Understanding The Different Types Of Split Ends

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Split ends are caused due to weathering, damage from heat styling tools, lack of hair conditioning, or combing or blow-drying your hair too frequently. As the name suggests, it means when the ends of your hair split and give a shabby or rough look to your hair.

With women spending considerably lesser time on the maintenance of their hair these days, it is sometimes impossible to avoid the accrued damage. These split ends can become more evident after you have just brushed, colored, straightened, curled, or even straightened your beautiful locks.

But, each split has a story to tell – and learning the cause behind your split ends can go a long way in reducing the damage to your hair. In this article, we will break down the different types of split ends and how you can treat them.

Different Types Of Split Ends – What They Mean And How To Treat Them

1. The Basic Split

Also known as traditional split ends, basic split ends are the most common type of splits. These are caused when the cortical cells of the hair begin to separate from each other, although they are still largely held together. Basic split ends form due to dehydration, dryness, strain, and friction.

How To Fix:

You need to nourish and hydrate your hair more often.

  • Oiling your hair once a week with coconut or olive oil can help you get rid of these basic splits.
  • You can also use honey-based DIY hair masks every week or every two weeks to hydrate your tresses naturally.
  • Use a deep conditioner once every two weeks to provide intense moisture to your tresses.
  • Replenish your diet with nuts rich in zinc, like pecans and walnuts, to avoid traditional split ends.

2. The Baby Or Mini Split

Baby splits are smaller in proportion to regular split ends and indicate early split-end development. If you catch a split end while it is still small, you need to treat it before it worsens.

How To Fix:

Baby splits are a sign that your hair is dehydrated. Luckily, it can still be repaired if the necessary treatment is given on time. Use moisturizing hair masks and deep condition your hair to hydrate it. You also need to heal and seal those ends by trimming your hair.

3. The Triangle Or Fork Split

In this type of split ends, the hair end is divided into three strands, resembling a fork. Triangle or fork splits are a sign of widespread damage to the hair fiber.

How To Fix:

You can prevent a fork split from progressing up to your hair strand by opting for professional deep conditioning hair treatments and trimming your hair regularly.

4. The Tree Split

In the tree split, several branches emerge from a single split end and the cortical cells begin to separate. This means one side of the hair shaft has been damaged more than the other. Sunburn and excessive weathering maybe some of the reasons behind tree split ends.

How To Fix:

If you notice this type of split ends, you need to pay immediate attention to your hair and get a professional haircut. If not nourished properly, your hair can look intensely frizzy. Also, use a wide-toothed comb that does not snag at the split ends.

5. The Candle Split

The candle split is slightly different from the other types of splits in that it has not yet been converted into a split, but it can any time soon. Your hair looks much thinner at the ends, and the damage on the outer cuticle is pretty evident.

How To Fix:

First, you need a trim to halt the candle split end from traveling up your hair shaft. You can then go for a nourishing oil massage or a split end treatment to nourish your hair back to good health.

6. The Single-Strand Knot

The single-strand knot normally occurs in curly hair when a curl is tangled and causes a knot in a single strand, initiating multiple tangles. This leads to breakage while brushing your hair.

How To Fix:

To avoid single-strand knots, you should be very careful every time you brush your curls. You can use any natural oil or a detangling product and a comb to gently loosen and detangle the single-strand knot. Use a hair serum, a leave-in conditioner, and moisturizing hair masks regularly to make your locks smooth and resistant to single-strand knots.

7. The Feather Split

The feather split looks like a feather, with many splits along one side of the hair shaft. A feather split is a sign that your hair may be beyond repair since it is very difficult to fix. This type of split end can be caused by frequent chemical treatments, hair coloring, or irregular trimming.

How To Fix:

If you have feather splits – do not panic. The important thing is to catch the split end before it results in any further damage. First, consult your hairstylist or book a professional hair treatment at a spa. You must also keep your hair tied in a bun as leaving it open can increase friction on the ends, causing your strands to split further.

8. The Crinkle Split

The crinkle split end occurs due to environmental pollutants or when the hair is frequently stretched to the breaking point. This can give a wrinkled look to your hair, making it look shabby and rough.

How To Fix:

A good oil massage or a professional spa treatment can help you eliminate crinkled splits.

9. The Mid-Shaft Split

Also called the incomplete split, the mid-shaft split end is caused in the middle of the hair strand and closes towards the end. This simply means that the hair shaft is still in the process of splitting but has not been entirely damaged.

How To Fix:

Mid-shaft splits can still be controlled. You can start working on a better hair care regimen to take good care of your locks. Be cautious while combing or brushing, and let your tresses breathe by moisturizing them regularly.

10. The Long Split

In the long split, the hair shaft starts to separate from a specific spot. This is generally caused by using too many hair accessories that split and weaken the hair at a specific spot.

How To Fix:

Again, this type of split is at the initial stage, and you can work on it! With good replenishment of nutrients to the hair, a long split can be repaired or prevented.

11. The Deep Or Basic Y Split

The basic Y is a typical split end and the one we all dread the most. The cuticle peels at a precise spot due to damage from physical stressors or chemicals.

How To Fix:

There is no cure for this, but precautions should be taken to avoid such deep splits. It is suggested to get an immediate trim and keep your hair hydrated and damage-free in the future.

12. The Taper Split

In this type of split end, the cuticle peels away and leaves the cortex visible. Your hair ends are thin and tapered, and you may even see a hole between the strands. The taper split is typically an outcome of chemical damage to the hair.

How To Fix:

Frequent trims can stop taper splits from traveling up the hair shaft. Avoid using hair colors or harsh hair treatments to prevent this type of split ends.

13. The Thickened Split

In the thickened split, the hair texture thickens along the shaft, giving a rough and damaged look to the hair. Although the ends are intact, the quality of the texture is greatly reduced. This type of split ends mainly caused due to certain medications or hormonal imbalances.

How To Fix:

Using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can make your hair look smoother and improve the hair texture. Apart from that, consider speaking to your healthcare provider to get tested for any hormonal issues that need to be treated.

14. The Whitened Split

The whitened split is when you notice white spots on your hair ends. These visible spots occur due to severe chemical treatments.

How To Fix:

You must book an appointment for professional hair treatment as these types of split ends are clearly visible. Make changes in your diet and the way you look after your hair. Oiling and moisturizing are a must in this condition.

15. The Right Angle Split

The right angle split is the beginning of a split as the bend is visible, but the split is still underway. This is a bend that is caused by frequently tying the hair in a specific hairstyle.

How To Fix:

You must change your hairstyle and keep your hair protected. A thorough hair care regimen to nourish your hair can avoid right angle split ends.

16. The Offshoot Split

Caused by pollutants or chemical heat, the offshoot split is a cross that occurs between a tangle and a bend. The hair strand thickens along the shaft and then bonds together again in this type of split.

How To Fix:

Oiling, trimming, hair spas, and keeping your hair neatly tied can avoid such split ends. Take a quick look at the different types of split ends.

Understanding The Different Types Of Split Ends

For healthy, split-free hair that is soft to the touch, you should be aware of the causes that contribute massively to hair damage and split ends. Let us study these factors in more detail below.

Factors That Cause Split Ends

  • Pollution

Pollution, smoke, and other environmental pollutants are the major contributors to damaged hair. They settle on your scalp and result in itchiness and dryness, thus causing different types of splits.

  • Over-Washing

Over-washing removes the natural oils from the scalp and dries out your tresses. A mild shampoo will help a lot in shielding your hair from damage and split ends. Also, limit your hair washing to no more than twice a week.

  • Weather

The constant change in temperature and cold winds can wreak havoc on your hair and cause severe loss in moisture, resulting in damaging split ends.

  • Heat Styling

By cranking the temperature up on your hair and constantly exposing it to heat styling tools like flat irons and curling irons, you stand to make your locks rough, brittle, and weak over time.

  • Chemical Treatments

Your hair bears the brunt of chemical stressors such as keratin treatments, bleach, and relaxers, resulting in lifeless and brittle tresses that become rough.

  • Hard Water

Hard water has higher levels of magnesium and calcium content, which leave a soap film on your hair and prevent it from absorbing moisture. This makes your hair look lifeless and causes different types of split ends.

Now, let’s check out some tips for minimizing and preventing different types of split ends.

How To Prevent Split Ends

  1. Style your hair in protective hairdos and avoid excessively tight hairstyles.
  2. Seal your hair ends with a hair serum or an oil-based product.
  3. Keep your hair tangle-free and use a deep conditioner to moisturize your hair after each wash.
  4. Always be gentle while combing and brushing your hair, and try detangling your hair using your fingers first.
  5. Seek professional help when using chemicals like hair colors and relaxers.
  6. Get protein treatment and hair spas to prevent hair damage.
  7. Use heat protectant and ceramic heat styling tools when using heat on your hair.
  8. Get regular trims.
  9. Keep your hair hydrated and oil your hair regularly.

Conclusion

Different types of split ends indicate damage of varying degrees. Standard hair practices and a basic trim can help prevent split ends and fend off future frays. So, it is highly recommended to take good care of your hair and moisturize it regularly.

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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).