Struggling with split ends while you’re on a mission to grow your hair can be quite challenging. Your hair can be very tough and resilient, but this doesn’t mean they are not fragile and prone to splitting.
The hair weakness and split ends are mostly visible at the tips of your strands because these are the oldest. The belief that split ends will stop hair growth is nothing but a myth, experts warn.
At any given time, a good 85% of your hair is in the growth phase, which means new hair is constantly growing on your head. (1) Split ends cannot stop this growth.
However, simply treating split ends with a good hair care routine will make sure they don’t get in the way of your journey to grow long locks.
Here are some reasons split ends do not stop hair growth.
You might have heard that split ends can put a stop to your hair growth, but the truth is they can’t. Your hair grows from the roots, not the tips where split ends occur. (2)
Each hair strand originates from a hair follicle in your scalp. The visible part, known as the hair shaft, has several layers, including the protective cuticle and the essential cortex.
When the cuticle layer develops split ends, it exposes the cortex to damage, leading to issues such as dullness, dryness, roughness, frizz, and increased vulnerability to hair loss, but not a direct stopping of hair growth. (3)
Split ends create an illusion of slowed hair growth. In reality, they don’t hinder new hair growth. Hair primarily grows from the follicles in your scalp, achieving about 6 inches of growth annually. (4)
Severe split ends can break close to the scalp, making your hair appear as if it isn’t growing properly.
In extreme cases, they break as fast as new hair grows, giving the false impression of slowed hair growth.
Split ends usually stem from the following:
- Styles such as tight buns and tight ponytails can stress your hair, leading to split ends. (5)
- Color and chemical treatments can cause oxidative damage, making your hair more susceptible to split ends. (6)
- Rushed and aggressive brushing can contribute to split ends, especially if your hair is on the dry side. (6)
- Regular use of heat styling tools, such as straighteners and blow-dryers, can lead to split ends. (6)
- Friction from rough towels and headgear such as hats and helmets can also result in hair breakage and split ends.
Preventing split ends is crucial for maintaining healthy hair. Here are some practical tips:
- Treat your hair with care; avoid vigorous towel-drying and rough combing.
- Invest in a good conditioning shampoo to nourish your hair effectively.
- Find the right balance for hair wash frequency based on your hair type; avoid overwashing.
- Limit heat styling and protect your hair with a heat-protectant spray.
- Get regular trims.
- Invest in a wide-toothed comb and satin or silk bedding.
- Stay hydrated.
No, split ends can’t be repaired. Trimming is the best solution.
Trim every 6-8 weeks to prevent split ends.
Natural oils and deep-conditioning treatments can temporarily improve the appearance of split ends.
Use a wide-toothed comb or a soft-bristled brush for gentler care.
Split ends won’t stop your hair from growing, but they can be an annoyance when you’re aiming for long, healthy locks.
Hair grows from the roots, so split ends at the tips don’t affect new growth. However, they can lead to breakage and give the appearance of slower growth.