What Do Split Ends Look Like on African American Hair?
You know that trimming your split ends is key to keeping your hair healthy and growing. But because of the tightly coiled nature of black hair, identifying them is a bit tougher compared to white hair and other types.
So - what do split ends look like on African American hair? And perhaps more importantly, how do I repair split ends in African American hair?
While the thought of split ends is enough to stress you out, you can take a deep breath and relax. Allurium Beauty is here to help. Today, we’re going to talk all about split ends on African American hair. We’ll provide you with the information necessary so you can effortlessly and confidently identify - and trim - your split ends.
But first, let’s talk a bit more about the problem itself. What causes split ends in African American hair?
What Causes Split Ends in African American Hair?
Split ends are exactly what they sound like - your hair strand has split right down the middle. While the split may just be at the end of your strand at first, it slowly but surely makes its way up the entire hair shaft. What causes this problem, though?
This is more common than you think - and there are quite a few potential culprits to blame. It could be any of these factors, or perhaps even a combination of more than one:
- Dryness: African American hair tends to be naturally dry, which can make it more prone to splitting. When hair is dry, the cuticle layer becomes weak and damaged, making it more likely to split. You can partially blame your genetics for this, as the tightly coiled nature of black hair is harder to moisturize.
- Heat Styling: Using heat-styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers can cause split ends. The high temperatures can damage the hair and cause the ends to split. This goes back to dryness - but these tools also cause physical damage to the hair strand itself.
- Chemical Treatments: Chemical treatments like relaxing, coloring, and perming can also cause split ends. These treatments weaken the hair and make it more prone to damage.
- Environmental Factors: Exposure to the sun, wind, and other environmental factors can also contribute to split ends. These factors can dry out the hair and cause it to become brittle, making it more prone to splitting.
- Improper Hair Care: Not properly caring for your hair, such as not moisturizing regularly, not detangling properly, and using harsh hair products, can also lead to split ends. Taking the time to learn how to take care of natural black hair will be key in minimizing the occurrence of frustrating split ends.
All of these causes can be summarized in one single phrase: damage. While each of these causes is different, the result is ultimately the same. So now that you know what causes split ends in African American hair, it’s time to learn how to identify them quickly and easily.
What Do Split Ends Look Like on African American Hair?
What do split ends look like on African American hair, exactly? As we said earlier, it’s much harder to identify split ends in black hair vs white hair because the individual hair strands are so tightly coiled - especially in certain hairstyles.
And unfortunately, many individuals mistake dry hair for split ends - because the two look and feel quite similar to the untrained eye. So below, we want to provide some key insights on how to tell if what your hair is suffering from is actually split ends or something else entirely.
First - Here’s What Split Ends Look Like on African American Hair
In general, split ends can create a rough and frayed appearance, making the hair look dull and unhealthy. The split ends can create a "wispy" or "frizzy" appearance, which can be difficult to manage and style.
You may notice split ends at the tips of your hair, where the hair is the oldest and most fragile. The split ends can range in size from small, barely noticeable splits to larger, more obvious splits that can make the hair look thin and damaged.
However, as we just mentioned, many of these signs of split ends can simply be a sign of dryness - so before we teach you how to trim African American hair split ends, here is a foolproof way to test your own hair and determine what the issue is.
How to Test Your Own Hair to Find Split Ends
Start by taking a strand of hair from somewhere on your head that you suspect is suffering from split ends. Pull it tight, and with the thumb and index finger on your other hand, slide up the strands of hair from bottom to top all the way to the end of the hair.
You should feel the difference between healthy, moisturized hair at the bottom and rougher sections towards the end of the hair strand.
However - if it feels dry and rough all the way through the strand, it could be an indication that your problem is not split ends - but overall dryness. That isn’t to say you can’t suffer from both issues - but tackling the dryness first and foremost is your best bet.
Now, let’s say you feel a noticeable difference in your hair from the bottom to the end. It’s very likely you have split ends there to deal with. We still encourage you to do a moisturizing treatment to rule out any possible dryness mimicking split ends. This will also make it far easier for your stylist to cut just the split ends when you go in for your treatment.
Here are a few more telltale signs of split ends:
- Your hair strands won’t maintain their definition or curl no matter how much product you apply to your hair.
- You’ve combed through your hair and worked through the knots. But when going back through the exact same sections, your comb keeps catching no matter how many times you go through.
- You notice little balls on the end of your hair strands, and find little pieces of breakage in your sink or on your pillowcase
How to Trim African American Hair Split Ends
Now that you know what do split ends look like on African American hair, it’s time to learn how to fix them. We have a complete guide on when to cut hair for growth - it’s a great resource on this subject. And frankly, this is something best left to the professionals. They can work through your hair far quicker and easier than you can - it’s worth the price. But if you decide you want to try and take the DIY route, here’s some advice:
- Invest in a good pair of hair shears: Using a pair of regular scissors or kitchen scissors can damage your hair and cause more split ends. Invest in a pair of high-quality hair shears designed specifically for trimming split ends. It’s well worth it!
- Work with clean, detangled hair: Before you start trimming, make sure your hair is clean, detangled, and dry. It's easier to see and trim split ends on clean, dry hair, and detangling your hair first can help prevent any accidental snags or pulls. As we mentioned earlier, we always recommend using a moisturizing treatment before attempting to trim split ends. This will prevent you from trimming away hair that is simply dry.
- Section your hair: Divide your hair into small sections and work on one section at a time. This will help you focus on each section and ensure you don't miss any split ends.
- Twist and trim: Take a small section of hair and twist it tightly. Any split ends will stick out, making it easy to identify them and trim them with your hair shears. Be sure to only trim the split ends and avoid cutting off too much length. Using a fine tooth comb to get just the very ends of your hair smoothed out is a great way to do this process more effectively and efficiently. You shouldn’t trim away more than an inch of hair if your goal is simply to remove split ends.
- Use the "search and destroy" method: After you've trimmed one section, move on to the next and repeat the twisting and trimming process until you've gone through your entire head. This is known as the "search and destroy" method, and it's a great way to target individual split ends without having to cut off a significant amount of hair.
One thing to keep in mind when trimming split ends is to do the job right the first time around. We know you’re afraid of losing length and want to trim the bare minimum. But this is just kicking the can further down the road. If you don’t fully eradicate the split end, it will just travel further up the hair strand and cause more damage. When considering how fast black hair grows, you’ll restore that length in no time!
How to Prevent Split Ends on African American Hair Altogether
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So - before we bring our conversation to a close, we want to teach you how to prevent split ends on African American hair altogether.
Take Steps to Address Dryness
Think back to what causes split ends in African American hair. Most of the factors can be summed up as damage - or a bit more specifically, dryness. The lack of moisture in your hair strands and at the scalp itself causes hair strands to split against themselves.
All of this is to say that learning how to treat dry scalp in African American hair is a key starting point in preventing split ends in the future. So, take note of your washing habit. There are so many shampoo ingredients that cause damage to your hair. And, overwashing can cause dryness too. That’s why we wrote an article on how often you should wash black hair - but less is more. 2-3 times a week is plenty.
You can also start doing regular moisture treatments using a quality hair serum. At Allurium Beauty, we’ve developed the best hair growing products for black hair. Not only will this solution moisturize your scalp and help manage dryness. But, it will also feed your hair follicles the key ingredients they need to stay healthy and happy. Just take a look at some of the results black women like you have gotten using the treatment and you’ll be hooked!
You can read our full article on repairing damaged black hair for more information. But below, we’re going to provide a few other tips to fix split ends for African American hair.
Other Ways to Fix Split Ends for African American Hair
- Be gentle with your hair: Avoid rough towel-drying and combing or brushing your hair too harshly. Instead, use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to gently blot excess water from your hair, and use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to gently detangle your hair.
- Minimize heat styling: Heat styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers can damage your hair and cause split ends. If you must use these tools, be sure to use a heat protectant spray and keep the heat setting low.
- Limit chemical treatments: Chemical treatments like relaxing, coloring, and perming can weaken your hair and make it more prone to split ends. If you do decide to use these treatments, be sure to get them done by a professional and space them out as much as possible.
- Protect your hair while sleeping: Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase can cause friction and damage to your hair, leading to split ends. Instead, use a satin or silk pillowcase or wear a satin bonnet or scarf to protect your hair while you sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet: Your hair needs proper nutrition to grow healthy and strong. Make sure to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein to support healthy hair growth and prevent split ends. We have an article on all the foods that promote hair growth if you’d like to learn more.
Parting Thoughts on What Split Ends Look Like on African American Hair
So, what do split ends look like on African American hair?
These create a "wispy" or "frizzy" appearance that is oftentimes mistaken for dryness - and sometimes, there is confusion over breakage vs new growth as well. The truth is, it’s not as easy for those of African American descent to identify and treat split ends on their own.
But hopefully, after reading our complete guide on split ends on African American hair, you feel more confident doing so. We’ve talked about what causes split ends in African American hair along with how to trim African American hair split ends. Plus, you’ve learned how to prevent split ends on African American hair.
So what are you waiting for? Get to work searching for split ends and eliminating them before they turn into something worse!