What Causes Split Ends (and How Can I Prevent Them?)

It often feels like split ends are unavoidable. Especially if you’re trying to grow your hair out, frayed tips can be annoying.

When considering how to get rid of split ends, your first reaction might be to lop them off. But, it’s much more effective to learn how to stop split ends before they happen. To learn how to prevent split ends, let’s talk about what causes split ends, types of split ends and how to avoid split ends.

What Are Split Ends?

So, what are split ends? The term is pretty self-explanatory - split ends occur when your hair is literally split down its shaft. However, the name can also be misleading. While hair usually frays at the bottom, your locks can split at any length, especially if you neglect the tips.

Damaged tips are totally normal, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Why are split ends bad? Split ends are an obvious red flag that your hair is in desperate need of some care and restoration, especially if you see them often.

What Do Split Ends Look Like?

You don’t have to be a salon expert to spot split ends. If you still wonder what do split ends look like, they look like visibly dry and damaged hair.

An easy way how to tell if you have split ends is if you have an abundance of flyaways, which are frizzy hairs that refuse to stay put. Another easy way to identify if you have split ends is to check if your tips are bushier than the rest of your mane.

What Causes Split Ends?

There are several causes for damaged hair, from drying to dying to just going outside. Genetics can determine how susceptible you are to split ends but to understand preventing split ends, know that what’s really important is how you treat your hair.

You could be facilitating breakage without even realizing it - everyday stressors like tying your hair back or taking a hot shower can damage your tresses. And, if they contain harsh chemicals, just using your usual hair products can be harmful.

Usually, however, the main offenders are flat irons and blow dryers. Exposing your hair to high heat and pressure, particularly on a daily basis, is a sure way to cause damage. So is getting chemical treatments on your hair, such as Brazilian blowouts or perms.

Are There Different Types of Split Ends?

There are several types of split ends, and with each, there is a split end remedy. A small, basic split, for example, means that your hair is exhibiting the early stages of damage - something that can be fixed easily with deep conditioning and a hair mask.

Worse than your average split, which is broken in two, a fork-in-the-road split is split into three. The tree split, however, is the ultimate sign of breakage: Hair is split so drastically that a single strand can look like it has several “branches.”

There are also types of split ends that aren’t necessarily “split.” Breakage that thins your hair and the end and gives it the appearance of a wick is called “the candle,” and knotting is common in curly hair. Still, both are signs of damage.

How to Prevent Split Ends

Probably the most essential element to prevent split ends is to keep your hair hydrated. Split ends are both caused and characterized by dryness, so make sure to use heat protectant and hair masks on a regular basis.

While it isn’t the most desirable split end remedy, trimming your hair regularly helps combat the development of damage. You’re not only getting rid of split ends that already exist, but also preventing further splitting.

Why Are Split Ends Bad?

Although they’re normal, there’s a reason why so many experts focus on how to fix split ends. Split ends are a red flag, and if left untouched, they can snag onto healthy strands and cause them to break.

Neglecting damage can also lead to tangles and shedding, making your everyday styling routine significantly harder. While straightening your strands may momentarily hide your split ends, you’re actually contributing to the problem.

What Happens if You Don't Cut Your Split Ends?

Sometimes, cutting your damaged tips seems like the only solution. But, what happens if you don’t cut your split ends?

Usually, allowing your split ends to grow will only cause the breakage to move up the hair shaft. So, flyaways will start popping up on the top of your head, and you’ll see stray hairs sticking out along the length of your mane.

The Ultimate Split Ends Remedy: the AirIron

So, if using blow dryers and flat irons is so bad for your hair, how are you supposed to practice your everyday styling?

The solution is the AirIron, a one-step hair dryer and styler. As the best of the best blow dryer attachments, this nozzle connects to almost any dryer to dry and style your hair in a single go.

Using hair dryer accessories like the AirIron cools the air from the dryer, lessening your hair’s exposure to heat. High temperatures strip your hair of natural moisture, so using dryer attachments is a simple solution.

By replacing your harsh hair straightener, the AirIron also removes friction from your styling. Flat irons apply heated pressure to your hair, which can damage your cuticles.

With the AirIron, you’ll be drying and straightening in one step, so your tresses won’t be under stress for as long as a two- or three-step process. This is such a simple way to make your whole hair care routine healthier: You’ll be preventing split ends while achieving salon quality styles.