Struggling with split ends? Nearly everyone has them occasionally, but some people seem to suffer more than others – especially if they use heat. It usually starts with just a couple… and then you find a few more, and a few more after that. Eventually, you’re shocked to discover that nearly all of your ends are splitting.
Is it a lost cause? Will you need to chop off your tresses to survive this unfortunate hairpocalypse? Absolutely not. Try one of these nine tips to fix or prevent them instead.
1. Skip the Hot Water
There’s nothing like a hot shower to get you up and moving for the day, right? Well, the thing is your hair probably doesn’t agree.
Very hot water can damage your hair both directly and indirectly. At best, it melts away too many of your own natural oils and leaves your hair stripped of moisture.
But, it can also cause hair to become brittle or even split, especially if it’s something you’re doing regularly. Shampoo just compounds this effect.
The fix? Tone down the temp or stick your hair in a protective shower cap and wash it separately. Think of hot water the same way you would heat treatments (like a straightener or curling iron). Use it only sparingly when absolutely necessary.
2. Go Easy with the Brush
Anyone who has a lot of hair knows this struggle all too well. You grab a brush to pull it through your hair after a night of sleep or going for a run in the wind, and it just plain stops halfway through. Argh, knots! Tangles! Balls of hair!
When this happens, it’s usually a sign that your hair is dry or otherwise damaged in some way. So, deep conditioning and/or repair treatments may help.
But whatever you do, resist the temptation to rush and force your brush or comb through your hair, as this is a sure-fire recipe for split ends and breakage.
3. Get a Trim
Be honest – when was the last time you had a trim? If you can’t remember, it’s been too long.
Split ends travel further and further up the hair shaft the longer they go unaddressed. Eventually, they can and will cause the hair shaft to literally break apart, and that’s something you can’t come back from.
This is also the leading cause for going into the salon and coming out with hair that seems short. Your stylist has to take more off in order to compensate for the damage.
4. Try Argan Oil
Argan oil can be a lifesaver for parched or damaged hair. Unlike coconut oil and olive oil, which tend to be heavy and greasy, it’s extremely light and contains molecules small enough to actually absorb into the hair shaft. It won’t fix your splits, but it might be enough to keep them sealed shut – and it adds shine, too.
To use it, just massage a drop or two into your ends when your hair is still damp. Brush it through GENTLY but thoroughly. You can also try adding a teaspoon or two to a full bottle of conditioner you use in the shower; just be sure to rinse well.
5. Ditch the Terrycloth Towel
Here’s something that you might find surprising. Drying your hair with a normal terry cloth towel can actually cause a ton of serious damage! The tiny loops and threads on the towel might be absorbent, but they can also tangle and pull at your hair, especially if you use a scrubbing motion.
Instead, use microfiber towels or just grab a clean, dry t-shirt. The material is much softer and gentler on your hair. Use a patting or light squeezing motion to absorb as much water as you can, or just wrap hair up for a bit.
6. Wear Protective Styles
Going for a run, or maybe spending the day at work? Even if all you’re doing is sleeping, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of protective styles like braids and buns. These hold hair firmly into place, which prevents it from flying in the wind or rubbing up against you, your clothes, and the rest of your hair. This may help prevent splits and breakage over time.
7. Try a Hot Cut
If you already have splits and you’re due for a trim, it might be a good idea to ask your stylist for a hot scissor cut. In this treatment, the hair is trimmed using a very hot pair of special hot scissors that essentially melt the hair shaft shut at the cut point.
This might seem a little strange at first. After all, aren’t we trying to avoid damaging the hair rather than making the problem worse? In reality, it’s safer to do this than to just cut the hair and leave the cuticle open instead.
The hair shaft contains multiple layers; still, the middle is hollow. When you cut it with scissors or a blade, the inner cuticle is left open, which may raise the risk for splits. But hot scissors cauterize it shut cleanly, which re-seals the cuticle and prevents it from splitting upwards.
8. Try a Gloss Treatment
If you’re still not having any luck despite trying all of these issues, or your hair is so split that it cannot be rescued without serious cutting, there is one other option.
You can ask your stylist to try applying a gloss treatment. This creates a smooth, glossy coating over each hair strand, sealing it shut and making it more reflective. The result is smoother, softer hair that’s less likely to split further up the shaft.
Gloss can be colored or tinted, too – and it’s also far gentler than true permanent dyes. So, if you’ve been considering some color, this might be the way to go.
9. Ask About a Brazilian Blowout
A Brazilian Blowout is a treatment that applies special chemicals to the hair (usually the ends, but sometimes root to tip). Heat is then applied in the form of blow-drying and/or a flat iron, which instantly finishes the process, sealing the cuticle down.
It often produces dramatic and instant effects because of the way it seals the hair cuticle down wherever it is applied. Hair feels softer, becomes more manageable, and even becomes more durable to daily damage – including those splits.
An End to Split Ends
Curious about any of these options? Great news – help with your hair is just a telephone call away. Schedule a consultation with your stylist and find out what your dry, damaged, or split ends really need.