Retaining Length- Managing Split/Breaking Ends

Last week, I began “My Grow Out Challenge”.  Throughout this next few weeks, we will continue to explore tips/techniques to achieve long, healthy natural hair.  Read the overview.

The key to long hair is to retain the length of your hair or maintain the ends.  If you think your hair is not growing, you are mistaken.  Your hair is growing.  Average hair growth rate is an one-half of an inch per month. If you’re not noticing growth, chances are the ends of your hair are breaking or splitting which results in breakage.

[ad#square-125×125] Below are some reasons why you may be experiencing split or breaking ends.  In the beauty world split hair or split ends is officially known as trichoptilosis. There are wide range of reasons why split ends occur.

Courtesy of Felicia Leatherwood, Celebrity Stylist & Owner of Loving Your Hair with Natural Hair Care.

Some causes include:

  • Excessive use of hot styling tools (irons, hot curlers, blow dryers, hot combs).
  • Overuse of chemical treatments (relaxers, perms, hair color).
  • Use of inferior styling tools that rip or snag hair (cheap synthetic brushes or combs, brush rollers, etc.,).
  • Environmental damage from heat, cold, wind and other climate issues.
  • Lack of routine maintenance such as regular trimming.
  • Improper detangling techniques.
  • Overwashing.
  • Use of inferior hair care products.
  • Excessive use of styling products such as gels, waxes and sprays.
  • Trimming with inferior scissors


Other Split Ends Causes

There are other causes for split ends beside some of the main ones mentioned above. Other causes could be excessive tangling, improper application or removal of hair extensions, headgear that snaps or rips delicate strands or even scratchy bedclothes, fingers or hands.  Regardless of how you developed split ends, once you have them they will not just disappear.


Managing Split Ends

You will have to deal with them by either having them removed, wearing your hair to disguise their appearance or utilizing tricks to temporarily merge the splits together.  There are a lot of myths about split ends. The number one myth is that once a split end occurs, you can actually fix it by repairing it so that the end is no longer torn.  The truth of the matter is that once an end is split it is ripped apart for good. Yes, there are ways to temporarily glue the ends together and even give the appearance of healthy ends.  Celebrity stylists disguise split ends all the time for their megawatt star clients. However, ultimately the only way to remove a split end is to cut it off with a proper trim.


How do you deal with your split ends?


26 thoughts on “Retaining Length- Managing Split/Breaking Ends

  1. S

    This is true fur me. Regular trims, patient detangling has ensured thick healthy hair. Even though I take meds for thyroid. I know the hair probably would be even healthier were it nit for that. I noticed it was thinning and shedding more then usual.

  2. benica

    heyyy i have this thing in my mind that says if am retaining lenghth then why should i cut it?? how and why exctly are u suppose to trim. i have no idea how to do it. and am scared to do it cuz i want my lenght

  3. S

    Well you can’t have it both ways. If you want healthy,y thick hair get rid of the damage now. Start from there an that hair will be thriving on no time.

  4. Tori J.

    Hey. i’ve been natural for about 9 months now.Not to long after i BC’d i put a black rinse in my hair (my hair was growing fine then), but i wanted to go a reddish color, and a rinse that light wouldn’t show up in my hair so i dyed it. (my hair isn’t growing anymore) at first i thought it was because i was meesing with my hair too much while experimenting hair styles and switching products, now i’m believing that it may have also had something to do with the dye. I want to get my hair growing again so i can NOTICE IT. I just got my ends clipped in January, i plan to get them clipped again around April. Instead of washing every week, i’m washing every 2 weeks. Instead of switching from product to product, i’m going to stick to just one enexpensive grease and moisturizer ( BB’S products) recommended by a friend.. so far my hair is softer, and not breaking as much. I’m steaming and misting my hair every other day, and not combing it out as much everynight before bed like i use to (I put it in braids in my hair so it would look like something the next day) now im just putting on a satin bunnet. I hope i’m on the right path to getting my hair back growing. Any suggestions or corrections?

    1. rumplestilskin

      When u wash I I would also deep condition. Use oils such as coconut, jojoba, etc. To seal moisture in you hair everyday. U could also mix that with glycerin. I also have color and had a breakage problem, and this got it to stop.

  5. Antoinette

    My previous hairdresser used the flat iron on my hair it has broken off terribly in the front and the relaxer has not helped as well please advise.

  6. S

    The hair loss, split ends could also come from under or an over active thyroid. Which can be to a certain extent corrected. Oprah has this problem. Constant hairitis (raising hand )ex smoker (smile ).not enough moisture.

  7. Angel

    I am just really trying to figure out what to do because of going through a fail IVF cycle my hair is breaking. I had no problems before, my hair was growing so well and now this. I don’t know what to do. I have been doing my henna treatments and a protein treatment alternating months. Ugh. I do make sure my hair is well moisturized and do deep treatments once a week. It has slowed down but i can’t find any information on it. I have read about some women that have had the problem but no real solutions to the problem. I guess it is a waiting game. Just continue to take care of my hair. I am going to try to do bunning soon, just to let my hair rest. We will see, but if anyone has any advice, i will take it.

  8. S

    Put it up in some stationary position starting off. This my problem always trying a different style. Once I got shoulder length sometimes changing styles twice a day! Constantly raking through it. The ends starting snapping off! Lack of moisture not enough spritzing my hair devours moisture seal ends. I’ve been natural for going on six year’s. And these hair boards never cease to amaze me!

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  10. ker

    I have natural hair for about two years.. It seems to be coming along ok.. But to me so slow.. It’s not very long, and it not thick to me.. I always spin it and I use bees wax all the time to keep it.. I notice however as soon as I style it the ends curl up in little balls and fall off… This happens for 2 days.. And then its fine until I style it again..why does it happen?

  11. tamantha

    Hi, I’ve been natural for 3 1/2 years. My hair is thick. Even when i use to get perms my hair has been thick. But my problem is i LOVE my ponytails which is creating what is called by my beautician as ponytail breakage in the middle very bad. How can i fix that? Thanks

  12. whitley

    I wash & deep condition my hair biweekly and cowash on the weeks off, 2 days out the week I wear my in a twist out the other 5 days I have it in a bun w/ extentions with considerable amount of gel. Could this routine lead to breakage on my 4b/4c hair?

  13. Angelia

    I have been natural for one year February 2014 I did the big chop I measured my hair two days ago and it has only grown 8 inches is this a slow growth or is this normal growth? I have 4b hair so it tangles quickly it is hard to maintain I use care free curl products to help keep it moisturize. Is there any tips for length

  14. Tina Grant

    I wanted to start locs but my natural hair suffers from a lot of split ends single knots and breaks from it. I want to loc because I feel that it would reduce manipulation. I’m just hesitant because I don’t want my locs to be weak and break off. Any suggestions on preparing for the loc process?

  15. Rena Utley

    I’ve been on my natural hair journey for 7 months and have seen a substantial amount of growth however, I’m not retaining length. I reason why I decided to go natural was because my relaxed hair was starting to break off and become thin. The ends of my hair are extremely dry and I co-was it every other day just to moisturize it. It’s so stressful dealing with the dryness, the breakage, and the two textures. I probably should cut my relaxed ends off but I just can’t!! I’ve gotten weaves to protect my hair but it seems like that only makes it worse because I can’t condition and moisturize as well as I could without one. What can I do?

  16. Brittany

    I’ve been having trouble with slit ends and single knots. It’s really frustrating because I’ve been natural for about 5 years now but within the last 2-3 years. I haven’t really seen any growth even though I trim my hair at least every 6 months to a year. Should I trim again and try a new moisture method or do I need to start over?


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