When it comes to your hair, very few things are worse than spotting a couple (or a lot) of split ends. Not to be confused with frizzy locks and typical hair breakage, split ends are damaged strands that ultimately separate into two or more parts, according to Hairfinder.
You might’ve guessed excessively using hot tools is a major culprit, but there are many other things that cause split ends — some of which you may be doing without realizing the harsh repercussions. Read on for 10 easy ways to obliterate split ends and keep your healthy hair.
1. Use a wide-tooth comb
According to British hair expert Philip Kingsley, wet strands swell up to 30% their original size and using a harsh brush on already fragile hair is a recipe for disaster. This means it’s important to pick your comb with care. A fine-tooth comb mimics the strength of a brush so it’s in your best interest to throw yours out, stat. There’s always a risk you’ll cause some breakage, but Lauren Conrad’s site says you can minimize those odds by using these gentler combs.
2. Change the direction of your dryer
Read any beauty website and they’ll tell you to avoid using hot tools — blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners — as much as possible. But there are some occasions, like when you’ve slept in too late or it’s snowing outside, where you have to blow dry your hair. If you have the time, air dry your hair as much as possible before taking a dryer to it. When it’s time to blow out your hair, tilt your dryer at a downward angle. StyleCaster notes this minimizes the damage to your ends.
3. Get regular trims
Not to state the obvious, but one of your best defenses against those pesky split ends is visiting the salon. Not only will getting a trim prevent your current split ends from breaking even more, but you’ll also cut off any unhealthy ends that are just waiting to break. Depending on your hair texture, the frequency at which you get a trim varies from two to 12 weeks, Allure says, so we recommend you book your appointment now and consult your stylist once you’re in the chair.
4. Stay hydrated
Water is pretty much magical. Taking a nice cool shower has been linked to less breakage, but it’s also important to drink enough. Prevention says brittle strands are a telltale sign you’re not hydrating properly, so grabbing a few glasses of water can make a big difference. While we’re on the subject of what you put in your body, maintaining a healthy diet is great for your hair, too.
5. Shower every few days
Whether you want to preserve that perfect blow-out or you like to hit the snooze button, getting a shower every day isn’t always practical. And according to SheKnows, skipping the shower could actually be a good thing for your hair. Overdoing the shampoo can strip your hair of its natural moisture that helps repair your mane, which can eventually lead to more damage and split ends. To make sure your hair looks as great as it did on the first day, have a look at our rules for using dry shampoo.
6. Use a deep conditioner
Yes, incorporating a deep conditioner into your beauty ritual is just as important as it sounds. As StyleCaster points out, using a conditioner in the shower is great, but it won’t continue to nourish your hair once you’ve rinsed it out. In addition to hydrating your hair all day long, most deep conditioners provide a protective layering against heat, so this one’s especially important if you can’t seem to part ways with your straightener. When selecting your own deep conditioner, look out for hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and vitamin E.
7. Reevaluate your lather
How do you lather your hair? Do you coat it in shampoo or conditioner, pile it on top of your head, and scrub? If so, you’re doing it wrong. According to The Beauty Brains, this common shower practice poses many opportunities for split ends to form. For the best results, the site recommends you apply shampoo to your scalp and conditioner to your ends. As a bonus, you’ll end up saving lots of product.
8. Invest in quality hair ties
Your hair isn’t as strong as you think it is. Sure, it looks like it can withstand heat tools, dyes, and those extravagant ‘dos, but your hair is delicate and should be treated that way. And that means carefully picking out your hair ties. Though it sounds silly, StyleCaster says hair ties with metal are tough on strands and can lead to breakage. If you must sport a ponytail, choose ties without metal closures.
9. Make sure you’re getting enough biotin
The secret to your smooth strands may be lurking in your fridge. Both biotin and folic acid are known to help hair grow, but they can also keep split ends to a minimum. Bustle says a combo of folic acid and biotin has the power to stimulate hair growth and strengthen your mane. If your hair is stronger, it’s less likely to break or develop split ends. Just make sure you talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, and know you can get plenty of this B vitamin from foods like eggs and certain types of fish.
10. Throw away the towel
Who knew something as innocent as your shower towel could be wreaking havoc on your hair? As we mentioned before, wet hair is prone to breaking, so twisting and tying your hair with a coarse towel clearly isn’t doing your mane any favors. Instead, pat your hair dry with an old cotton T-shirt. The fabric smoother than most towels, and you’ll end up saving some space in your bathroom.