What causes split ends and 8 prevention tips

The ends of girl's hair

If you are anything like us, split ends were the first thing you learned to complain about when you discovered a flat iron in middle school. Flashbacks of finding each individual split end and literally splitting them apart will be childhood memories we never forget. Luckily, we have grown out of that stage of our life and now understand our relationship with split ends in a more mature way (cue: time, experts, money and lots of self control).  You too can break up with split ends -- just keep reading. 

hydrate collection

explore the
hydrate collection

designed to moisturize,
repair and protect for
hydrated, healthy hair

What are split ends?

All effective and long-lasting breakups start with a clear understanding of what you are dealing with, how you got there and what you need to avoid (yes, this is a hair article, not a Brene Brown podcast just in case you were wondering). A split end, by definition, is exactly what it sounds like — the fraying of the oldest part of your hair strand as it becomes dry and brittle. If left untreated, split ends will lead to breakage, resulting in uneven hair strands that can ruin a look and make styling difficult.

What causes split ends?

Split ends can happen for a variety of causes including one or all (no judgments here) of the following: 

Heat

No one ever uses a hot tool and thinks, “this is so good for my hair.” It’s not rocket science to understand that applying pieces of 425-degree metal directly to your hair is going to fry your strands and make them more prone to split ends. And even if you are spared dramatic experiences like this, there is still damage done each time you apply any heat (direct or to your hair). 

Chemical Treatments 

We love a good three hour session with our hair stylist as much as the next person but once again, this one is low hanging fruit. Putting even the ‘cleanest’ dyes, bleaches and toners on your hair opens and closes the cuticle in a very vulnerable way and leaves much to be desired in the ‘taking care of your ends’ realm. 

Weather 

We hesitate to put things like ‘walking outside’ on the list of ways your hair gets damaged but alas, our environment is an important player in your head of hair. Pollution and the free radicals you are exposed to everyday create general wear and tear on healthy hair. Additionally, excessive sun exposure attributes to heat damage over time and a lack of humidity dries out strands which can cause split ends. 

Friction 

We specifically love this one because it is completely in our control and requires no compromise on style (ie: no need to go grey or let your hair air dry when you just... can't). Friction from rough brushing, styling, towels, sleeping and putting your hair up, causes damage we can easily avoid by being more gentle and taking a few precautions to help prevent split ends.

Health  

A lot of our external consequences occur primarily from the inside, out. This means that daily habits like how much water you are drinking directly impact the strength of your hair. Furthermore, a lack of vitamins and nutrients can also be a contributing cause of split ends. Remember, healthy hair starts with a healthy body so make sure you’re giving yours what it needs to function properly. 

How to prevent split ends

The really unfortunate news — and breaking headline we are barely coming to terms with — is there is absolutely no way to fix split ends. It doesn’t matter how many products you buy or how many articles you read in [insert magazine at the doctors office], the only, we repeat: the only way to get rid of split ends completely and fully is to chop them off. That is why understanding what causes split ends, and working to prevent and treat them is so important. 

If you’re wondering how to get rid of split ends for good, your best bet is to follow these 8 easy prevention practices:

Regular Haircuts 

We realize that in this current situation, putting this one out there is a bit controversial but let’s for a minute pretend it is Nov 2019 and there is no global pandemic. Getting your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks not only keeps your ends sealed which reduces the likelihood of split ends developing, but it also can address many of the other problems your hair might be having by an expert regularly checking in on it! 

Drink more water 

This is obligatory because drinking more water helps all things...except maybe the previously mentioned global pandemic. We don’t know. Ask Trump. Drinking enough water is crucial for preventing strands from drying out and splitting, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Deep Condition

There are so many options here!! Conditioners that match your hair needs are the first place to start. Think: Hydrating Conditioner for extra hydration. Volume Conditioner for volume needs. You get the point. Leave-In Mists should be added to your routine for helping seal the cuticle and protecting the hair from external factors. Last but certainly not least, masking every 4-6 washes is a must for keeping your hair healthy and moisturized. Verb Ghost Hair Masks, Verb Hydrating Mask, Verb Reset Repairing Mask or Verb Purple Mask are all great places to start. It is relaxing, it is fun, they smell nice, trust us - just do it and your hair will thank you.

treatment masks

treatment masks

deep conditioners to smooth,
nourish and hydrate your hair

Avoid regular heating tools

This might be harder said than done, but laying off the heat tools every once in a while is a nice way to give your hair a break. We always recommend no matter your hair type or routine, that every 4-6 washes, you give your hair a break with our Reset System and let air dry. This is the perfect opportunity to try a new style that doesn’t require heat tools; try one out every couple of weeks to mix up your look and help your strands stay healthy.

explore the reset collection

explore the reset collection

designed to clarify, repair
and restore all hair types

Gentle styling

Your hair is the most brittle and susceptible to breakage when it is dripping wet. So simple changes in your routine like, using a towel designed for hair, putting down the harsh detangling brush that is too old, sleeping on a silk pillowcase, using a scrunchie instead of tight hair ties are all easy ways to delay breakage and prevent split ends. 

Avoid harsh chemicals

Our hair cuticles open and close like our pores do, so at certain parts of your routine, it is very exposed to what we are putting on it. Avoiding chemicals like parabens and sulfates is important for protecting your hair from becoming damaged and brittle. Instead, look for ingredients like Panthenol that moisturizes your hair and protects it from external factors. (Quick tip: At Verb, we love panthenol (also referred to as pro-vitamin b5) so look for it in a lot of our products!)

Use a heat protectant

When you do use heat (which is totally okay!!), just make sure you are using a true heat protectant like Verb Ghost Prep to help seal the cuticle and prevent any additional damage.

ghost prep

ghost prep

moisturize, detangle and
smooth with up to 425°F
of heat protection

Customize your routine for your hair type

This might be the most important preventative point. Everyone has unique hair and it is so important to consult with your hairstylist, so email us at info@verbproducts.com, or slide into our DMs on insta to find out exactly what you need to be taking the best care of your hair. 


That being said, as humans, we are imperfect and unless you are Gisele (we voted, and we think she is the only person immune to frayed ends), you will get split ends so when that happens…. Don’t fret. It just means it is time to head to the salon (safely!) and get a quick trim. For inspiration on a new cut, color or style check out our Instagram!