Some people fill up on trashy reality TV show, others indulge in a pint of ice cream. The guilty pleasure going around at Mane Addicts HQ, on the other hand? Picking split ends. Either through twirling or pulling, any chance to separate the dry, drab-looking dead ends gets us giddy. Our old habits would’ve died hard, but we’re sensible, and decided to seek help from an expert. Ahead, the reason why you shouldn’t pick split ends, according to Lee Rittiner, executive stylist at Alen-M Salon in Los Angeles, who keeps a fresh cut on some of our favorite Instababes, including Sazan Hendrix and Rocky Barnes.
What exactly are split ends? How are they formed?
A split end is just what it sounds like. The end of a hair strand that’s damaged, resulting in the strand separating into two or more fragments. Split ends are the result of damage to your hair, either from heat, combing, washing, coloring or even wearing a ponytail. When you damage your hair, the outer layer (the cuticle) starts to peel away, leaving hair frizzy looking and more prone to breakage and splitting.
So, how bad is it to pick split ends?
You can damage your hair further. I describe it to clients like a thread on a knitted sweater—once you pull the thread it will keep unraveling and ruin the garment. Pulling a split end works the same way…so hands off!
Will picking your split ends create more split ends?
The damage to your hair will come when you tear away at the split ends. Pulling them apart actually makes the problem much worse. Instead of having small splits, you could end up with long lengths of hair that have been thinned as a result of pulling the split end apart. This thinned out hair shaft is more apt to tangle. It may also break off entirely, leaving you with shorter hair that is more prone to even more split ends. Any type of “break” to the hair is not “clean” or blunt like it would be from a scissor cut. Some people acquire hair so damaged that a single hair shaft has multiple splits on it.
Do you slow hair growth when you pick split ends?
Yes, because it will continue breaking which will not allow the hair to grow longer.
What styling products would make your split ends worse?
Anything with a high alcohol content will amplify dryness since split ends are looking for hydration. (At Mane Addicts, we’re major fans of this split end serum).