causing more damage. Always use a pair of sharp hair cutting scissors. If you use an old pair or the kind made for paper you will do more harm than good. drop the $10-$30 on a nice pair and use them only for hair. Sally's sells a good varietyor top quality scissors. You can find cheaper pair's at Walmart.

You probably already know a lot of that. I just copied and pasted it from a different site where I get asked about hair fairly often. Little routine changes can make a big difference. Definitely stop picking those ends!!! Get a pair of sharp scissors and cut them instead. That way you can keep the habit and make it into a good one instead of a bad one =) I hope something in there helps!

The last thing I could recommend is trying Jojoba Oil (it's pretty wonderful) in your hair masks. Coconut Oil helps hair to retain protein, so if your hair is sensitive to protein, it could actually dry it out if used too often.

September 21st, 2012, 07:18 AM
How long was your hair during the flat-ironing stage? My guess is that it's going to take more than one 7-inch cut to remove all the hair that had been flat ironed and therefore damaged.

That said, for many people, hair splits when it gets old. The ends of my hair have probably been around for a good 5 years. That means 5 years of combing, washes, sunlight, styling, and occasionally knots. 5 years of experimentation (which definitely stepped up when I joined LHC). Is it any wonder that they get a little worn out, even with the best of care?

September 21st, 2012, 08:51 AM
my hair definately splits a lot when i flat ironed and even after. regular trims or search and destroys are the only way to go. Now I quit using heat tools (blow dryer, etc) and get regular trims every few months and it's helped my ends a lot! I actually found my first split end last week. the first in a long time

September 21st, 2012, 12:17 PM
My hair has a bunch of splits. I tried S&D but it didn't see to help; however, I need to qualify that by saying that a. I have old heat damage for at least the bottom 6 inches, if not 12 or more, and b. I haven't had a haircut or trim in years. So I'm likely trimming a split off a still-quite-damaged hair shaft. Also, I suspect that my hair might be like Spidermom's and just splits to be contrary. :p

My hair is up the vast majority of the time and I only really notice splits when I'm looking for them. No one else notices, or if they do they aren't telling. My hair isn't excessively tangly, so I just put a bit of oil on the ends if they are bugging me and that solves everything. Your mileage may vary.

September 21st, 2012, 12:35 PM
I had badly damaged hair about 6 years ago - community theater damage, illness damage, ponytail damage. I had a big chop. Then, with S and D, mineral oil, wearing up especially at night, frequent microtrims and eliminating use of elastic of any kind (even soft scrunchies), my hair is longer and healthier than ever.

Hang in there. You will be rewarded.

September 21st, 2012, 12:44 PM
I'd say stop picking at your splits and make sure to use sharp shears to trim.