We all know that too much heat isn’t good for our hair. Split ends are one of the most visible signs of damaged hair, but it’s not only a daily dose of hair straighteners or the hair dryer that cause them. Of course, the obvious solution to split ends is to head to the hairdresser, but when you’re growing your hair out, or want to avoid making expensive visits to the salon quite so frequently, it seems like split ends are just something you have to accept.
But there are some steps you can take to ward off split ends, and reduce their appearance.
DO try to identify the cause
Excessive heat or harsh chemicals (usually from hair dye) are the main culprits for split ends, but they do also occur naturally due to sun damage and wear and tear. Think about what could be damaging your hair, and if there’s anything you can do to cut down on these aggravating factors.
DON’T brush your hair when it’s wet
Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair, and it’s more likely to tangle. Brushing your hair when wet is more likely to cause breakages than doing the same when it’s dry.
DO use a wide-toothed comb, and comb ends first
Wide toothed combs are less likely to tug through your tangles, so always use one first when detangling hair. Make sure to start by combing through the ends of your hair first, then working up gradually, so that you don’t need to pull knots down the entire length of your hair.
DON’T towel dry your hair aggressively
Towel drying can be just as damaging to hair as using a hair dryer. Standard towels are coarse, so your hair can easily be weakened when towel drying your hair. If you do want to towel dry, separate your hair and attend to each section individually, carefully blotting it against the towel. Consider switching to a microfibre towel or even a t-shirt to further reduce damage.
DO be careful with hair bands
Elastic hair bands can trap and damage hair, particularly if you’re trying to pull a ponytail tight. Avoid hair bands with metal in, and if possible, cut out elastic completely. Take care when using any kind of hair accessories – make sure you’re not pulling hair any more than necessary.
DON’T be fooled by brands claiming to ‘fix’ split ends
Once split ends have appeared, the only way to remove them is to go for a trim. There are products out there that will reduce the appearance of split ends, but do your research before purchasing. Instead, look out for products that moisturise dry hair and prevent damage in the first place.
DO dial the heat down a notch
We’re not just talking about your hair dryer! Hot water can be just as damaging dry heat. If you can stand it, try using only lukewarm water to wash your hair in the shower – this’ll minimise the damage to your hair.
DON’T wash your hair everyday
Your hair becomes slightly more damaged every time you wash it, particularly if you use shampoo, conditioner, and styling products with drying ingredients in, like alcohols and sodium lauryl sulphate. Only wash your hair at most every other day.
DO use hair masks
Hair masks lock in moisture and help protect your locks. If used regularly, they can certainly slow down the appearance of split ends. When using a mask, focus your attention on the ends of your hair.
DON’T use too many ‘hold’ products
Hairspray, mousses, and gels tend to work by holding separate strands of hair together. When you come to brush out these products, the strands are torn apart again – potentially causing significant damage to your hair. Try not to use these products every day.
DO protect your hair from chlorine and salt water
It’s no surprise that chlorine and salt water dry out your hair and eventually cause split ends. Use leave-in conditioner before heading to the pool, and always use a swimming cap!
These tips will help you ward off and give you healthier, stronger hair!
But you will need to go to the hairdresser to remove split ends entirely – and you should always have your haircut significantly above your split ends, so that your hair continues to grow from healthy ends, rather than damaged ends.
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