What Causes Split Ends?

By Milly / December 26, 2019

Does your hair look dry and brittle? That’s probably because you have split ends! Today we will tell you everything about what causes split ends, how to prevent and treat them. Split ends happen when your hair splinters due to damage to the oldest part of the hair shaft. This leads to breakage, making the hair break at a point that makes the strand significantly shorter than the unbroken hair. Split ends can be caused by several factors which we will discuss below.

What Causes Split Ends?

split ends


Chemicals like hair dyes, hair relaxants, piercing solutions, and bleaching agents can all damage your hair. Split ends happen when hair dyes break the protective layer of the hair in order to replace the natural color. Relaxants and perms are made to change the shape of the hair, and for this to happen, the chemicals must break the disulfide bonds that give hair its natural structure. When the disulfide bonds are broken, the strength of the hair is weakened.

Environmental Factors

Any kind of weather can affect your hair but sun damage is the most dangerous. The UV radiation can affect your color and the protein bonds of your hair. When you've gotten too much sun exposure, it can damage the protein and keratin bonds in charge of shine, flexibility, and strength of your hair. With protein and color of your hair being affected by the sun, it can loose natural shine and become brittle, weak and dry.


The fastest way to damage your hair resulting in split ends, is the use of heat tools. Straightening irons, curling irons and blow driers, are used to dry the hair faster or curl it, changing the shape of the hair. This process of heating the hair can remove water, leaving the hair dehydrated and your ends looking brittle and more susceptible to cracking.

Lack of Nutrients

Just like everything in our bodies, nutrition plays an important role when it comes to having healthy hair. With a balanced diet of minerals, proteins and vitamins, hair health improves tremendously. Nutrients like iron, zinc, and protein are the most influential to your hair.


Some inherited conditions like trichorrhexis nodosa and Trichothiodystrophy can cause split ends. Both conditions weaken the hair leaving them more susceptible to breakage and damage.

Physical Damage

Styling, brushing, detangling, handling and touching your hair, can all break down the cuticle little by little. Excessive combing can also lead to additional stretching and breakage.


Some materials and fabrics can cause damage to the hair cuticle. If your hats, sweaters, pillowcases, and towels are made of rough materials, they can accelerate the development of split ends.

How to Prevent Split Ends:

split ends
  • Cut down on heating tools: Since heating tools are the fastest way of getting split ends, using them less is the smartest thing to do. When you do use them, try to do it in their lowest setting.
  • Drink more water: hydrate your hair from the inside leaving it stronger to fight environmental damage.
  • Avoid too many chemicals: try to use hair products that are free of drying ingredients and chemicals. Use more natural hair products made to nourish your hair deeply. Also, avoid any chemical treatments and/or dyes.
  • Trim regularly: Cutting your hair every 8-12 weeks is recommended to keep healthy hair. Leaving split ends uncut could potentially get worse and travel all the way up.
  • Dry hair carefully: When it comes to drying your hair, air drying is the best option. If you are using other methods like a towel, try to use a soft cotton towel. If using a hairdryer, do it on the lowest setting.
  • Wash less: Wash your hair less to allow your scalp to restore the natural oil balance. When washing, use cold or lukewarm water since hot water can damage your hair.
  • Brush carefully: Always use a wide tooth comb to brush out towel dried hair. This will prevent damage and breakage as well as split ends. The less you tug/pull on your hair, the better.

Split Ends Natural Treatments:

You can always keep your hair healthy and free of split ends, by applying a DIY treatment weekly. The following recipes are formulated to keep your hair soft, shiny and healthy.

Nourishing Hair Mask for Split Ends



  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Apply to damp or wet hair and work through hair by massaging into the scalp in slow, circular motions. Massaging the head will promote better blood circulation which also helps with hair growth.
  3. Make sure the mask is worked through entire hair, paying special attention to the ends.
  4. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse out.
  5. Shampoo and condition as normal.
  6. Repeat twice a week.

DIY Split Ends Treatment



  1. To a blender, add the banana, yogurt, and a few drops of rosewater and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.
  3. Apply treatment to dry hair, starting at the roots and working all the way down to the ends.
  4. Make sure to saturate the ends well, and wrap hair with a soft, light towel or a shower cap.
  5. Leave on for at least 30 minutes, but remember, with any hair mask, the longer the better!
  6. Rinse out and shampoo and condition as normal.
  7. For extra dry hair and split ends, repeat 2-3 times a week.

Homemade Split Ends Miracle Serum



  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Apply the serum to dry, unwashed hair, and massage into scalp in slow, circular motions.
  3. Massage deeply and slowly for 3-5 minutes. The massaging motion will stimulate blood flow which in turn encourages hair growth.
  4. Leave the serum on for at least 20 minutes, but overnight is even better! Be sure to saturate entire hair, focusing specifically on ends.
  5. Wash the serum out and shampoo and condition as normal.
  6. Use the serum 2-3 times a week for at least a month to reduce split ends, reverse damage, and encourage hair growth.

Now that you know what causes split ends, it's your job to keep your hair healthy and split ends free by following the tips mentioned. Get rid of split ends once and for all and keep your hair shiny and healthy. Additionally, you should also use leave in conditioners on a regular basis to hydrate dry, damaged hair.

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