Are your split ends making a comeback despite frequent trims? Don’t worry, you don’t need to chop down your beautiful mane to prevent them.
Split ends are a common problem and trimming your hair might not be a permanent solution. But, you can manage them with natural herbal remedies that have zero side effects.
Scroll down to know what are the different herbal remedies for split ends and how they can restore the health of your hair.
What Are Split Ends?
Simply put, the splitting of your hair shaft causes a split end which is clinically termed Trichoptilosis. In Ayurveda, split ends are classified under ‘Shiro Roga’ or a condition of the head. But to understand how the hair splits let us look at the structure of your hair shaft.
Your hair shaft is built of 3 layers. The innermost layer is called the medulla. The second layer is called the cortex and is formed of the protein called Keratin. This layer also contains melanin which gives your hair its unique colour. Keratin provides strength to your hair and prevents it from breakage. The third and outermost layer is called the cuticle, made of dead cells overlapping each other like scales.
Split ends  occur when your cuticle is damaged due to certain external factors like heat, excess sun exposure, leaving the cortex exposed. This causes the keratin layer to come apart or unravel leading to a split of your hair shaft.
“According to Ayurveda, Rasa dhatu which is roughly correlated to lymph helps maintain the hair hydration. Disruption of Rasa dhatu triggers the hair to split at the ends. Good hydration, healthy digestion with inclusion of healthy fats in diet and protection from heat, all balance the Rasa dhatu that nourishes the hair,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Types of Split Ends
Split ends indicate your hair’s need for care and conditioning. So it is important to know what are the various types of split ends to identify them.
1. The Basic Split
This is one of the most common types of split ends that occur in the early stages of hair damage. This shows that parts of the cuticle are gradually coming undone. If your hair shaft gets complete nutrition that it requires, it may prevent further damage.
2. The Mini Split
Similar to the basic split, the mini also signals the beginning of hair breakage. Your hair shafts need moisture. A good Ayurvedic treatment can help to lock the moisture of your hair and remove the developing split ends.
3. Fork In The Road
This is a rare kind of split tending to cause more damage to the cuticle layer. As the name suggests, the hair shaft splits into three sections. Not just conditioning, but natural Ayurvedic remedies might be required to manage this type.
4. The Tree
In this type, the damage occurs on one side of the hair strand creating edges that jut out to look like the branches of a tree. The damage here is quite significant and you might require a proper Ayurvedic treatment along with slight trimming of your hair to remove the split ends.
5. The Candle
When parts of the cuticle wear out with no splits, leaving the hair shaft prone to breakage, it is called the candle. In this case, the hair might break anytime as the outer layer is lost and the hair strand is left unprotected. The candle signifies severe hair damage and we recommend you visit your Ayurvedic doctor for a consultation.
6. The Knot
The Knot is more common in curly or wavy hair. In this case, the damaged hair tangles itself to form a knot. If you try to brush through it, there is a chance the hair might break in that spot.
The urge to pick on a split end can be difficult to fight, but it may lead to irreversible damage to your hair shaft. Not only will the hair break into two parts but the breakage may travel upwards and damage the whole hair shaft.
Internal And External Factors That Cause Split Ends
1. Internal Causes
According to Ayurveda, when your Tridoshas or life energies are not in harmony, the normal functions of your body are disrupted. Split ends are a common manifestation of Vata Dosha imbalance in the body which causes excessive dryness internally. Sometimes a Pitta or Kapha dosha imbalance may also play a role in causing split ends. Usually, a Vata Prakriti (constitution) body is more prone to getting split ends.
2. External Causes
Now that you know what causes split ends internally, let us look at the major external causes.
A. Overexposure To The Sun
Too much sun exposure to the ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation weakens the cuticle of your hair shaft causing it to break. Photodamage is common among people who spend long hours under the sun. The UVB rays enter the hair shaft and break the disulphide bonds on the surface of the cuticle increasing hair porosity. This makes the hair strands rough, weak and prone to breakage.
B. Overuse of Hair Styling Products
As much as you love trying out new hair products, it is important to know what’s in the bottle. Several ingredients in shampoos, serums, gels and other hair care products contain chemicals that steal your natural shine with prolonged use. Ingredients such as Laureth Sulphate, Chemical Fragrances, Parabens, Propylene Glycol and Sodium Chloride destroy the keratin layer resulting in hair breakage and split ends.
C. Wear and Tear From Mechanical Stress
That last minute combing might cost your hair heavily. Hair can be normally stretched by 30% but if you're stretching it beyond that it may lead to structural damage. Wear and tear caused by rough combing, wearing constant head covers, tight ponytails, sleeping on cotton pillowcases can split your hair from the ends.
D. Thermal Stress
Split ends from heat damage are common for hair that is styled frequently. Hair straighteners, blow dryers, curling irons break the protein bonds of your hair making it break easily. If you still need to blow dry your hair, we suggest you reduce the heat to prevent further damage.
E. Hard Water and Sweat
Don’t forget your swim cap before jumping into the pool. Chlorine in water along with hard minerals are capable of damaging your hair’s cuticle leading to split ends. Hypochlorous acid present in swimming pools, hard minerals such as copper in your tap water and sweat can all erode the cuticle, making your hair hard, brittle and frizzy.
Now that you are aware of all the causes behind those split ends, try to stay away from them as much as possible. Meanwhile, let us look at various natural remedies to manage your existing split ends.
Treatments To Remove Split Ends
1. Ayurvedic Treatment
Since split ends are a result of the elevation of the Vata Dosha, it is important to stay hydrated at all times. Include more liquids, juices in your diet and avoid spicy foods that aggravate the Vata Dosha.
Regular warm oil massages or Shiro Abhyanga with Ayurveda-recommended oils can reduce dryness of hair and calm the Vata dosha on your scalp to prevent split ends.
A. Karkuntal Oil
Karkuntal oil is a combination of nature’s best herbs, commonly used to treat split ends and dryness. This oil contains Neelini (Indigofera tinctoria), Bhringaraja, Amlaki, Nimba, Coconut milk, Yasthi, Gunja. Each of these unique herbs play a key role in restoring the lost moisture of your hair. They penetrate the hair shaft and strengthen the keratin layer to prevent split ends from occurring.
B. Neelibhringadi Oil
This is a unique concoction of special Ayurvedic herbs that reduce the Vata dosha effects on your scalp. Neeli improves the strength of your hair, Bhringaraja works against dryness and makes your hair lustrous. The herbs Indravalli, Coconut, Athimadhuram, Gunja all prevent hair damage, split ends, dandruff. Neelanjana and cow’s milk in Neelibhringadi oil  provides nourishment to your hair shaft.
C. Meadowfoam Seed Oil
The meadowfoam seed oil has its moisture locking properties and works wonder on dry, brittle damage prone hair. It seals moisture in your hair shaft and keeps your hair frizz-free.
D. Jojoba Oil
Rich in Vitamin B, C, E and essential minerals like Zinc and Copper, Jojoba oil has long been used to treat split ends and dry hair. It also helps in hydrating the hair and strengthens the cuticle layer of your hair.
E. Gunja Seed Oil
Gunja  Taila is one of the most used Ayurvedic herbs in Shiroabhyanga to cure various hair and scalp related problems. It reduces dandruff, split ends, scalp irritations and promotes hair follicle growth.
F. Ashwagandha Oil
This is another commonly used Shiroabhyanga oil that possesses antioxidant properties which promotes scalp health. Rich in flavonoids and tyrosine that protects the hair from thermal or heat-induced damage.
Brahmi strengthens hair shafts and prevents them from splitting or breaking due to protein loss. The alkaloids present in this herb attach themselves to the protein cells in your hair and make your hair damage resistant.
2. Home Remedies
There are various ingredients easily available in and around your house that have emollient properties, preventing hair breakage. Here’s a list of the most effective home remedies that you can apply to your hair to remove your split ends naturally.
A. Onion Juice
Make a paste of small onions and squeeze out the juice. Add some almond oil to this and apply this through the length of your hair. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash off. Onions are rich in sulphur that prevents hair from structural damage thus preventing split ends.
B. Yoghurt, Banana, Honey Hair Mask
Mash the banana in a bowl, add yoghurt and honey to it and mix well. To this mixture add sweet almond oil and apply it on your scalp and hair covering from root to tips. Leave the mask for 15-20 mins and then wash off. Use twice a week for best results.
The moisturizing properties of all three ingredients restore natural shine to dull frizzy hair. It hydrates the scalp and the hair shafts preventing the occurrence of split ends.
C. Coconut Milk, Avocado And Honey Hair Mask
Avocado is known to have amazing hair restoration properties. Blend coconut milk, avocado, honey and a few drops of almond or sesame oil into a fine paste. Apply this on your hair and leave it in for 15-20 minutes and then wash off with a natural shampoo.
Rich in Vitamin E, coconut milk provides strength and nourishment to breakage prone hair. Avocado contains biotin which prevents the cuticle from unravelling and makes your hair smooth and shiny. Honey provides additional moisture to the hair shaft and sesame oil pacifies your Vata dosha on the scalp.
3. Natural Ayurvedic Shampoos For Split Ends
Reetha or soap nut works on all three doshas and promotes healthy hair. It is antibacterial and gently cleanses the scalp by removing dirt and excess sebum, thus unclogging the hair follicles for nutrition to easily seep in. Reetha also fulfils your hair’s iron deficiency and does not let it break easily.
Vedix Tip: Reetha helps to fight off your dandruff problems. It makes your hair smooth and nourishes your hair roots. You can use it with amla and shikakai to promote healthy hair growth.
Shikakai is rich in Vitamins A, C D K, E and antioxidants which cures hair conditions like dryness, split ends, frizz and discoloration. It prevents your hair from getting tangled and adds an extra shine to your hair after every wash.
C. Hibiscus Leaves, Fenugreek And Curry leaves
Hibiscus leaves have been used to cleanse hair for ages. When boiled in water, hibiscus leaves create a natural froth which can be used to shampoo your hair. With moisture locking properties, hibiscus  prevents your hair shaft from dryness and split ends. Add some fenugreek and curry leaves to the mixture to promote hair strength and shine.
D. Quinoa Protein
Use an Ayurvedic shampoo that has quinoa seeds. Quinoa gives a protein boost to your hair, leaving it stronger and naturally shiny.
4. Hair Serums
Hair Serums can be left on for a longer time and act as a protective layer on the cuticle.
- Kumari or Aloe Vera gel is a natural serum that hydrates your hair shafts and helps to maintain their natural shine. It also soothes your scalp and maintains the normal pH levels.
- Japa or Hibiscus flower juice makes your hair shiny and lustrous. It helps you to get rid of split ends, naturally.
- Bhringraj Thailam is a natural conditioner for breakage prone hair. Leave it on overnight or apply it as a serum to prevent your tips from splitting.
5. Hair Mask For Split Ends
A. Hibiscus flower, Fenugreek, Curry Leaves And Amla Hair Mask
This magical hair mask enriched with the best of Ayurvedic herbs not only removes split ends but prevents your hair from more damage by strengthening your hair shaft. Hibiscus is known for its hydrating properties and is used in the treatment of Rukshata or dryness in Ayurveda. Fenugreek contains high protein and nicotinic acid which prevents hair thinning and dryness and brings back your hair’s natural bounce. Curry leaves are rich in beta carotene and protein which strengthens hair from the inside and prevents breakage. Amla has vitamins, minerals and more importantly phytonutrients that protect the hair from UV rays and thermal damage.
Take 5-6 hibiscus flowers and 2 hibiscus leaves, curry leaf leaves, fenugreek and amla and blend the ingredients to make smooth paste. Add your favourite essential oil to it, preferably sesame seed oil or sweet almond oil and apply it through the length of your hair. Leave the mask for about 30 mins if you have time or 10-15 mins and then wash off with natural shampoo.
B. Neem Hair And Aloe Vera Hair Mask
Enriched in proteolytic enzymes this hair mask helps in building the damaged cuticle cells which cause split ends. It also moisturizes your scalp and hair shafts from within and promotes hair follicles growth. This mask is best for hair that is over exposed to the sun or heat as the soothing nature of aloe vera makes your hair resistant to such damages. The antifungal quality of neem cures scalp irritation and is added benefit to dry breakage prone hair.
Add neem oil to pure aloe vera gel and apply this mask on your scalp and hair and leave it for more 15 mins. Rinse off with an Ayurvedic shampoo for better results.
6. Trimming/Cutting Hair
Trimming those split ends away is always a solution. If your split ends are quite severe and cannot be treated by natural remedies then a trim is required to prevent your hair from splitting further. We recommend frequent trims in case of long hair and then use the above mentioned hair remedies to stop those split ends from coming back.
7. Treatment Options
A. Deep Conditioning
Split ends occur as your hair lacks moisture and the cuticle layer comes apart. To reverse this process, condition your hair with hair masks that have natural ingredients like coconut milk. Deep conditioners work better as they have ingredients that lock in moisture for a longer time. Other natural deep conditioners are Sweet Almond oil and Sesame Oil that you can leave on overnight.
B. Candle Cutting
Candle cutting or Velaterapia is a split ends treatment where an experienced professional takes small twisted sections of your hair and burns them at the end in a candle fire. Experts say that this seals the split ends and prevents the hair from breaking at the end. Also, the hair is able to absorb nourishment that the hair professional applies afterward.
Candle Cutting can only be performed by a professional and must not be tried at home, or you may end up burning and further damaging your hair.
C. Hair Dusting
In this hair treatment, a professional merely trims off the tips of your hair without compromising on the length. It is a time consuming process as the split ends are deftly removed by snipping the breakage points at the bottom of your hair.
Do Split Ends Stop Hair Growth?
Your hair grows from the hair roots embedded in your scalp and not from the tips. Hence, hair growth has no connection to split ends. Since the process of splitting and breaking happens faster than hair growth, it feels that the hair’s length is being compromised due to the split ends.
The Last Word
Split ends are a common problem faced by most of us, which is caused by overuse of styling products, excess sun exposure or other internal factors. But luckily they can be treated and prevented from returning. A good diet, lots of liquid intake and Ayurveda’s time tested natural remedies can easily return the bounce and shine of your hair. At Vedix, we evaluate your doshas and present you with a customized Ayurvedic hair care regimen to treat your unique hair and scalp problems.Know Your Dosha Now