Table of Contents
You’re here to learn how to trim split ends on natural hair. Split ends? Ugh! But we can have better hair. Everybody, and we do mean everybody, loves a good hair day. Okay… maybe not everybody. We’re sure that some people don’t particularly pay that much attention to their hair. But for those who do, a good hair day can really change the mood and the outcome of an entire day. Yep, a good hair day can really make a difference when it comes to how you feel about yourself. It’s no wonder then that people usually walk out of salons and spas with a smile, a lighter attitude, and a bit of a skip in their step.
When you look in the mirror on a good hair day – the kind where every single strand falls just right and frames your face perfectly (hey, this is valid for both guys and gals), it can really help with your self image. Also, a good hairstyle really makes a huge difference, sure! But you know what really helps make everyday a good hair day? Well, the answer to that question is really quite simple – it’s basically the health of your hair.
Your Hair’s Health
When we say the health of your hair, we mean a couple of things. First of all, the first thing we mean is whether or not your hair is chemically treated (basically, how close is your hair to its natural state?). Chemically treated hair is often damaged and dry – as you would expect after soaking your hair in plenty of chemicals that may not always have a healthy effect for hair. The other thing we mean is – how long has it been since you’ve last done any maintenance for your hair?
When you don’t take care of your hair or perform any sort of maintenance whatsoever, your hair is more likely to become dry and get split ends. Yes – the dreaded split ends.
If you are tired of looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing a frazzled mess of hair looking back at you, then you may just have some split ends. But what are split ends? What can you do about them? And how do you prevent them from happening again? If you’re here and you want to know more about split ends (and basically everything that there is to do with them), don’t worry, because we’ve got you.
So let’s talk about your hair and split ends – and how to trim split ends on natural hair, shall we?
What Are Split Ends?
At this point, you probably already know all about split ends, what they are, and how they affect your hair. A split end is basically when the outer layer of protection on your hair called the cuticle gets damaged and gets worn away by any form of chemical processing (such as hair coloring) and heat styling – and yes, by everyday wear too. The cuticle on your hear begins to break down. As a result, the inner core of your hair (composed of proteins) is exposed. This makes your hair strands more vulnerable to breaking and yes, split ends. When you look at a strand of your hair and the end of it splits into two (or three, or four…eek!) – you guessed it! Those are split ends.
Everyone is susceptible to split ends – there is literally nobody in this world who has not had, and will never have them. It doesn’t matter what your hair color, hair type, hair length, or hair texture is. Straight, curly, wavy, fine, coarse, blonde, brunette, redhead… all types of hair can get ‘em. And when you start getting split ends but don’t do anything about them, that’s when you start getting regular bad hair days.
Split ends can make your hair look dull, tangled, dry, and frizzy. It honestly looks quite unkempt. Because of this many people dislike split ends and go for regular trips to the salon or barbers’. Men, as well as women who generally keep their hair shorter, are quite fortunate that they do not have to deal with this problem as much.
Why Do Split Ends Form?
There are many different reasons as to why split ends might form. It may be a good idea to learn about them so that you can more likely avoid them and prevent them from happening to you. Luckily, we’re here to talk about every single reason that split ends form – and in great detail. So let’s get right down to it!
- Heat – Hot tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, crimpers, and the like all contribute to split ends. As a matter of fact, many hair care advocates and tips all say that you should try to avoid heat styling your hair as much as possible. This is because excessive heat can cause really extreme damage to the ends of your hair, especially when they are already stressed by other things. This is why a lot of methods for curling hair without heat have come up in recent years (things such as “plopping”, using aluminum foil, braiding, using socks, straws, and whatnot usually while you sleep with damp hair).
- Physical Damage – Another way that you will find yourself getting split ends is by being too rough with your hair. Your hair can get damaged physically when you brush, comb, detangle and even just touch your hair. Yes, being too rough as you run your fingers through your hair or twirl your hair can cause you split ends too, because all of these things can cause your cuticle to slowly break down over time. Oh, it’s worth mentioning that your hair does get damaged from mishandling when you tie it up or otherwise style it too.
- Environment – Your surroundings, surprisingly, actually also make a pretty big difference when it comes to causing you some split ends. We already mentioned that heat can cause damage to your hair – it doesn’t matter if it comes from hot tools, or if it comes from the heat of the sun. But the truth is, it’s not just heat that can cause you damage – any weather can. The cold? Yep. Dry climates, hot climates, cold climates, humid climates… any climate. So if you don’t take good care of your hair, you basically just get split ends. It’s the sad, sad truth.
- Friction – One thing that might not make immediate sense as a cause of these split ends is friction. By this we mean pretty much what you would expect – friction when your hair comes into contact with any sort of item of clothing or fabric. Certain types of fabric can accelerate this damage more than others. Scarves, hats, towels and pillow(cases) all cause damage to your hair a little bit at a time.
- Your Health – There are also certain internal factors that can make a difference to the health of your hair. The type of food you eat, the amount of water you drink, whether you have any chronic conditions or not… all of these contribute to the health of your hair too.
When you look at all of these things, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that split ends are actually quite… common. Yes, indeed this is true – they are extremely common and are basically a part of every day life. But if they’re so normal… are they really that bad? Well obviously they are, or you wouldn’t be here reading about how to trim split ends from natural hair.
Why Do I Need To Get Rid of Split Ends?
When a strand starts to split, there is no stopping it. At this point, the only thing that can happen is that this damage will progress. If you don’t chop off the part that has already been damaged, chances are that you will find that strand splitting even farther up the shaft, causing the entire thing to be unsalvageable.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but the simple truth is that you cannot repair split ends. Hair is not ‘alive’ like your skin, so it can’t heal at all. This is why once the damage happens, the only way to ‘remedy’ the situation is to trim them off. This is why regular haircuts and trips to the salon are always recommended by stylists and hair care gurus alike.
This is what happens when a split end occurs:
- When hair splits, that means that that particular portion of the hair no longer has the protective cuticle covering it. As this occurs, they become rougher and then are more likely to catch against each other. Tangles can happen and then, you guessed it…you get more split ends!
- You want to avoid these tangles caused by split ends, because well…it’s a cycle, isn’t it? You get a split end, you don’t work on getting it fixed, you then get more tangling, and so on, and so forth. Your hair can quite honestly stop growing at this point because split ends damage your hair and cause breakage, thus preventing length growth and retention.
- Split ends on their own may quite honestly feel like they’re okay. They look small, unintrusive, and quite harmless. But the fact of the matter is the more split ends you get, the more damaged your hair looks. Without any care and maintenance, prepare to look as though your hair is frizzy and unhealthy!
- Seeing one split end is a sign that there are many more to come. When you start seeing a few split ends, it’s time to proceed to the salon or grab your clippers/scissors because it is quite honestly time for a trim. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you how to trim split ends from natural hair.
How Often Should I Be Trimming Split Ends Off?
With everything we’ve just discussed, the next thing you should be asking yourself is: how often should I be trimming split ends off, and how often should I be getting hair cuts? Well, usually it’s a good idea to go for a haircut the moment that you see a split end. If you don’t notice any split ends, or don’t care to try and look for them in your mane, then it’s usually a good idea to go for a trim every 3-6 months.
You quite honestly don’t need to trim a lot – usually only a quarter-inch to half an inch of length every time. You may be thinking, however – isn’t it counter-intuitive to trim your hair regularly if you’re trying to grow your hair?
Well, like we’ve mentioned earlier… it’s quite honestly a good idea to trim your hair on a regular basis simply because if you let your mane go wild and allow all the split ends to multiply, then, in the end, your hair won’t be growing out regardless. It’s better to trim your hair and get better looking, healthier hair that actually grows out because it is healthy.
Can I Trim Split Ends Myself?
Now the next question you must be asking is… do I really need to go to the salon or the barbers’ that often? That’s quite honestly an understandable question to be asking. After all, salon and barbershop visits can cost quite a lot of money and time in the long run. Well, to answer your question… no, you don’t really need to bring yourself to the experts to cut your hair every single time. The fact of the matter is, you can go right ahead and trim the split ends off of your hair yourself! No need to go to the salon or the barbershop unless you actually want to get a proper haircut and style.
Here’s how to trim split ends on natural hair – all you need is a pair of hair shears (really sharp hair shears!) or a good hair trimmer. That’s honestly basically it. Of course we won’t leave you hanging here…we’re going to tell you how exactly to trim those broken ends off!
how to trim split ends from natural hair
There are a number of different ways in which you can trim the split ends off of your hair. Here are some of them so you can get right to starting with maintaining your mane!
✂️ Method #1 – Twist & Cut
The first method for how to trim split ends from natural hair is by twisting and cutting your hair. To do this, you will need a good, SHARP pair of hair shears The reason it needs to be sharp is that the hair must be cut with a sharp blade for the split end to be properly removed. If you use something with dull blades, chances are you are going to leave edges that are rough, which can then just turn back into broken ends later on. Aside from these sharp shears, you will also need a hair brush or comb, then some clips for sectioning your hair. Once you have gathered everything, start separating your DRY hair in sections roughly 1 inch thick. When sectioning, start on one side of your head and if you have long hair, get the other half out of the way.
Grasp one of these sections and brush to it to detangle. Once it’s all detangled, start twisting this section of hair tightly. Doing this will cause some of the ends of the hair to pop out visibly. It’s here that you will need your good vision so that you can start trimming the split ends visible to you. Cut off a quarter inch – that’s all you really need to remove. An additional step that you can do in order to make sure that you get all of the split ends is that you can take the same section of hair and then twist it in the opposite direction. You can then repeat the process of cutting split ends that pop up here too.
Finish the section and pick up another, going from one side of your head to another until everything has been trimmed. To make your life easier, have clips or hair ties to hold back the sections of your hair that you have already finished.
This first method is honestly great and truly quite effective, but the problem is that it’s not really that easy to do, especially when your hair is short or when you cannot see very well. It also may result in uneven strands of hair if you aren’t careful with how much you are cutting off.
✂️ Method #2 – Sliding Technique
The second method for how to trim split ends on natural hair is the sliding technique. To accomplish this, you must first ensure that your hair is dry and styled so that it is straight. People with naturally straight hair rejoice – you don’t have to do a thing at all. Of course, if you’re going to be styling your hair so that it is straight, make sure you use a heat protectant product, because you might just cost yourself even more split ends in the long run!
With a comb, section off one inch of your hair. This increment of sectioning is only a suggestion – if you have really thick hair strands you may want smaller sections, and if you have really fine hair you may want to go thicker.
Brush your fingers through your hair and spread the section off in between your index finger, middle finger, and ring finger. Drag your fingers down toward the ends of your hair, leaving only a bit of length. Once this is accomplished, you can then start trimming split ends that become visible over your fingers. Again, you only need to trim a quarter to a third inch of the ends of the strands, depending on how bad the split ends are in the first place.
Once you’re done with one section, set that section aside and grab another section to start the process all over again. Go from one side of your head to another – this quite honestly makes it a lot easier.
This technique is effective, but can also be quite difficult for those who have short hair. People with layered hair might also struggle with this, because you will have to slide your fingers through your hair repeatedly to get all of the different layers.
✂️ Method #3 – Trimming Your Ends
The third method for how to trim split ends from natural hair is simple and works best for people who have hair that is not layered. For this method you will need damp hair, which you can then brush to distribute the water through. Dampening your hair is quite recommended because it helps to straighten everything out, something that is quite important if your hair is wavy, curly, or otherwise textured. Use a hair brush that has natural bristles or use a comb made out of metal in order to avoid further damaging your hair.
After you have dampened your hair, use your comb or your brush to separate an inch section of your hair. Again, the amount of hair you section off depends on how thick or fine the individual strands are. An inch is recommended, but go with sections that feel comfortable for you to do. Once you have sectioned off your hair, slip it in between the index and the middle finger of your hand. You can use any other fingers if you wish, what’s important is that you are able to pull the section straight.
Once you have pulled the section of your hair straight, stop sliding your fingers down until there is only about an inch left sticking out. Cut a third inch to 3/4 of an inch off the end of your hair, but start with a small length before you progress.
As with all of the other methods on this list, start with one side of your hair then go all the way around, sectioning off finished portions as you go. For this particular method, you can also use a very fine toothed comb to hold the ends of your hair up (like you would see in salons). If you use this technique, it becomes possible for you to use a hair clipper to trim your strands instead of a pair of scissors.
✂️ Method # 4 – Asking Someone to Do it For You
Yes, we know. This entire section was supposed to be dedicated to teaching you methods of how to trim split ends on natural hair all by yourself. But the fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s hard to see your own split ends. This is especially true for those who have really bad vision. This is why it’s not really a bad idea to ask a friend, family member or otherwise loved one to help you get your mane maintained.
Just have the things that you would need ready – a fine toothed (ideally metal comb) or a natural bristled hair brush and a really sharp pair of hair shears. For method 3 you can also use hair clippers, so if you prefer that, then nothing is stopping you!
How to Prevent Future Split Ends
Of course, the actual best way of how to trim split ends from natural hair is ..well…take better care of your hair so you can avoid them in the future! Seems like it’s very simple, but there are many different ways that you can take better care of your hair. Adopting even just some of these methods can truly help you to drastically improve the state of your hair. And again… if your hair is healthy, your ends are very likely healthier too!
So how exactly do you prevent split ends? What kind of practical hair care should you practice? And what kind of products should you use?
Maintaining a healthy mane can be tough at times, especially when you have no idea where to begin. Sometimes you may have to pick up new habits, other times you may have to unlearn old ones. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with all of it.
✂️ Regular Trims
We’ve already mentioned in great detail above how it’s incredibly helpful and healthy for your hair to get regular trims, so we won’t be mentioning it again. One thing we can recommend is to use hot scissors to seal the cuticle after you trim…but please do not attempt this unless you are already quite comfortable with trimming your own hair. Also, hot scissors can be heated up to 310 degrees for this purpose.
✂️ Do NOT Overuse Shampoo/Over-Shampoo
Since we were kids all of our shampoo bottles have said to use them every day, and to lather, rinse, repeat. Well, we are here to tell you that this is DEFINITELY not the way to go. Shampooing your hair does cause some wear and tear, which of course then causes your ends to get damaged and split. You hair is most fragile when it’s wet as well, so do your best to be gentle when you do shampoo your hair.
You don’t need to use a ton of product when you wash your hair. As a matter of fact, you probably only need half of what you think you do. For people with short hair, a quarter-sized amount is enough, but for people with longer or thicker hair, tie your hair back in a ponytail. The diameter of your hair in the ponytail is roughly the amount you should be using.
There is also such a thing as over-shampooing. It’s not a good idea to wash your hair every single day unless there are extenuating circumstances. The ideal amount of times to wash your hair is honestly just once or even twice a week, but if that is difficult for you then you can at least try to do it every other day instead.
bYou can invest in a good dry shampoo if you want to stay grease-free in between showers.
✂️ Avoid Showers That Are Too Hot
As we have discussed, heat can cause damage to your hair…so it naturally follows that you should avoid scalding showers in order to preserve the health of your hair. It’s probably even better for your hair to use cold water.
After your shower, when you go to blow your hair dry, a good piece of advice to remember is to avoid blowing the ends of your hair dry. This way, you don’t damage the ends of your delicate hair. Hot tools? Forget about it! Or at least, try to reduce your use of it. If you really need to use hot tools, do your best to avoid the ends and tips of your hair!
✂️ Use Hair Care Products
A great way to make sure that your hair is well taken care of is to use the right hair care products. A product, or rather an ingredient in hair products, that we can suggest is argan oil. In general, argan oil is a great ingredient that offers plenty of benefits to hair. It also offers hydration weightlessly, and the molecules in this oil are actually small enough that it can penetrate into your hair shaft.
Another tip is to use microfiber towels when you shower, simply because microfiber towels are just a lot better and gentler for hair in general. The towel can absorb all of the excess moisture without you needing to rub it into your hair – thereby avoiding friction!
When you tie your hair up, use hair ties that have no metal bits in them, as well as accessories that have no metal or plastic bits in them. Basically, you want to avoid anything and everything that can snag your hair and cause friction damage.
And finally, use products that seal in the ends of your hair, also known as split-end sealers or split end “healers”, which essentially help to add an extra layer of protection to your hair’s cuticle.
Split ends are never fun. But if you take proper care of your care of your hair, split ends and the relative problems they cause can become a thing of the past. Just make sure that you do your best to avoid hot tools and scalding hot showers, you use hair products that benefit your hair’s health, and you do your best to avoid friction and snagging. With all of our tips, along with trimming your hair regularly to remove the split ends, you should be able to get your hair happy and healthy in no time! Finally, we hope you enjoyed this guide on how to trim split ends from natural hair!