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What’s causing my split ends? We demystify one of the biggest hair woes


It’s easy enough to diagnose split ends – look close enough and you’ll see them. For some, it’s even a daily ritual. But pinpointing the causes of split ends isn’t quite as clean cut.


What exactly is a split end?

It’s all in the name: if a strand splits off into two at the tip, you’ve got yourself a split end. But why do they happen in the first place? It’s all down to the wearing away of the hair’s protective cuticle layer. In layman’s terms: damage. Heat, chemicals, and friction from brushing and styling all compromise the hair’s outer lipid layer, exposing the fiber and leaving it vulnerable to the loss of essential moisture and proteins. Once these things are depleted, fraying ends are a symptom of the breakage that follows.

What causes different types of split ends

Yep, you heard us right, there’s not just one type of split end. Your basic split separates off into two, but other types include triple splits and feathering (so, multiple splits on one strand). The difference is often down to how advanced the damage is.

It’s not all about trimming to avoid split ends. Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner stops 98% of daily hair damage*.

Or try Dove Hair Therapy Rescue & Protect Shampoo and Dove Rescue & Protect Serum +Conditioner. They repair split ends and keep them feeling smooth and will also prevent split ends from forming in the first place. This means you won’t need to have your hair trimmed as often.

You can prevent existing splits from traveling further up the hair shaft by applying a leave-in product designed to visibly repair signs of damage, such as Dove Hair Therapy Brilliant Gloss & Repair Serum. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase, turning your shower temperature down and avoiding hair accessories that tug and catch are other small changes you can make to keep your strands split free.

Causes of split ends in natural hair

Black hair tends to be drier, so considering dehydration is a contributing factor when it comes to frayed ends, this hair type is more prone to them. The risk is also heightened if you’ve spent years chemically straightening or flat-ironing your hair, as extreme heat is one of the main causes of cuticle damage.

The advice is the same for all hair types: get regular trims to prevent splits from worsening (some experts even offer hot-scissor trims to seal the cuticle). Textured-coily hair types will benefit in particular from regular hair oiling to replenish moisture and nourishment and keep strands soft and supple – try scheduling one in the night before your next hair-wash.

*due to breakage vs non-conditioning shampoo

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