The kinkier your hair texture, the more you have to stay on the offense when it comes to knots and splits. Yes, texture matters–with my mixed textures, I can see that my looser textures are nowhere near as knot-ridden as my tighter coils where the knot fairy army has apparently encamped. Yet, my looser textures are more prone to split ends than anywhere else on my head.
Over the last year or two, I’ve finally begun to beat back the scourge of raggedy ends, and the following are my technique-focused lines of attack.
Wash Your Hair
We all get a little lax every now and then. That’s when the enemy advances. Dirt and lint are tangle magnets–I’ve found a teeny bit of debris at the center of some gnarly knots. So keep those strands as free and clear as possible. Wash regularly. Even a cowash or vigorous rinse can remove some debris, and every little bit helps between proper cleansing.
Moisturize & Seal Your Ends
Parched hair is prone to catching, matting, breakage, and split ends. Keep your moisture balance up between washes, and leave the enemy no quarter. You don’t even have to do your whole head (though you should). If you are tired or short on time, just spritz and smooth the ends with a water-based product and some oil.
Stretch & Protect Your Hair
The enemy never sleeps, so cover your hair at night. For such a simple act, this is a major line of defense against repeated, hours-long friction and the damage that goes with.
It’s not everyone’s preference, but keeping your hair stretched prevents your ends from curling up on each other, doing the nasty, and producing a warren of knots.
Finally, regular protective styling is a more involved process but highly beneficial, because your ends are constantly hidden from harmful elements. Think of it as recoup time for your hair. I do mini twists for a month at a time and buns or a halo twist when I need a quick protective style to last the week. Just don’t neglect hygiene and moisture during your hair vaycay.
Search & Destroy or Trim
I used to trim no more than every three months. I’d try to take off only a quarter-inch. Still, when three months rolled around again, the enemy horde would have overwhelmed old battle lines and gained new territory. I’d often have to cut back a half-inch or more–basically all my growth in the interim! There had to be a better way.
Girl, get on those search and destroy missions. I’d heard of it way back in the beginning of my journey, probably from CurlyNikki, but it sounded painstaking. Recently, I gave in and it has turned the tide.
The trick is to always have your scissors in reach, and go in when you’re going to be all up in your mane anyways, so it doesn’t feel like extra. I do it every time I’m thoroughly detangling. My hair is now long enough in most places to eyeball the knots, and where it isn’t I feel it out a little bit at a time as best as I can. Splits are a little more difficult to detect, but I do know they are mostly localized to my looser textures so I pay special attention there.
I haven’t had to trim in I can’t even remember. The more you do search and destroy missions, the less there is to do each time, and the easier it gets.
You know how they say you shouldn’t snap off knots with your fingernails because you’ll create a split end? I tried it. Presto, bingo, a split end appeared right before my eyes.
I snatched up that scissors like, “Back! You, fork-tongued devil!”
What are your go-to products and techniques to combat knots and splits? Comment below or @edinPON on Twitter, and EdinPursuitOfNatural on G+