#Facts: Split ends can wreak havoc on the health of your hair. But, tbh, reaching for the scissors yourself can make things hella worse. Mindy Green, Washington, D.C. area-based licensed cosmetologist and owner of MG Beauty, is comin’ through with tips on how to let your locks be great, even when a trip to the salon is still a personal pandemic no-go for you.
First, Why Tho?
According to Green, trichoptilosis, aka “split ends,” occurs when the ends of the hair become dry, brittle, and damaged. This can be from heat styling, hair color, relaxers, or overexposure to chlorine or the sun. “With curly, kinky, or wavy hair types, the natural oils from the scalp have a hard time being distributed down the hair shaft to the ends,” she explains. “Because of this, people with curlier hair types must be diligent about moisturizing their hair and getting trims on a regular basis to keep split ends under control.”
Know the Signs
More tangles and frizz than usual? Your ends may be getting out of control, says Green. And if you’re natural, split ends may cause your curls to lose elasticity and definition overtime. “As soon as split ends start to occur you must act quickly. If not, they will continue to split up the hair shaft and you’ll lose your length,” she says. “The only true remedy is to trim off the split ends.”
But Don’t DIY
Queuing up a YouTube video and trying to snip things yourself may seem like a good idea, but you could end up exacerbating the problem and triggering more split ends due to not using the proper tools, such as sharp hair cutting shears. This is a sure way to stunt hair growth. “Another concern is you could end up trimming too much, or [your hair] will end up shorter than you want because the stylist must clean up the cut [later],” says Green.
What You Can Do Now
No matter what all those shampoo commercials tell you, split ends cannot be reversed. There are ways to prevent further damage from going down, though. “First, try to determine the cause of the split ends,” says Green. “If it’s heat styling, try switching to roller sets or twist-outs. If it’s coloring or relaxing, make sure to wait for at least an inch of new growth before retouching color [and] if it’s using a relaxer, wait at least six to eight weeks between touch-ups.”
The hairstyles you’re rockin’ in quarantine can help you protect those ends, as well. “A few quarantine styling options are flat twists, two-strand twists, or Bantu knots,” says Green. “Sporting a head wrap with your hair in cornrows underneath is [also] a great option.”
If you must use heat, use thermal protection prior to flat ironing, blow drying, or curling. “Choose either a leave-in conditioner type or a spray-on right before heat styling to protect your hair [and] use the lowest temperature possible to achieve the result you want.”
What You Can Do in the Future
When we know better, we do better, right? The next time you get a fresh trim, be sure to incorporate a moisturizing conditioner or mask to your weekly hair regimen, which, according to Green, is the best method of prevention. “You may need to alternate with a protein or reconstructing treatment if the hair is weak,” she says. “I recommend sitting under a dryer with a cap and allowing the product to penetrate deeper.”