The XEX Blog

The Science Behind Split Ends: Prevention and Treatment

October 20, 2023 · Posted in: Salon News

So, you’ve started to notice some split ends on your hair. At first, you might think these will be easy to get rid of with a fresh cut, but split ends go so much deeper than that. Not only do they appear on the ends of your hair, but can happen throughout the strand, leaving your hair fragile, dry, and frizzy. To solve the problem of split ends once and for all you need to know how they happen, how to prevent them, and treatment for restoring your hair to its original, healthy, moisturized state.

The Science behind Split Ends and Prevention

Split ends are heard about in ad campaigns and preached by your hairstylist, and you may be thinking they are inevitable – but everyone gets split ends. The degrees in which you get them vary from person to person, depending on hair type and lifestyle choices. explains the science behind split ends: “Split ends happen when scales are damaged or unable to lie flat against each other. Without the protective cuticle, the damage extends to the cortex, where the keratin comes apart, resulting in your hair-splitting. That’s why keeping your cuticle intact is so important.”

Heat can also be a culprit of split ends. The more heat and the hotter your tools are, the more damage you are likely to cause, breaking the hair fibers and causing split ends. You’re equally as likely to develop them if you have prolonged exposure to the sun and various other factors.

Here’s a list of things to avoid if you want to prevent split ends at the source

  • “Wind
  • Sun
  • Indoor heat
  • Hair dye
  • Chemical treatments
  • Brushing
  • Elastics
  • Blow drying
  • Heat tools
  • Chlorine”

Add Moisture 

But avoiding triggers of split ends isn’t always possible, especially when you constantly dye your hair, use hot tools or spend time outside. So, how else can you prevent split ends? Low moisture in your hair is the biggest reason your split ends are happening. Dry hair = fragile hair. This is why hair stylists recommend washing your hair less often, keeping your natural oils building up and moisturizing your hair. It’s also recommended that once a month, you follow up your routine with a hair mask or deep conditioner to help your hair maintain the oils and moisture and break less. 

Avoid Chemicals and Heat

Chemicals in chlorine, hair dyes, and other products can be a killer for split ends. The best practice is to use hair products as sparingly as possible and let your hair dry naturally instead of using excessive heat. Always ask your stylists before your session how to limit the damage to your hair; they will always have your best interests at heart. 

Sleep Well

You may think throwing your hair up in a ponytail before you sleep is good practice to get it out of your face and protect it from the tossing and turning the night could bring. Invest in yourself by buying satin or silk pillowcases that prevent friction so you’re not causing damage overnight. Tie your hair up with a gentle hair tie that doesn’t hurt your scalp or pull on your hair, and sleep peacefully at night, knowing you will wake up with fresh and healthy hair. 

Split End Treatments

While prevention is crucial, sometimes you need to treat your split ends to get back to healthy hair and restore moisture. says, “When it comes to repairing split ends, treat your hair like you would your skin. “The hair is an extension of your skin—it’s important to look after it and keep it at its best health,” says Justin, who recommends implementing a strong hair care routine with professional hair care products that cleanse, condition, and deep-treat your strands. “All of these components will help to protect, prevent, and promote good hair health.”

You can start small by investing in quality products with minimal chemicals that will leave your hair soft and moisturized and bring quality hair masks and conditioning treatments into your routine. You can avoid heat triggers by always using a heat protectant spray and getting frequent haircuts. The more often you see a professional for a touch-up, the stronger your hair will grow and the healthier it will look. Not all triggers of split ends are avoidable or treatable, but with a few small steps of prevention, your hair can look healthier and happier than ever.