How To Stop And Avoid Split Ends In Relaxed Hair

If you have any hair on your head you’re going to have a split end or two in your lifetime. And that’s ok as it’s bound to happen because split ends are a common occurrence, especially with relaxed hair. What isn’t common is having split ends all of the time because they can cause some irreparable damage to your hair strands.

If you think your relaxed hair has split ends or you experience them often, keep reading to see what you can do to fix split ends and avoid them.
Split Ends Causes And Treatments | A Relaxed Gal
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What are split ends?

These are the frayed or split ends of your hair strands. This fraying or splitting is caused by wear and tear on the hair cuticle which causes it to expose the inner cortex of the hair strand.

The thing about split ends is they don’t just stay at the end of the hair strand, they can travel up the hair strand continuing the split and damaging it beyond repair. This can create additional problems for your hair which is why it’s important to address them as soon as possible.

When the hair strand splits it can be one of several types of splits:

Y-shaped split: This is when the ends of the hair split in two and resemble a Y shape. This is the most common type of split end.

Candle split: This is an interesting one because the hair doesn’t necessarily split. Instead, it erodes so the hair strand becomes smaller or thinner.

Fork split: This one is evident when the hair strand splits into three and kinda looks like a fork.

Tree split: This is when the hair strand has multiple splits that tend to resemble tree branches.

Tree, Candle, and Fork splits are more serious than Y-shaped splits so the best way to address them is to immediately cut them off.

Split ends can be caused by simple things such as the everyday hair practices of brushing, combing, or detangling. This is why it's stressed quite a bit that you should be gentle with your hair and try not to manipulate it too much.

Other causes of split ends include
  • The use of excessive heat: The constant heat from blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons can damage the hair cuticle and dry it out leaving it even more susceptible to splitting
  • Environmental factors: Too much sun and too little humidity can dry out and weaken the hair
  • Using products that don’t agree with your hair
  • Relaxers: Yes, I had to put this on the list because relaxers weaken the hair strand
  • Improper application of chemicals: Relaxers, bleaches, and coloring, all weaken the hair strand but it is much worse and really damages the hair when the chemicals aren’t properly applied
  • Protein overload: This stiffens the hair and keeps it from getting the moisture it needs making the hair strands easier to damage

How to know you have split ends

Because the splits may not always be noticeable to the naked eye unless you get really close to the hair you have to pay attention to more visible signs that your hair is experiencing split ends.

Some key visible signs that you have split ends are your ends are
  • Dull
  • Dry
  • Rough
  • Frizzy
  • Breaking off
  • Easily knotting and tangling

How to avoid split ends

There are many different things you can do to help your hair avoid split ends and the damage they can cause. Many of these are things you’ve heard before as they help relaxed hair avoid other types of damage as well.

One word of caution, it can be tempting to get excited and try everything at once but that could have the opposite effect and cause damage instead of preventing damage.

1. Get regular trims

This is something you can do at home yourself, or have done as part of your regular salon visits. When I was growing out my hair I would get a trim every other relaxer touch-up unless my ends looked like they needed a little cleaning up.

2. Moisturize often

Keeping the hair moisturized and sealing in that moisture with a serum or natural oil helps to keep the ends flexible and more protected from damage.

3. Do regular hair conditioning

When doing this use conditioners that give your hair what it needs, nourishment, hydration, and or strength. You can amplify the penetration of the conditioner in the hair strands by covering your head with a plastic cap or heating cap or using a steamer.

4. Wear protective styles

A great way to avoid split ends is to protect your ends so they aren’t exposed to things that can damage them. This can be achieved by wearing long or short-term protective styles that keep your ends tucked away.

I prefer short-term protective styles like buns. When I wear my hair in a bun I like to use satin or silk hair ties or scrunchies as they are softer and more gentle on my hair.

5. Do hair treatments

These can either be moisture or protein treatments. A good moisture treatment could be as simple as bagging your ends, doing a steam treatment, or using an intense moisture mask.

Occasionally doing a protein treatment can add some strength to your ends and make them more resilient to potential damage so split ends don’t start.

With either type of treatment pay special attention to your ends since they are usually where the splitting starts.

6. Be gentle

Handle your hair with care when styling or detangling. When you're gentle you're less likely to cause any damage to your hair. When you're rough with your hair and impatient you can cause damage to the hair shaft which can lead to split ends.

What to do when you have split ends

The best thing to do when you have split ends is to cut them off. Though there are some temporary fixes you can get from some hair products such as serums and split-end menders they won’t get rid of the splint end and permanently keep them from getting worse.

When removing split ends you can do it yourself by using a good pair of hair shears or using a tool like the Split Ender Pro. Tools like this can cost $100 or more so they are an investment.

You can also go to a hairstylist and have them cut off the split ends for you. This can be done with a special appointment or during your regular hair appointment.