During my long coffee dates over facetime recently, a few of my friends have expressed their stress about not having access to a hairdresser and getting split ends. Unfortunately, split ends can’t be fixed once they’re there but they can be disguised and better yet, prevented. I have no idea when I’ll next get a hair cut, and I’m not about to try doing it myself just yet. Our best bet is to keep our hair as healthy as possible by using a few simple methods and avoid a drastic cut one day.
What are split ends?
If you want to get technical, the medical term for split ends is”trichoptilosis” or “schizotrichia”, a result of hair fiber splitting or fraying. Generally, you find split ends at the end of hair strands but you may also find it higher up depending on the condition of your hair.
What causes split ends?
Split ends are caused by the hair shaft weakening and the fibers splitting, this then leads to hair breakage. Breakage is when your hair begins to break off at the weakest point on the strand, or the split end. Damage and breakage are usually caused by one of or a combination of heat, chemical treatments, over-styling, dry hair, and dyes. If you’ve ever noticed your hair isn’t growing, it may be due to damaged ends and your hair always breaking off at the same point.
How to prevent slip ends?
As split ends happen when the hair is weak, prevention is all about avoiding damage and keeping the hair soft and moisturized.
- Brush your hair gently – yes it’s true, if you’re too rough with your scalp and hair it can cause damage and split ends. Brush your hair from the bottom up, this will prevent you from raking the knots out from root to end and causing further damage. Try using a detangler instead of a normal brush.
- Avoid heat – while we’re at home, avoid styling your hair with heat, or blow-drying it. If you really can’t avoid this, keep your styling tools on low heat and use a good heat protector. The higher the heat the more damage will be inflicted on your locks.
- Do not pick and pull – we all know this is never a good idea. Tearing, pulling, picking, leave your poor hair alone. Picking your split ends only creates more damage by scraping the cuticle, it’s not a ‘do it yourself’ haircut.
- Avoid towel drying – rubbing the ends of your hair with a towel can damage the hair cuticles and weaken the hair. Use an old T-shirt or a muslin towel, better yet air dry. Always be gentle with your hair!
- Stay hydrated – water hydrates the body and assists in regulating the circulatory system, this feeds into the hair follicle and stimulates hair growth. If the roots of your hair don’t have enough hydration, they’ll become dry, brittle and break. Go get a glass of water, right now!
- Deep Condition – keep the ends of your hair deeply conditioned to maintain moisture and supple hair. This doesn’t mean splurging on an expensive at-home treatment or mask. Your kitchen has all the ingredients you need, at a much lower cost.
Deep Conditioning Masks
Avocado is rich in fatty acids that are essential for nourishment and strengthening the hair follicles. It’s packed with moisture and gives a fabulous shine. Vitamin E and phytosterols are absorbed by the scalp which stimulates circulation and helps protect your hair from getting dry or damaged.
- X1 ripe avocado (if the avo is hard, it’s difficult to get smooth)
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
if you have very long or thick hair, you can add more olive oil to spread out the mixture
How to –
- mashup or blend avocado and put it in a bowl (try to make it as smooth as possible)
- add in olive oil and mix till smooth
- separate your hair into sections and apply the mask from the middle to end of your hair
- gently tie it up, or pop on a shower cap and let sit for 30mins
- rinse the mask out in warm (not hot) water
- shampoo (try to avoid a clarifying shampoo)
- use a very small amount of conditioner or if your hair is very dry; use your usual amount
Hot Oil Treatment
As well as being moisturizing, a hot oil treatment goes the extra mile by opening and deeply penetrating the hair follicles. When I worked for Lush Cosmetics, I enjoyed their hot oil treatments and felt inspired to make my own at home.
- 1 tablespoon – 1\4 cup of coconut oil
- 2-3 teaspoons of castor oil (olive oil can be substituted)
- (optional) add in a few drops of your favorite essential oils for an aromatherapy moment
How to –
- heat oil in a water bath over the stove until warm to the touch (not boiling)
- take off the heat and add in essential oils
- apply generously to dry hair, working it into the scalp and down to the ends
- apply a shower cap or towel and leave for minimum 30mins
- wash well with shampoo
- condition if you have dry hair
TIP: keep the mask on while you sleep and wash it out well in the morning
So there you have it, a rundown on how to keep your hair in a good state during this time and for the future. Check out my blog post of healthy hair during lockdown for more ideas on keeping your locks in tip-top condition. Stay safe, happy and healthy.