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Split Ends: Causes, Types & Treatment

Split Ends: Causes, Types & Treatment

by HAIR AFFAIRS By Ms 29 Jun 2024


Split ends in the hair are basically damaged hair caused by the daily wear and tear from the environment and routine to which our hair is exposed. In short, split ends are one hair tip parted in two due to damage. Our hair grows from the roots while the tips of the hair are the oldest part of a hair shaft and is most vulnerable to losing its outermost layer if not taken care of. The roadmap to a split end-free life begins with one thing - Prevention.

What are the major types of Split Ends?

Hair damage can be of several kinds and different intensities and the level of prevention and treatment vary from kind to kind. Now the question arises, what do split ends look like? There are different kinds and all of them have different shapes. The major kinds of split ends are;

  1. The basic split: Split ends, also known as trichoptilosis, its common hair problem of everyone. These are splitting or fraying of hair strands at the tips.
  2. The mini: Mini split ends, also called micro-trichoptilosis, are tiny hair splits at the tips.
  3. Fork in the road: Incomplete splits occur when the hair strand starts to split but hasn't completely separated yet. They may look like a forked or partially split end.
  4. The candle: In this type, the split is more gradual and looks like the strands have been feathered or frayed at the ends.
  5. The tree: In this case, a single hair strand may split into multiple branches, resembling the branches of a tree. This type indicates severe damage.
  6. The knot: Sometimes, hair strands can become tangled or knotted at the ends, leading to breakage and potential split ends.

What is the relation Between split ends and Damaged Hair?

Why do split ends occur and what is the relation between split ends and damaged hair? The ends of your hair have lived several years with you, through whatnot. The daily wear and tear of the hair end cause the split ends and if those split ends are left untouched and untreated, the whole hair shaft would be split and ripped.

The outermost layer of hair i.e. cuticles is damaged, they fade away exposing the inner cortex of the hair. Such hair strands don't sit straight and smooth against the other hair, instead, they keep getting tangled with other hair causing (yes, you guessed it right) more split ends and breakage in hair.

4 Major Causes of Split Ends:

Out of many reasons, the most common are;

  • Chemical exposure
  • Harsh brushing and styling of hair
  • Use of heating tools
  • Internal factors

The other causes may include weather conditions and environment, sleeping with wet hair, hot showers, picking of hair tips/split ends, friction etc.

Split ends are normal in the cycle of hair life but not everything that is normal is good for you, right? The appearance of certain split ends is not as bad because they can be trimmed and gotten rid of but if they are left untreated, as mentioned above, they become a cause of more split ends, breakage, and shedding in hair. The hair loses its smooth cuticle which then keeps on catching and lingering with the other hair strands creating knots and tangles eventually leading to breakage in healthy hair strands. This is why people with split ends and breakage have complained of no increase in the length of their hair. This is how it affects hair growth.

What is the Treatment of Split ends?

The best and only way to get rid of split ends is by regular trimming on hair ends. And another important thing to do is “fake it till you make it” as it is a long road if your hair is breakage-prone, so till you make it, use Hair serums and nourishing oils to cover them. Otherwise, the split ends are irreversible but can be prevented by pampering the hair and giving it the necessary attention in the form of care and hair care products that moisturize the hair and also lock in the moisture that is needed. Use of the right preventive routine of hair care at home is the only way to reduce the chances of getting it.

Why is Regular Trimming of hair ends Important?

Consistent trimming is essential for keeping split ends at bay. Regular trims (about once every 6 to 8 weeks) can help keep your hair looking and feeling its best. When it comes to trimming, it may be best to focus on the damaged parts of your hair, rather than taking off length all over. This approach can help you maintain the style you want while avoiding excess damage from snipping off too much length.

Is Heat Styling Damage Hair?

Heat styling tools, like hair straighteners, curling wands, and blow dryers can cause serious damage to your locks. To reduce the risk of split ends, avoid using these products as much as possible and try to embrace your natural hair texture. When you use them, always apply a heat-protectant serum before styling, which can prevent heat damage. And if you find yourself using them more than once a week, consider investing in quality heat protectants specifically designed for your hair type and curl pattern.

Don’t Over-Wash Your Hair:

Washing your hair too often can strip away the natural oils that help protect and nourish it, resulting in dryness and split ends. It’s best to only wash your hair once or twice a week; any more than that can be damaging. Never use chemical shampoos on hair lengths as it can be terrifically damaging. If you’re prone to greasy locks, try switching to a lighter conditioner and use a deep conditioning mask on occasion to boost moisture and help keep them at bay.

Proper Hair Care Habits:

Proper hair care habits can also help reduce split ends and maintain healthy locks. Make sure you comb gently from the bottom up starting at the tips, avoiding too much pulling or tugging which can cause damage. Brushing gently helps evenly distribute natural oils so it’s best to give your hair some extra passes with a soft brush before shampooing or conditioning. Use your fingers to comb out knots rather than a brush to avoid excessive force and breakage.

Some other steps that must be taken to prevent and reduce split ends are;
  • Avoid toxic chemicals
  • Include Argan oil products in your hair care routine (Especially Hair Serums that lock the moisture in the hair strands). They are the best to prevent damage to hair lengths. 
  • Be gentle with the hair
  • Drink more water and take a balanced diet
  • Hot oil treatments and deep conditioning
  • Avoid hot showers
  • Avoid picking on your split ends
  • Use silk pillowcases and silk hair accessories
  • Never comb your hair when they are wet

Keeping your hair hydrated and moisturized is the most crucial thing while dealing with trichoptilosis and dryness go hand-in-hand. Treatment for trichoptilosis can be harder than prevention. So next time, make sure that you prevent them instead of trying to treat them later on. 


In summary, split ends are hair problems that can be controlled and prevented with proper care. Understanding the types, causes, and treatments for trichoptilosis can help you keep your hair healthy. Regular haircuts, heat styling, and proper hair care are important steps to achieving frizz-free hair. Remember, it's important to prevent separation anxiety. Adding protection and health to your hair routine can help you maintain the beauty and vitality of your hair, keeping the ends soft and strong without tangles and breakage. Therefore, do not wait for the damage to become irreversible. Start taking care of your hair today and enjoy healthy and strong hair for years to come.

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