Flat Ironing and Split Ends

Woman who is straightening her hair
Photo: Amelia Fox/Shutterstock
Q: Does flat ironing cause split ends? After growing my hair long I started straightening it 2 weeks ago. Now I discovered horrible split ends. Did the straightening do this? Can I repair my hair or will I have to cut it?
A: It is possible that you have damaged your hair by straightening it which would lead to the development of split ends.
The thing to remember is that damage done to the hair is cumulative and that the ends of your hair are older than the hair at the scalp. In fact, every 1/2-inch increment of length on each strand of hair is approximately one month older than the ½-inch increment above it.
So, if your hair is 6 inches long, the half-inch increment at the end of the hair has accumulated a full year worth of stress and damage.
And you cannot truly “repair” the damage done. It is like saying that you are “repairing” a broken piece of wood. You can glue the pieces together again, and it can look normal, but it is always going to be broken. Your best goal is always to be avoiding the damage in the first place, or trimming away the damaged ends when they happen.
Now, in the interim, you should use protective products to help prevent heat styling damage, and you can use smoothing serums and balms that are meant to diminish the appearance of split ends, which will leave your hair looking healthier.
See also:
Flat iron styling
How badly will straightening my hair twice a week damage it?
How often you can use a hair straightener