Most people have a fascination for their hair, liking to keep it sleek and well styled, but what happens when this becomes an obsession, such as an obsession for searching for split ends?
It is a natural progression to move from self-grooming to obsessive type behaviour, particularly when bored or under stress. Split ends themselves are a condition called trichoptlosis. These occur when the protective cuticle has been stripped away from the ends of hair fibres and they can be solved with good hair maintenance. Unfortunately once this hair cuticle has eroded, it does not regenerate. By this time, the hair has degenerated and will break frequently. Prevention of split ends is the answer. Is your hair hungry or thirsty?
The stronger your diet and nutrition, the more sheen your hair will have, so as well as keeping your hair clean and cut, do take time to think about nutrition. A selenium supplement, saw palmetto and L-Lysine may help your hair to stay healthy and strong. Biotin may help the process of hair follicle regeneration. Vitamin B6 (best absorbed with vitamin C) and zinc may also assist.
Hair is 25% water, so drink plenty of water to keep it hydrated and shiny. Dehydrating stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugars will strip your hair of their natural hydration. Split-ends are more likely to occur if your hair is dry and brittle hair, and may be caused by over brushing or over-use of the hair dryer. The natural hair oils which keep hair looking sleek, come from the scalp, so it is understandable that the longer your hair becomes, the more vulnerable the ends are to splitting. Untangling your hair when wet is easier, but very damaging. If you are going to do it (and it really isn’t to be recommended), do it while you’re still in the shower, when your hair is full of conditioner and with a wide toothed comb, or preferably your fingers. Thoroughly rinse your hair afterwards as split-ends can also be caused by product not being rinsed out properly. Once your hair has been detangled and thoroughly rinsed, you are not going to want to rub it dry with a towel, which is great because doing so could damage the delicate cuticles. A great alternative to the hair-dryer is a dog towel (sometimes marketed as a travel towel). These are the types which are extra absorbent and not made of the rough towelling texture which can easily break hair. Using this type of absorbent material as opposed to towelling, will soak up the water from the hair surprisingly well. Pull the absorbent material down the hair in gentle and repetitive strokes.
The reality is, that even though we know it is bad for our hair, most of us do use heated hair products, so simply use them for the minimum amount of time. Use your dog towel to soak up the water (without rubbing) and when your hair is almost dry, then use your power drying IF YOU MUST. Artificial heating is not great for your hair, so use the natural alternatives when possible. The best treatment is to cut off the split end.
You know your own hair, and know which length is best for keeping split-ends at bay. It is important to look good but it is more important to keep obsessions under control, and if you have an obsession with looking for split ends, then find a hairstyle which is short enough not to leave you at high risk of losing time and energy to feeling out of control of your actions. You know how demoralising that can be, and once one thing spirals out of control, it is so much easier to lose control of other aspects of your life. If you desperately want to keep your hair long, don’t ignore split ends because as well as inviting obsession, they break away after splitting, meaning that your hair will get a little shorter every time you brush it and – more alarmingly for a tricster – that your hair is getting thinner!
You can purchase a product called a split-ender, but this in itself can become an obession and won’t take away the endless search for split ends. The most crucial step to stopping the search for split ends must be preventing them from occurring in the first place. Don’t brush your hair too often, and when you do, be sure to use brushes and combs with smooth, wide-set teeth. Avoid nylon bristles, as these are particularly hard on your hair. And no matter what, don’t brush wet hair. If it is tangled, comb your hair gently with a wide-toothed comb or with your fingers from the ends up, one section at a time. Keep your hair clean and cut. Get a trim every couple of weeks if you need to. Salons can be expensive but it will cost you more than money if you end up pulling your hair out, and the search for split-ends CAN lead there, for some people. Pony tail bands, covered or uncovered, are common culprits of hair breakage. If you put your hair in a ponytail, it’s best to do so with a scrunchie, or a ribbon. The only sure way to banish split ends is to have your hair cut regularly. This will also do you good because you will get used to going to the hairdresser and having your hair closely strutinised … an added incentive not to pull any hair out or split too much! As a temporary measure between hair dresser visits, use a treatment for split ends, a leave-in conditioner with a light hold, or a gel just on the tips – all these can help to temporarily seal the splits. Use a wide toothed wooden comb rather than a close bristle brush.
NEVER let your fingers engage with your hair – use knuckles to scratch so that you can’t get my hands in your hair. However, if you are going to cut out the split ends yourself, hold a small section of hair and twist it downwards, as though you were twisting it round a hair roller to curl it. Pull it tight and any split ends will automatically stick out.
Using hair dressing scissors, cut about a quarter of a centimetre off the end of the entire twist, cutting the hair downwards to remove the damaged ends, just as if you were cutting a rose stem in a slanted manner. This will make it look more natural and layered. If you must leave time between salon visits, use specialist products in the interim, to seal the splits. Many professionals do not advise washing your hair more than once or twice a week, but this advice is not great for anyone with a hair obsession. Remember the writers of articles you read do not have all the information, YOU do. You know your particular hair and your particular nature, the heating in your home and the weather in your own particular region. If you are prone to obsessions, then do whatever it takes to prevent an obsessive zone out occurring. Shampoo and condition your hair after a workout and in really hot weather, or every morning if you perspire a lot in bed. The salt from perspiration will erode your hair.
The care you take of your hair, will really make a difference to you emotionally, as any form of self-care is beneficial in managing obsessions.