Health & Beauty Weekly: Hair care in a split-end-prone world

Beautiful hair is something most women and men want, and with the numerous products that claim to make your hair healthier, being able to distinguish which products work and which are advertising flukes can be difficult. When you have dry hair it leads to having bad split ends. So what causes hair to dry out in the first place?

According to WebMD, your hair may be drying out because your scalp is not making enough moisture, since it relies on oils in the roots. Dry scalp can lead to dandruff flakes if it peels. Also, moisture in the hair can be escaping as each strand of healthy hair has a cuticle, or protective layer. "I have tried everything on my hair, but nothing seems to work," says Justine Ramirez, a student at SMC for more than one year. "I dyed my hair a lot when I was in high school, and I'm still seeing the result of that now. Nothing is making my hair the way it used to be."

Suffering from dry split ends can make it hard to style or even straighten for some. Crystal Henderson, a third-year SMC student, says it is difficult to style her hair, claiming that it no longer curls and is always frizzy.

"When it starts to act out, I just put a oil treatment I put together myself a couple years ago," says Henderson. "It consist of jojoba oil, coconut oil, Moroccan oil and lavender essential oil. I just mix it in a bottle and leave on overnight. It's a miracle worker." Susan James, an SMC cosmetology professor, says that preventing the split and dry ends begins with a mild shampoo.

"Let's use fabric as an example," James says. "Either silk or linen will shrink in hot water, and all fabrics loose color in hot water so shampooing in warm, not hot water is important."

James adds that shampoo should never be applied directly to the hair in a concentrated form, it should be diluted to prevent burning the cuticle, or the outer layer of the hair.

"Since hair doesn't have a stomach, it cannot process proteins as such," says James. "Hydrolyzed means that the protein has been chemically digested or decomposed so the cortex, or the inner second layer of hair, can actually benefit from it." In the hair care product aisle, keratin, according to WebMD, is a protein that is naturally in the hair. Keratin hair treatments at salons are promoted in many advertisements, and are an ingredient in many shampoos. But keratin products may also contain formaldehyde.

Student Donna Martinez says she has been using Organix Brazilian Keratin smoothing hair treatment for the past month.

"My hair has never felt better," claims Martinez. "I have had less split ends and smoother hair. I have always had frizzy hair, and this has helped a lot!"

According to James, since skin makes the hair and nails, unhealthy skin will make unhealthy hair and nails. So a balanced diet will help the hair as it is being made beneath the scalp.

"Conditioners should be chosen as to the type of structure damage," says James. "An example is fire damage versus flood damage to wood. Fire damage reduces the infra-structure while water damage causes mold. With hair, chemical damage is different than thermal damage, so conditioners need to address the type of problem."

Moroccan, jojoba, coconut and olive oils are other products that are frequently found on ingredient lists of hair products.

"I really don't have long hair, but it can sometimes get fluffy," says SMC student Brian Wilson. "I use my girlfriend's shampoo and conditioner that has argon oil it in. It has made my hair a lot softer, and it smells good."

Creating a hair mask can help with dry ends. There are many popular ones including avocado masks.

"Using a homemade avocado hair mask can help a lot," says hairstylist Elizabeth Rodriguez. "If you can't make one, buying one that has avocado oil in it is really beneficial because avocado has good fats that help with repairing and has nutrients that are good for your hair."

There are many homemade recipes and professionally recommended treatments for home hair care on online social media website Pinterest. The Internet makes it easy to find different options in keeping the split ends away.