Split ends are a completely natural occurrence that are all too familiar for most people. These delicately frayed disruptions at the tips of our precious hair strands might feel like an ongoing battle, yet they emerge as a standard consequence of our everyday habits and environmental factors. Equipping ourselves with an understanding of what they are, their causes and effective management techniques can set you up for managing them effectively and improving your hair strength.
What are split ends?
The medical term for split ends is trichoptilosis and they are defined as a hair condition where the ends of the hair shaft split or fray into two or more separate strands. They can occur when the protective outer layer of the hair, called the cuticle, becomes damaged or wears away due to various factors. This damage subsequently weakens the integrity of the hair strand, leading it to divide into smaller segments, giving rise to the dreaded split ends we're all familiar with.
Different types of split ends
Ever glanced at the ends of your hair and wondered about the myriad ways they seem to fray? Not many people would say yes. But if you take a close look at your hair strands you’ll discover that there are actually a few different types of split ends, each with their own distinct appearance and underlying causes.
Understanding what type of split ends you have will help you decide what your next best step for caring for your hair is.
1. Basic Split Ends
Imagine a rope unravelling into two, that's the most basic split end type. It's the poster child of hair damage, w here a single strand divides into two like a tiny fork.
2. Y Splits
These have a distinct Y-shaped split at the hair tip, think of it as the next level up from the classic split. Excess stress or friction is often the culprit here.
3. Incomplete Splits
This can be thought of as a partial split end, where the hair strand shows a weakened area but does not fully separate into two strands.
As the name suggests, these are knots formed from hair tangling or twisting. Especially familiar to our curly and coily-haired types, these knots are little reminders to take detangling seriously.
5. Taper Splits
Here, the hair strand gradually thins out as you move towards the end, resulting in a split. These are telltale signs of ongoing damage, perhaps from frequent styling, chemicals, or other rough treatment.
6. Tree Splits
A single strand splits not into one or two, but several smaller strands, reminiscent of tree branches. This drama queen of split ends often signifies repeated damage to the hair strand over time.
7. Feathered Splits
More even in nature than the tree split, these resemble the fluffy thin strands of a feather. They occur when the hair shaft has multiple splits along its length. Likely due to excessive handling, styling, or chemical processing. A signal that your hair needs immediate attention and care.
What causes split ends?
Now that you understand the types of split ends let’s deep dive into the most common reasons they occur.
Sun, salt & surf
The most general reason is environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to the sun, wind, or salty water can damage hair, leading to split ends. This is because, hair, just like your skin, requires adequate moisture and nutrients to remain healthy. When it's deprived of hydration, either from infrequent moisturising or the use of harsh products, it becomes brittle.
Aging is inevitable and unfortunately as hair grows and ages, the older ends are more exposed to daily wear and tear, increasing their vulnerability to damage. To support your hair strength in the long run it’s recommended your diet includes ample vital nutrients like biotin, protein, and omega-3s can strengthen your hair.
If you’re worried about managing your nutrient intake for hair strength we recommend taking Pump Mermaid Hair Growth Vitamins.
Over or under washing your hair
Another possible cause is overwashing your hair which can strip hair of its natural oils, making it dry and prone to splitting. Similarly, if you’re not washing your hair enough it can become weighed down with a buildup of natural oils, product leading to damage. The best way to ensure you find the right balance is by looking out for signs like dryness or greasiness.
Think of this as aggressive movement, friction or tension. Aggressive brushing, especially when hair is wet, can cause significant damage. Tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or braids, can also cause undue tension leading to fraying or even hair loss. But did you know that even your sleeping habits can affect your hair's health? If you're someone who tosses and turns at night, the friction from your pillow can lead to mechanical stress on your hair. This is why Silk Pillow Cases and Silk Sleep Caps are so popular, they reduce the friction that standard pillowcases can cause, ensuring that you wake up with fewer tangles and reduced chances of split ends.
Just as the sun can dry out our skin, heat tools can strip our hair of its natural moisture. When hair loses its hydration, it becomes more susceptible to breakage. The intense heat from straighteners, curling irons, and even blow dryers can make hair brittle over time. That’s why using heat protection like our Pump Heat Protection spray is so important. It adds an extra coating that deeply nourishes and shields your hair from damage that could occur to your hair strands.
If you’ve ever dyed your hair, had a perm, or straightening that involves chemicals all of these things can weaken the hair structure, making it prone to split ends and dryness. If this sounds familiar don’t worry that’s why we have a dedicated range for Moisture and Repair to give your hair strands the support they need to strengthen and prevent breakage.
How to prevent split ends?
Making sure your hair strands are moisturized and protected throughout the day is going to help your hair stay refreshed and protected from further damage. Using hydrating products such as coconut oil, argan oil, hydrolyzed quinoa, jojoba oil and aloe vera are going to target your split ends and form a protective barrier around the hair strand. To ensure your hair is getting all the hydration it needs throughout the day, we recommend the Pump Moisture and Repair collection or the Anti-frizz collection to keep your locks supported and hydrated.
How to get rid of split ends?
The most effective removal of split ends is regular hair trims, you’ve likely heard this before but that’s why your hairdresser recommends every 6-8 weeks to maintain healthy hair.
Given hydration is one of the root causes of split ends using dedicated deep conditioning products like the Pump Leave in Hydrate Conditioner or the Pump Repair Mask you can help nourish and mend your dry strands.
FAQs about Split Ends
Why do I get split ends so easily?
Split ends are caused by the hair’s cuticle being damaged or worn away. This happens due to the lack of moisture in the hair shaft from heat styling, chemical treatments, overwashing or environmental stressors. It can also be due to nutritional deficiencies or aging as we produce less keratin proteins, causing the hair follicles to become thin and fragile.
What happens if split ends are not cut?
If you avoid getting regular haircuts and prevent further damage by keeping your hair well-hydrated, the spilt hair follicles can continue to break and travel up the hair shaft.
Is it OK to break split ends?
Although it may make your hair temporarily look neater, in the long run it is not a good idea to break your split ends as it can create a rough, uneven edge on the hair shaft. This can lead to the surrounding hair strands to catch and break as well. It is recommended to opt for a trim and resist the temptation to break them yourself.