How to Notice a Split End

by Lisa Finn ; Updated September 28, 2017

Cut split ends off yourself or visit a professional for a uniform look.

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Noticing a split end is never a happy moment. These inconvenient hairs usually signify that your hair is dry or brittle at the ends and could use a good deep conditioning treatment and a trim. Your hair splits at the ends when the protective cuticle is worn away by excessive brushing and washing, chemical or environmental damage or excessive heat. Once you notice your ends splitting, there is only one option to rid your mane of these unsightly Y-shaped hairs: you have to cut them off.

Place the ends of your hair through your fingers and pick up a 1-inch section. Look at the ends closely and see if there are any Y-shaped ends. This is what a split end looks like, and it can occur as a slight split that is just starting or a deep Y that is split a few inches up the shaft. Continue picking up 1-inch sections around your entire head and look for the splitting hairs.

Notice if your hair has already split into two or three strands. This is sometimes tricky to identify because the hair isn't in a Y-shape at the end; it has already come undone and may be just over an inch in length.

Remove the split end with sharp scissors. Simply place the scissors just above the place where the end is split, and cut the end off. If most of your ends are split, visit a professional hair stylist who can give you a proper cut and a deep conditioning treatment made for brittle ends.


  • When cutting the ends yourself, it helps to twist a 1-inch section clockwise. This helps to pop out the split ends.

    After trimming, apply a leave-in conditioning cream or 100 percent organic jojoba oil to help prevent split ends from happening again.

    Wash, condition, brush and apply heating tools to your hair only as often as needed. Drier hair textures, such as African-American hair or scalps that produce less oil, have denser cuticles and therefore don't need to be washed every day. Apply a moisturizing treatment to your ends a few times a week or when necessary.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.