Different types of hair ends at 600x-800x magnification
1. Ripped ends – The two ends below were created when I stretched a fine strand (left) and a coarse strand (right) from two different heads to breaking point. Tension breakage is the most likely damage an average person who uses heat infrequently would face while detangling or styling their hair. Both ends as you can see look worse for wear and very likely to split in the future.
2. Split ends – These you should already be familiar with. They form as a result of dry hair, heat or damage to the hair strand. This particular split didn’t look that bad to the naked eye but under the microscope it looked worryingly huge!
3. Cut ends – If you thought that the scissors you use to cut your hair don’t make a difference, think again! On the left is a gorgeous impossibly perfect end that you get when you use a sharp pair of shears. Obviously these ends are very desirable and without trimming too much of your progress away, with the “search and destroy” method of trimming, you can get most of your ends to look like this.
On the right is what I achieved after using my desk scissors that I usually use to cut paper and you can see that the end is somewhat ragged and looks likely to form a split in the future. Honestly I thought that both pairs of scissors did a similarly good job of cutting the hair but it was only under a microscope that I was able to see that there is a clear difference!
4. Weathered end – These ends are also desirable only second to the perfectly cut end. These are ends that form when a strand of hair has been on your head for so long and managed to escape damage from chemical or mechanical means. To the naked eye you will notice these as strands which look perfect along the length until very close to the end where they appear thinner.
They are essentially ends that have been worn away by the passage of time (they even appear to lose their pigment) and managed to sidestep damage. You will usually find ends like these in very long hair. A healthy head of long hair should essentially be a combination of perfectly cut and weathered ends.
So there you have it, that’s what happens when you give a wannabe geek like me access to a digital microscope! Below is a graphic of all the ends together, feel free so share it.
To see more articles from the Hair Under The Microscope series click here.
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