Dear Brandi -
Thank you so much for your tips! I grow my hair out to waist length, then donate it to charity, so it's very important to me to have my hair be healthy and strong. It needs to last the "new owners" as long as it can.
I definitely find my hair does much better now that I use cloth bands to put it in a ponytail, rather than the old style rubbery ones.
An interesting note - I never cut it once it starts growing. So I don't trim the ends, and I don't get split ends. I used to get them when I was younger, when I blow dried my hair. So I think the change is that I no longer do that.