A broken anything isn’t fun, whether it’s a vase or a promise. But we know of something that shatters every woman’s heart every time it breaks – hair!
Have you seen the ends of your hair fray in two directions? Do you notice hair on your pillow, in your brush, on your towel? All these are indicators that your hair is breaking or splitting.
Why Do Hair Split and Break?
Hair splitting and breaking are two different events, but the causes are the same. The ends of our hair are the oldest part, and also the weakest. With time, the hair ends lose their protective layer and end up splitting. Split ends lead to hair breakage when hair strands break off at different lengths. The result is frizz, flyaways, and an overall messy look.
Having some split ends is normal, but too many are indicative that you have a problem. There are many causes for split ends and breakage, some of which are:
- Over washing or aggressive washing
- Excessive use of heat tools
- Frequent treatments like straightening, perming and coloring
- Too much exposure to heat, dust, chlorine, and pollution
- Improper handling of hair, especially when wet
- Nutritional deficiencies
When any of these or any combination of these occur, your hair tends to break off. The bad news is that there is no way to fix split ends or hair breakage, which is why prevention is important. The good news is that it is easier than you think – just follow our top tips!
12 Tips to Prevent Split Ends and Hair Breakage
- Change Your Hair Washing Routine
Washing your hair the wrong way is one of the biggest reasons for hair breakage. First of all, avoid over washing. Washing too much strips the hair of its natural oils, making it dry and brittle. Depending upon your hair type, wash your hair 1-3 times a week. Apply shampoo on the scalp and conditioner on the hair strands. When massaging shampoo onto your head, use your fingertips and not your nails. Avoid circular motions that will damage hair; instead, use an up and down motion. Wet hair is particularly prone to damage, so be more careful while managing them.
- Use Hydrating Products
If your hair is prone to splitting and breaking, you may have dry hair that’s crying for moisture. Use hydrating shampoos, conditioners, and indulge in a weekly hydrating hair mask. You can make it yourself, using ingredients like coconut oil, almond oil, aloe vera, honey, avocado, banana, or olive oil. Argan oil is another hydrating ingredient that can be applied as a deep conditioner or as a serum on the lengths of the hair. A leave-in conditioner like almond and jojoba oil also help seal the cuticle of the hair and reduce the chances of breakage.
- Use the Right Kind of Water
So you’ve got the right products, but if your water isn’t good, it can ruin your hair. Hard water or chlorinated water contains chemicals that are harmful to your hair. If that’s the case with you, invest in a shower filter that’ll filter out harsh chemicals. Along with the kind of water, the temperature of the water also plays an important role. Hot water dries out the hair and swells the cuticle, making it prone to breakage. Use lukewarm water for washing and cold water as a final rinse to seal the cuticle and make hair smooth.
- Detangle Your Hair
We’ve all been there – your hair is one big mess, and trying to comb it out, only makes it worse. Trying to brush or comb tangled hair is a big cause for hair breakage. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle hair first and start from the ends of the hair, moving upwards to the scalp. This is particularly important if you’re detangling wet hair. Use a serum or oil if your hair is too tangled, and you’re worried it’ll break.
- Avoid Over-Brushing
Brushing your hair helps distribute the natural oils from the scalp along the hair shaft, and it also improves blood circulation in the scalp. However, overdoing it stresses out the hair and causes breakage. Brush your hair only when you feel that they are tangled. Try and keep your hair tied in a neat ponytail or bun as much as you can.
- Be Gentle When Drying Hair
After washing your hair, your first instinct might be to grab a towel and rub your hair aggressively until it’s dry. Refrain from doing this. Ditch your regular towel and go for a microfiber towel, or you could also use a cotton t-shirt. These are gentle on hair and more absorbent as well. Use it to press the hair gently and blot out the water, without any rubbing.
If you’re going to use a blow dryer, let your hair air dry first, and then use the blow dryer. By doing this, your hair will not be damaged and be protected from the heat.
- Limit the Use of Heated Tools
It’s best to cut down on the use of heated tools for hair styling. Regular use of heat on hair can change the structure of the proteins in hair and cause irreversible damage. Embrace your natural hair and learn to style it heat-free.
If you have to use a blow dryer, keep the nozzle at a distance. Make sure to turn down the temperature on heating tools. Never use styling tools on wet hair and always use a heat protectant before exposing hair to heat.
- Cut Down on Hair Treatments
Just like excessive heat exposure, chemicals can also damage hair causing it to break and become fray. Some of the chemical treatments include coloring, rebonding, perming, or chemical straightening. Doing these regularly can cause long term damage, it is best to limit them.
Try to increase the gap between each treatment to give hair the time to recover. You can use treatments that include keratin for more nourishment.
- Change Your Hairstyle
Do you always tie your hair up in a tight bun or pony? These are certainly convenient, especially if you’re a Mom. However, a tight updo can put unwanted stress on your hair strands and roots. Give your hair a break with loose hairstyles like a loose braid. Avoid backcombing as it damages the scales of the cuticle.
Get regular hair cuts or trims to avoid split ends and to keep your hair healthy.
- Sleep on Silk
Want to feel like a queen while protecting your hair? Get yourself a silk pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases cause more friction, which messes up the cuticle and increases the chance of hair breakage. Silk is smoother and reduces friction, and it’s great for your skin as well. If you can’t find a silk pillowcase, you can tie your hair in a silk scarf before going to bed as well.
- Eat a Balanced Diet
Your diet plays a significant role in the quality and health of your hair. Hair needs protein to stay strong and to repair itself. Vitamins C, D3, biotin, and folic acid help in improving blood supply to the follicles and nourish the hair strands. Include eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, fruit, and green leafy vegetables in your diet.
- Keep Your Hair Protected
Another reason for hair breakage and split ends is exposure to extreme weather conditions. Protect your hair from sun, snow, and rain with a hat, scarf, and umbrella. Chlorine from swimming pools can also harm hair, so wear a swimming cap when heading to the pool.
You can’t repair split ends, but you can prevent them by following these tips:
- Apply a light oil or shine serum to the ends of the hair
- Style hair in buns to hide the ends
- Avoid picking split ends – it makes things worse
- Get a dusting haircut that removes the split ends without shortening the hair too much