Recently, a new client raised a concern about the hair on her sheital. She had purchased the sheital three and a half years ago and began noticing little white dots at the end of the sheital hairs. She asked me if the hair was damaged, and whether she needed a new sheital. I reassured her that the only problem with the sheital was a few split ends, and that it would only take a quick trim and deep conditioning to restore the hair’s healthy sheen.
Most women are shocked to hear that a sheital can have split ends. The reality is that they can, and often do. When strands are split, display faint white dots at the end or are entangled in a larger knot, they require immediate care to prevent further damage. Failing to give split ends the attention they warrant can cause strands that are split to split beyond the tip of the hair, and may require more than just a trim to completely eliminate them.
All hair is prone to split ends—even hair on a wig—and the split ends can only be removed, not repaired. Trimming hair every six weeks—and a sheital every nine months—prevents hairs from splitting in the first place, and eliminates the few that do before they have a chance to split higher up on the hair strand. Since trimming is a necessary part of sheital maintenance, and helps to maintain the integrity of the hair, I always recommend that my clients purchase new sheitals approximately three inches longer than they would initially like. This helps to ensure that they can comfortably trim their sheital four or five times without losing any of the desired length.
While split ends inevitably make their mark on all types of hair, they are known to be more prevalent on dry hair. It is therefore important to deep condition your hair or sheital on a regular basis, or apply a moisturizing hair mask to keep the hair moist. Because sheitals lack the moisturization from natural scalp oils, they are more prone to drying out. Especially hot or cold weather is another contributing factor to dry sheital hairs. I find that using a moisturizing hair mask on a sheital during the spring is most effective, as it helps to counteract the winter’s harsh effect on the wig.
During the warmer summer months, it is equally important to protect one’s sheital from harmful sun rays. The sun’s ultraviolet rays, while infamous for the damage they can cause to skin, are also responsible for oxidizing natural or sheital hair, and can adversely affect the overall health of a head of hair, leaving you with dry, brittle hair that is difficult to repair. To protect hair from permanent sun damage, invest in a sunscreen hair conditioner that can be applied before going out in the sun. And if you know that you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, it might be a good idea to leave your best hair piece at home.
In addition to dry hair, vigorously brushing one’s hair or wig can cause split ends. One should carefully and delicately brush the hair to reduce any damage. I recommend using a vent brush and some detangling spray, and to start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up toward the scalp. Additionally, try to avoid excessive “touch ups” on a sheital in between wash and sets. It can be tempting to frequently fix up a sheital, but this upkeep often leads to burnt hair when done by a novice. Before applying any heat to a sheital, make sure to apply a professional, high-end heat protectant spray to protect the hair from heat damage. Ensure the heat setting is not set on too high a temperature, and limit the amount of time the hair is in contact with the heat to prevent burning.
Proper care and maintenance is essential to keeping your hair or sheital healthy and shiny, and addressing split ends is no exception. Regular trims, deep conditioning, careful brushing and investing in appropriate hair products can work wonders on any hair type, and are all effective ways to prevent and address split ends.
By Sari Friedbauer
Sari Friedbauer is the owner of Saris wigs. She is a licensed stylist and cosmetologist and can be reached at 201-694-5319.