One of the biggest obstacles to growing longer hair is split ends. Split ends occur when the protective outer layer of the hair cuticle wears away due to external factors such as heat styling, chemical services, excessive dryness and friction. Once the internal structure of the hair is exposed, it becomes weakened, dehydrated and damaged, resulting in split ends that then, travel up the length of the hair shaft, leading to breakage.
Many wonder why they can grow to a certain length and then it seems growth stops. This is very common at shoulder length. Often the reason for this perceived stunted growth is that the ends of the hair are fraying and breaking at the same rate as growth. Hair at shoulder length, for instance, often experiences unnoticed hair breakage due to friction. The ends of the hair rubs against clothing and fabric chair backs. Additionally, other hair lengths may experience this by not properly protecting hair under hats and wigs. The constant friction causes the hair to split at the ends or midstrand. This weakened state causes breakage and ragged ends that continue up the shaft for further breakage. This can be further complicated by hair weakened by heated styling tools, such as flat irons and curlers, overdrying from shampoos, moisture loss due to exposure to air and rough styling with combs and brushes.
The only treatment to truly get rid of split ends is to trim them. Yes, there are products on the market that claim to mend split ends but, the fix is temporary. For the health of your hair, it's best to assess your ends regularly and trim as needed.
Key to length accumulation then is to protect the length of our hair from breakage. In this Challenge, we stave off dryness with regular deep conditioning treatments and restraining from heat styling. If you are using heat appliances, please remember to use a quality heat protectant (such as Chi 44 Iron Guard).
To strengthen the hair and prevent split ends without adding protein, try using NJoy's Long & Healthy PrePoo & Moisture Seal as a hot oil treatment. Formulated to deeply penetrate the strands, its ceramides bind to your hair's protein bonds, strengthening the hair, preventing fraying and splits, and improving manageability. The best approach for dealing with split ends is to prevent them.
And finally, be sure to incorporate protective styling into your regimen. Protective styling means to protect, or hide away, your ends. This is especially important to grow your hair beyond shoulder length. Once your hair is further down your back where the ends are not bluntly rubbing against your clothing, it's relatively safe to wear your own hair loose without the friction and drying rubs against your clothing. But until then, moisturize and seal your ends and keep them up, tucked away or covered.
For our 90-day Super Hair Growth Challenge, you are asked to carefully assess your ends at the beginning of the Challenge and trim, if necessary. After the initial assessment and trim (if necessary), we will continue to assess our ends with a monthly prompt and employ a search and destroy approach to getting rid of ends. If you have been properly taking care of the length of your hair, you should not need serious trims during this 90-day period. So, searching and destroying is simply looking at sections of your hair carefully to identify and cut any splits found. This is easier said than done if your hair is short or curly. In these cases, you may need to get a professional trim or a second pair of eyes to help you out. But, starting out with fresh, healthy ends gives you the opportunity to move forward, ensuring proper moisturizing of the ends and protecting them from damage due to friction, heat or manipulation.
We'll continue to talk more about protective styling, strengthening the hair and moisturizing and sealing throughout the Challenge. For now, take a few moments to assess your ends and trim, if necessary. Be sure to make a note in your journal about the condition of your ends and how you've trimmed.
That said, head over to our facebook group, and let's talk about it. Got questions? Drop them there.
Let's grow some hair!