The Definitive Guide To Split Ends For Men
Alright boys, let’s talk split ends. If you found this looking for the offensive position, ‘split end,’ in American football, try ‘wide receiver.’
We’re not talking about split ends on the proverbial gridiron, but the mysterious condition relating to your long hair, spoken of by women in whispered tones like a shadow in the night.
“Oh, no…you have split ends.”
Is that like leprosy? Is it terminal? Can it be treated?
Fortunately this is not a life-threatening condition, although it is terminal as far as your hair goes. Treatable only by amputation, but we’ll get to that.
We’re gonna help you navigate these murky waters, but let’s start with some basic education.
What are split ends, and why are they bad?
Split ends are exactly what they sound like. It’s when the shaft of your hair splits into two or more segments, usually at the tip. Think about a rope that’s unraveling at the end.
Split ends are a sign of damaged, often unhealthy, hair. That’s a problem.
Once it splits, your hair will continue splitting further and further all the way up the shaft of your hair until it reaches the root. Then you’re in real trouble, because split ends make your already damaged hair more susceptible to further damage and breakage.
Split ends will affect your hair’s appearance, making it look ragged, weathered, tired, dusty and haggard. That’s bad.
Worse though is the long term effects of split ends. You probably want your hair to be growing longer, faster. When your hair breaks you’ll have uneven length, but you also lose that hair and have to start over.
Effectively, breakage is the enemy of long hair. And are you the type to harbor and abet the enemy? Of course not.
What causes split ends?
Damage. From heat, chemicals, exposure, rough treatment and wear & tear. Including but not limited to:
Here are some situations and activities that may be more common to men, where you could be damaging your hair:
Do you have split ends? What do you do about them?
Take a section of your hair and examine it carefully under good light. Hold it between two fingers. You can look in a mirror if that helps.
You will be able to see individual shafts of hair splitting into a “Y,” or even further splitting into three or more segments.
If you have split ends, you need to panic. Actually don’t panic, but you’ll need to amputate on these wounded soldiers, cutting at least a ¼ inch above the split. We recommend finding a barber or stylist you trust, and who is educated about hair.
Barber shops are badass—we go there for beard trims—they just might not have as much experience with long hair.
There are products out there that claim to repair split ends, seal them up or otherwise fix the problem, but these are like using a band-aid on a compound femur fracture. They will not actually repair the damage and more likely will leave your hair more susceptible to further damage.
We know it sucks getting your hair trimmed, especially if you’re eager for it to grow longer. But if you have split ends and your don’t trim them, they are going to get worse and it’s going to take more time to grow your hair longer in the end.
Ok, so how do you prevent them?
The best way to deal with split ends is to prevent them. How? Healthy hair. About which we could write an entire book, so we’ll keep this abbreviated here.
The best thing you can do to keep your hair healthy is avoid damage. We’ve covered most common ways you can damage your hair above, but you should also avoid lighting your hair on fire, getting it caught in heavy machinery and soaking it in furniture lacquer.
Beyond avoiding damage, the next most important aspect to healthy hair is maintaining a healthy moisture balance. Your scalp produces a natural oil called sebum, which moisturizes and lubricates your hair. Some men have a more oily scalp, some dryer. Whichever the case, you want balance.
Brushing properly will help you distribute these natural oils evenly throughout your hair, so it’s a good idea to brush once a day. You want to use proper technique and the right brush, so mind the link above.
Your shampoo and conditioner regimen is important to moisture balance. Shampooing your hair regularly is a good idea, but not every day. While cleansing your hair and scalp, shampooing strips the natural oils out of your hair. For most guys, somewhere between every other day and once a week is the number. Use products without sulfates, which are bad.
You can, however, condition every day. Conditioning is great for your hair and you can do it often, even in between shampooing. If you don’t want to full-on condition that often, you can just spray the tips with a spray bottle, then apply conditioner to the tips.
You can even leave conditioner in your hair, but you want to use conditioner that is for “moisturizing.” If you have a conditioner that says “strengthening,” “rebuilding,” “restructuring,” or similar terminology, you don’t want to leave this in.
If you still find your hair is dry, whether naturally or from using products or swimming in chlorine or some other cause, using natural oils are a great way to moisturize. Coconut, avocado, tea tree and nut oils are all excellent for your hair. Application instructions can be found in Quick Tips.
Your overall health and fitness are directly related to the health of your hair. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a healthy, balanced diet are all important.
Lastly, in terms of priority, your hair is basically the least important in your body systems. As a consequence, your hair is a good indication of your overall health, almost like a “first responder.” If you are having constant problems with unhealthy hair, you might visit your health professional to dig a little deeper into what’s going on with your body.
For more tips and details on keeping your hair healthy, sign up for Quick Tips.
One final comment. In their grace and beauty and to the good fortune of men, women have been going to great lengths for centuries to make their hair look great, for which we’re eternally thankful. However, in their endless quest for great-looking hair, women have at times taken measures that damage their hair.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for men with long hair to actually have healthier hair than women. You may have women complimenting you on your hair, or even telling you they wish their hair was as nice as yours. Accept their compliments with grace and gratitude, and remember the reason why: less is more. Treating, coloring, hot air blasting, teasing, spraying, straightening, curling. It might sound like a good idea, but the best idea is all natural with proper care and maintenance.
There you have it boys, now you know. Next step is taking action, by preventing damage and promoting healthy hair. So do it.