What To Know Before You Pick Your Split Ends

by Kali Borovic
Shot of a beautiful young woman looking frustrated while looking at her hair
Moyo Studio/E+/Getty Images

Sometimes it's easy to pick apart every little thing about our lives — literally. When it comes to beauty, people can become obsessed with tiny almost unnoticeable things, but there are a few things you should know before picking your split ends. Although it might seem like just a mindless little task, the picking could be harmful to more than just your hair.

You've probably heard once or twice (and by "once or twice" I mean a million times), but picking split ends is bad for your hair. Each strand is made out of three protective layers — cuticle, cortex, and medulla — so generally hair is made to take care of itself, according to OpenDemocracy. When you start picking and pulling the strand into two, the protection is also gone not only on the ends, but all the way up the entire strand. That's why cutting them is the only way to completely repair your locks.

Constant picking actually does damage to the rest of your body as well. A serious compulsion to pick at split ends can be a sign of trichotillomania. This is only extreme cases, but it's not a great habit for anyone. Once you know what causes split ends and how to prevent them, you'll be on your way to having healthy hair in no time. Here's everything to know before you think about picking.

1. Everyone Gets Split Ends

harpazo_hope/Moment Open/Getty Images

It might feel like all eyes are on your splitting strands, but no one is judging. Split ends are natural, so before you start freaking out about them, know that everyone else has this problem at one point or another.

2. There's Only One Way To Get Rid Of Them

John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Unfortunately, getting a haircut is the only way to fix split ends. Consider their appearance nature's reminder to book your next salon visit!

3. Shampoo Could Be The Cause

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Apparently it's not as simple as lather, rinse, and repeat. According to Style Caster, you should only shampoo your scalp, and then let the suds run down to the ends. This is a gentler way of washing that won't break your ends.

4. Cold Water Is The Key

FreshSplash/E+/Getty Images

When you're done rinsing your hair in the shower, finish by running cold water over your hair. According to Good Housekeeping, cold water seals the hair and keeps in moisture, which keeps your strands healthier for longer.

5. Hair Oils Are A Great Prevention

Ouai Haircare Hair Oil, $28, Sephora

Hair oils seal in moisture and leave the ends of hair just as strong as the middle. There are spray oils made specifically for split ends that you can easily sneak into your haircare routine without much effort.

6. Letting Your Hair Down Will Help

Boy_Anupong/Moment/Getty Images

According to, the wrong hair ties can lead to split ends. If wearing your hair down isn't an option, try using softer hair ties that won't be so rough on your strands.

7. Treat Them From The Inside, Out

Vitamin World Healthy Hair Formula, $16, Amazon

Fatty acids are known to help split ends, so taking a hair supplement can help build up your hair health from the inside out.

8. Treat Them From The Outside, In


Fatty acids aren't just great for your insides — you can make at-home hair masks out of food ingredients that will nourish your stands as well.

9. The Number One Cause Is Heat

AFP/DPA/Getty Images

OK, so getting rid of all styling tools might not be completely doable, but too much heat is the number one cause of split ends, according to The Health Site. Avoid constant blow-drying, straightening, and curling if you're trying to keep your hair healthy.

Once you know more about split ends, it's so much easier to avoid them.

Images: Getty Images, Courtesy Brands (2)