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How To Manage Split Ends On Curly Hair

Of all the curly hair issues that require consistent attention, split ends rank high on the list. They’re a concern that impact the look and overall health of every curl pattern. In addition to the frequent moisture management that curly hair requires, treating and checking for split ends should be a regular practice to keep curls from breaking and frizzing-up.
11 Jun 2021
Split ends happen — and those with curls know the struggle all too well. Frayed tips aren’t just a nuisance; they can also impact your curl pattern and overall hair health.

Checking for split ends is a must if you want to keep curls from breaking or frizzing up. This step is just as important as keeping curls moisturized.

Split ends on curly hair come about for several reasons. Although temporary fixes do exist, the best remedy for managing split ends on curly hair is to eliminate them altogether. Doing so takes dedication, but the results are worth it. When you take care of split ends, your hair’s overall look and feel will improve and your styles will look more stunning.

Ready to learn how to fix split ends and, more importantly, prevent them? Read on because we’ve got the info you need, including product recommendations for split end repair and dry hair.

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What Causes Split Ends On Curly Hair?

Hair split ends take many forms. Y-shaped pieces at the tips, unevenness that looks like a stem with branches coming off the sides, hairs that look thinner or shorter than others or a single strand that’s split down the middle are all signs of split ends.

The causes of split hair are just as numerous, but they all relate to dryness or friction.

Excessive blow-drying and flat ironing can dry out hair, leaving curls weaker, brittle and prone to splitting. hair porosity (aka your hair’s ability to retain and absorb moisture), simply not moisturizing enough or using the wrong cleansers and stylers can also lead to the same level of dryness and damaged hair as someone who doesn’t heat style.

Certain chemicals used in color processes, like dyes and bleach, can also cause dryness, leading to split dyed hair.

Alcohols in styling products and sulfates in shampoos are other culprits that can strip hair’s moisture.

Another cause: sleeping on cotton pillowcases or sans a satin bonnet or scarf. Cotton is a material that absorbs moisture. When hair rubs against cotton or other rough fabrics, breakage can happen, especially at the ends — the oldest and typically driest part of the strand.

Improperly detangling and brushing curly hair can also lead to friction-caused breakage. Raking through strands with the wrong tools or not knowing how to brush curly hair can be damaging.

So, what can you do to prevent split ends in curly hair? Prioritize giving your hair proper slip and moisture before styling. And when possible, avoid brushing your curls when they’re dry.

Is Curly Hair More Prone To Split Ends?

Yes, and as mentioned above, it relates to dryness. Curls fray at the ends more often than other textures just because of how a strand coils. Natural textures are especially vulnerable to splitting at the points where the strand curls. These bends are weaker than other parts of the hair and make it harder for natural hair oils to work their way down each strand.

How To Stop Getting Split Ends

Doing damage control on split ends requires effort, but fortunately, all it takes are a few swaps in your natural hair care lineup and some styling shifts.

Upgrade your shampoo. If your current shampoo has sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS or sulfates), swap it out for a non-drying cleanser, like our Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo. It’s gentle enough for the most fragile and distressed hair and will leave strands stronger and healthier.

Adjust how often you shampoo. Seasonal shifts can lead to temporary lifestyle changes that can dry out hair. In the spring and summer, we tend to get more sun exposure, and in the winter, we likely spend more time indoors with the heating turned up. Whenever your hair starts feeling parched, shampoo less frequently and use for our Sacred Tiare Fortifying Conditioner in place of your shampoo on every other wash day.

Condition, condition, condition. And take your time doing so! Replenishing moisture on the regular will keep your hair smooth and friction- and split end-free. Try a rinse-out formula made with hair oils, like the Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner, which stars strand-building castor oil to seal much-needed moisture and nutrients into curly textures. With continued use, you’ll start to notice softer, more hydrated natural hair.

Deep treat and repeat (monthly). Add deeply hydrating treatments to your list of curly hair essentials. Ingredients like glycerin and coconut oil, found in Monoi Intense Repair Inner Strength System, replenish moisture and strengthen hair. By reinforcing each strand, these ingredients keep natural hair from easily snapping off when stressors like friction come into play. For an even more effective deep treatment, pair the Coco Creme Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask with a hair steamer, which will allow the ingredients to better absorb into each strand.

Get regular trims. Like a run in a pair of stockings, split ends need to be stopped sooner than later. To prevent the frayed tips from inching further up the hair shaft, aim to trim your ends every six weeks or so, or talk to your stylist to figure out the right cadence for your cuts.

Sleep smart. You may not even notice it right away, but the friction created when your hair rubs against your pillowcase raises the hair cuticle, which, for dry, damaged hair, leaves it open to moisture loss, hair breakage and splitting. Get yourself a satin or silk bonnet and pillowcase to reduce friction and prevent your hair’s natural oils from being sucked into the fabric. (Bonus: satin and silk feel luxe!) And before bed, consider applying a moisturizing treatment, like Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie, to rehydrate as you get your beauty sleep.

Practice protective styling. Another easy way to keep curly hair in place while snoozing is by twisting or braiding it into a protective style. You can keep the ends of your hair tucked away to minimize rubbing and tugging. The same rules apply when wearing hats and accessories. Use a hydrating pomade, like Hair Milk Nourishing and Conditioning Styling Pudding, to add both moisture and hold to your protective style.

How you take your protective style down is just as important as how it’s installed. It may require more work to patiently untwist and remove your braids, twists or wig, but gently combing through from the ends upward will help you avoid breakage and other damaging hair issues.

How Can I Repair Split Ends On Curly Hair?

The most effective way to repair split ends on curly hair is to get rid of them entirely. Make a visit with your stylist to have any splits snipped. If not cut off altogether, at the point where the strands split, the hair will continue to fray. Eventually, the strand will be beyond repair and will likely break off.

You can also use a butter- or oil-based product for split end repair. Such products can temporarily smooth and seal split ends on curly hair. Born to Repair Reviving Hair Oil with Shea Butter was designed for this purpose: it visibly seals up to 84% of split ends! Another contender is our Coco Creme Curl Shaping Cream Gel with Coconut Oil.

Better yet, try our entire Born to Repair collection to address hair damage. Born to Repair is a clean and color safe line that fights up to 1 year of visible damage in 1 use. In addition to the hair oil, Born to Repair includes a gentle Sulfate-Free Nourishing Shampoo, creamy Nourishing Conditioner with Shea Butter, mighty 60-Second Moisture Treatment and Defining Leave-In Cream. All of its formulas contain sustainably sourced shea butter, babassu oil and Amazonian nut oil. What you won’t find are nasties: no sulfates, silicones, parabens, artificial dyes or DMDM hydantoin here!

Double down on how you repair damaged hair with this cheat sheet on how to stop hair breakage.

Now that you know what causes, prevents and treats split ends, you can finally make frayed tips a thing of the past.

Updated on July 14, 2023

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