Struggling with hair breakage, split ends, and heat damaged hair? You’re not alone. If you want to learn what causes hair breakage and what causes split ends, read on. We’re sharing everything you need to know including how to get rid of split ends and banish damaged hair for good.

What causes hair breakage? What causes split ends?

There’s one thing we can all agree on – we want healthy hair. And the one thing that always gets in the way is damaged hair. It comes in many forms – from actual split ends (where a strand of hair will literally split at the tip, creating a fork, or sometimes multiple forks) to hair that’s breaking off (due to weak points in strands, hair can literally snap into two).

But what’s really happening when you deal with breakage? The strands of hair on your head are made up of a series of proteins. These proteins are comprised of disulfide cystine bonds. When we experience any type of breakage, it’s actually the cystine bonds being forcibly broken causing the hair to weaken. This is caused by a myriad of factors.

The most obvious cause of hair breakage is using too much heat. Using your hot tools at extremely high temperatures, repeatedly, can leave you with severely heat damaged hair. Many people think that they can just use a heat protectant, but the truth is that even after those formulas have been applied, exposing your hair to an excess of heat will simply burn off the protectant, and then continue to damage your hair.

Another cause of hair breakage is dehydration. If you are continually drying out your hair (through heat, through the use of a harsh shampoo with SLS, or by using stylers with drying ingredients like non-fatty alcohols) you can end up with brittle hair. The drier your hair becomes, the more prone to breakage it will be.

Beyond dehydration and excess heat, chemical treatments can also cause breakage. Treatments like perms and straightening treatments force the internal bonds of your hair to break and then reset. In the process, many bonds aren’t able to go through the proper ‘reset’ process and this results in excess breakage.

Something similar happens when you color your hair – the actual color chemicals force your hair open in order to allow the color to permeate and deposit into the hair itself. During the process, cystine bonds are destroyed.

One final cause to keep in mind, is one that you might not always think of: excess tension. When you brush your hair with brute force you stress your strands and can create breakage. The same goes for constantly wearing your hair in a tight updo – the ponytail holder can hold stress in your hair for hours on end, and eventually that tension can lead to breakage.

How to protect against split ends, hair breakage, and heat damaged hair

When it comes to dealing with damage there’s more than a few products that promise to help. But, WARNING!!!! Don’t look for healing help from shampoos! Why? Shampoos that promise to repair damage contain ingredients that do not rinse out, and stay behind on the hair in order to temporarily glue strands back together. These “stay behind” ingredients build up on your hair and scalp, block follicles, impeding new hair growth. So never, ever buy a shampoo that claims to “repair damage” … the very ingredients used to cling to your hair to “fix” it could actually cause hair thinning and loss..

When your hair is dry, brittle, fragile or damaged, your best bet is a gentle sulfate-free shampoo that rinses clear, and leaves no ingredients behind to coat your hair and scalp. Our go-to sulfate-free formula? Color Security Shampoo. Which does exactly what a shampoo should do: leaves your hair and scalp clean and fresh.

Our next recommendation for helping strengthen damaged hair is Kale-infused Dream Cocktail. With sulfur-rich Blue Seakale, protein-building Amino Acids and B Vitamins, this formula is activated by heat when you blow-dry and dramatically helps fortify your hair’s internal bonds and improve hair texture. In a clinical trial it was proven to reduce breakage by 50% with just one use.

Want to learn how to use it? Check out this video: