Mid shaft splits: cause and prevention
Mid shaft splits are generally viewed as a peculiar mystery. Hair is supposed to split at the ends where there is more wear and less cuticle..right? Wrong! Splits occur at areas of weakness. Mid shaft hair splits will occur very commonly and almost always exclusively in people with curly or kinky hair (noting that your hair can be naturally curly, curly and kinky, straight and kinky or wavy and kinky). The mid shaft split will almost always occur at the kink as you can see in the microscopic image of my hair below
|Mid shaft split|
Every kink in hair represents a weakness. It will always be easier to break or wear hair away at a kink than it would be at another part of the strand. The more kinks you have, the more likely you are to experience mid shaft splits. Mid shaft splits occur when hair is repeatedly groomed (brushed, combed, stretched) at a curve/loop (J. Soc. Cosmet Chem pp 289-297, 1975). Kinks have multiple curves, the tighter the curl of your hair the more the loops.
Double and single kinks in hair (my hair)
So what can you do to avoid mid shaft splits? The only thing to do is to reduce pressure on kinks and tight curls. This means using less force when handling your hair for example:
- if it suits your hair - eliminating combs and brushes
- if you have to comb or brush - only do it enough to detangle or style and not any more
- aim not to stretch your hair fully out because keeping some texture in the hair means you are not exerting pressure on the kinks.