The Importance Of Trimming Split Ends

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Do you find your hair looking dull and lifeless when it once used to look luscious and bouncy? Can you feel the moisture slowly seeping out of your tresses? Well, then chances are that you are starting to get split ends. Not only do split ends rob your hair of their shine, but they also hinder your hair growth. Before talking about the importance of trimming split ends, let’s find out what causes split ends in the first place. Here’s what you need to know!

What Causes Split Ends?


Before we get into what causes them, let’s answer a more important question – what are split ends? Strands of your hair begin to develop split ends when the hair cuticle (outer protective sheath) gets damaged and begins to wear off. This leads to the delicate inner layer of your hair getting exposed and weakened or dehydrated, which, in turn, causes split ends (1).

Unfortunately, there are a ton of factors that could be contributing to your split ends malady. While you could blame some of it on the harsh environment that you subject your hair to every time you step out of the house, you also need to take a long, hard look at how you yourself are treating (or rather, mistreating) your hair. So, here are a few of the most common factors that lead to split ends…

  • Detangling your hair aggressively when it is dry (1)
  • Detangling your hair when it is wet (1)
  • Sun damage caused by stepping out in the sun without covering your hair (1)
  • Using heat styling tools like straightening irons, curling wands, and blow dryers excessively (1)
  • Not trimming your hair regularly
  • Not conditioning your hair regularly
  • Washing your hair daily (1)
  • Undergoing chemical treatments like hair color, relaxers, and perms (1)
  • Using too many styling products like gels, mousses, waxes, hair sprays, etc.(1)
  • Using cheap quality synthetic brushes, combs, and other hair tools and hair products
  • Sleeping on rough or cheap quality pillowcases
  • Unhealthy diet and not getting enough proteins, minerals, and vitamins

Instead of wondering how to cut off split ends, start with baby steps: trimming your split ends.

Why Do You Need To Trim Split Ends?

Besides making your hair look dull, damaged, and lifeless, there are a ton of reasons why letting your split ends persist and leaving them untreated is a bad idea. Here are some things you need to be aware of:

  • Split ends don’t go away on their own: Split ends don’t just magically fuse back together when you start conditioning or taking care of your hair. In fact, the longer you put off trimming them, the more each end splits into 2 or 3 “feathers.” This, in turn, seriously hinders your hair growth.
  • Uneven pigmentation: The color of split ends is usually a bit lighter than your natural hair color. This can make your overall hair color look discolored and uneven.
  • Robs your hair of its shine: Split ends rob your hair of its lively glow and make it look brittle, dull, and lifeless. No amount of conditioning, hair masks, and spa treatments can restore the shine back in your hair unless you trim off the split ends.

How To Trim Split Ends

The easiest, quickest and most convenient way of getting rid of split ends is by trimming them off. Now, wait a minute! Before you rush off to set up an appointment with your hairdresser, hear me out. You can easily trim off split ends yourself in the comfort of your home! All you need is a pair of hair cutting scissors and you’re good to go! There are 3 different methods that you can try out to get rid of split ends. Let’s look at each of them step by step.

I. Hair Twisting Method

Hair twisting is a traditional method of trimming split ends and is actually the method even professional hairdressers use!

What You Need
  • Hair trimming scissors
What To Do
  1. Start off with dry hair.
  2. Pick up a 1-inch section of hair and tightly twist it in a clockwise manner from the roots to tips. Hold this twisted section of hair taut at the ends.
  3. If you have twisted the hair tightly enough, you will see the split ends sticking out from the twisted section.
  4. Starting from the top of the section and working your way down, trim off these split ends that are sticking out.
  5. Now, re-twist this same section but in a counterclockwise direction and cut off the split ends in the same manner.
  6. Repeat this process throughout all your hair.

II. Hair Sliding Method

Hair sliding is a more unconventional method that not many people know about. This is probably because it requires a little more effort as you have to straighten your hair before you cut off the split ends.

What You Need
  • Heat protectant
  • Straightening iron
  • Wide toothed comb
  • Hair trimming scissors
What To Do
  1. Apply a heat protectant and straighten your hair. (You can obviously skip this step if you already have straight hair.)
  2. Use a wide-toothed comb to remove all the knots and tangles from your hair.
  3. Pick up a 1-inch section of hair.
  4. Starting at the roots, weave this section of your hair under your index finger, over your middle finger, and under your ring finger. Thus, you will see your hair only above your middle finger.
  5. Thanks to this weaving action, you will able to see the split ends sticking out above your middle finger.
  6. Snip off these split ends with the hair trimming scissors.
  7. With the hair still remaining woven through your fingers, slowly slide your fingers down the section of hair and trimming off the split ends in the same manner.
  8. Continue this sliding and trimming motion until you have reached the end of the section. Then, just follow this same procedure all over your hair.

III. Trimming The Ends

If you don’t have the time (or the patience!) to follow the twisting and sliding methods, you can simply trim off the ends of your hair to get rid of the split ends.

What You Need
  • Hairbrush/wide-toothed comb
  • Hair trimming scissors
What To Do
  1. Start off with damp hair. You can do this immediately after you’ve stepped out of the shower or dampen your hair with the help of a spray bottle.
  2. Brush out all the knots and tangles from your hair.
  3. Pick up a 1-inch section of hair. You can clip up the rest of your hair to keep it out of the way.
  4. Place this section of hair between your index finger and middle finger right at the roots.
  5. With the hair held taut between your fingers, slide your fingers down until you’re an inch away from the ends. Hold the section this way out in front of you.
  6. Keeping the scissors perpendicular to the hair, carefully cut off 1-2 inches off your hair.
  7. Trim off the ends of all your hair following this same procedure.

While it is fairly easy to snip off your split ends, you need to know that they are an indication of the poor health of your hair. So, it’s best that you start taking care of your hair and restoring its health to prevent any split ends from developing in the future.

Ways To Prevent Split Ends

Yes, split ends can wreak havoc on the health and appearance of your hair. But, lucky for you, there are a ton of things that you can do to prevent them from forming in the first place. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can try out:

  1. Trim your hair regularly: Your hair goes through some wear and tear every time you wash and comb it – this causes split ends (1). So, how often should you trim your hair? It’s best that you get your hair trimmed every 2-3 months.
  1. Oil your hair before you wash it: We all know that oiling your hair can nourish and moisturize it from within (1). But another way this helps your hair is by forming a protective sheath around it to reduce the damage caused when washing and shampooing it.
  1. Reduce use of heat styling tools: Regularly using heat styling tools like blow dryers, flat irons, and curling wands robs your hair of its moisture and leaves it dry, brittle, and susceptible to split ends. So, avoid using them as much as you can, and when you do use them, make sure you apply a heat protectant to your hair first (1).
  1. Don’t wash your hair every day and avoid using hot water: Doing either or both of these things can strip your hair of its natural oils and dehydrate and weaken it.
  1. Dry your hair gently: Vigorously rubbing your wet hair with a towel can cause intense damage and split ends. Instead, wrap your hair in a microfiber towel until it has absorbed all the excess water and let it air dry the rest of the way (1).
  1. Apply a leave-in conditioner: Leave-in conditioners make your hair more manageable and easier to detangle, thus reducing the risk of split ends (1). So, apply a leave-in conditioner (or a bit of natural oil) after you step out of the shower.
  1. Use a wide-toothed comb: Use a wide-toothed comb and work your way up from the ends towards your scalp to prevent further knotting, breakage, and split ends.
  1. Wear a hat/scarf while stepping out: Leaving your hair exposed to the hot sun or cold winds can make it brittle and more prone to split ends. So, make sure you put on a hat or wrap a scarf around your head to protect your hair while making a cool fashion statement.
  1. Deep condition regularly: It’s important that you deep condition your hair every 2 weeks to restore moisture into your hair and nourish it from within (1).
  1. Use products that contain PEC: PEC or Polyelectrolyte Complex is a new component that has been found to repair split ends by penetrating the hair shaft and sealing it from within. So, pick a conditioner that contains PEC if you want to fix split ends as well as prevent them from forming (2).
  1. Use soft hair ties: Rubber hair ties or ones that have a metal clasp in the middle tend to break your hair and ultimately lead to split ends. So, use soft hair ties that are gentle on your hair.
  1. Oil your hair before swimming: Swimming regularly in harsh chlorine-infused water can cause untold damage to your hair. So, apply a protective layer of coconut oil all over your hair and put on a swim cap before you jump into the pool.
  1. Eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water: Eating a balanced diet full of proteins, vitamins, and minerals and keeping your body well hydrated is essential for maintaining the health of your hair (3).

You can also check out these home remedies for split ends!

Split ends can be extremely unsightly to look at. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of them. Trim off your split ends with the help of the instructions we’ve given you and comment below to let us know how it worked out for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What can happen if you don’t cut your split ends?

Your hair can look dull and dry and your hair growth can slow down if you don’t cut your split ends.

Is it better to cut your hair when it’s wet or dry?

It’s better to cut straight hair when it’s wet and curly hair when it’s dry.

Do split ends slow down hair growth?

Yes, split ends do slow down hair growth.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).