How to avoid the split ends of our hair

Five ways to keep the tips of your hair healthy.

How’s this for a beauty bummer: Some of the very things you do to make your hair look beautiful can lead to one ugly problem — split ends. Chemical treatments, including perms, relaxers, and dye, and heat damage from styling tools like blow-dryers and flat irons are two of the chief causes of trichoptilosis, or splitting of the shaft of the hair. But even seemingly less damaging habits — using a brush to detangle wet hair instead of a comb, for instance, or skipping a scheduled trim — can give your hair that unsightly frizzy-tipped appearance.

Alas, once you’ve got those brittle, frayed ends, the only cure is a trip to the salon for a trim (or, if you’re brave, a DIY session with your own pair of sharp scissors). While drugstore shelves are stocked with hair care products that claim to mend or repair split ends, they don’t offer permanent solutions to the problem. They may be able to bind the damaged ends together temporarily and make your hair look smooth, but they’re just that — a temporary fix.

So how can you avoid split ends in the first place?

Get regular trims. Many hairstylists recommend that you get a trim every six weeks in order to maintain your style and keep the ends of your hair healthy. Even if you’re trying to grow out a style, a regular trim is important because split ends can continue to split up the hair shaft and cause even more damage. Avoiding a trim today could result in the need for a more drastic cut tomorrow.

Shampoo less. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Most of us shampoo much more often than we need to! Unless your hair is super oily, try an every-other-day cleansing schedule to avoid drying out your hair.

Deep-condition your hair. Whether your hair is naturally dry or damaged from excessive heat styling, that dryness is a big contributing factor to split ends. Weekly deep-conditioning treatments can help moisturize your hair and prevent the ends from becoming brittle and breakable.

Limit your use of heat-styling tools. If your daily hair care routine has you reaching for the blow-dryer and a flat iron or curling iron, you’re doing some serious damage to your hair. If at all possible, avoid daily use of heat-styling tools. When you do use them, coat your hair first with a protective heat-styling product, and don’t use the hottest setting on your blow-dryer or flat iron.

Comb and brush your hair carefully. Brushing your hair gently before you shampoo is a great way to prevent damaging tangles in the shower. Post shampoo, use a wide-tooth comb to distribute conditioner through your wet hair. And after conditioning, always use a comb to detangle wet hair in order to prevent breakage.

Split ends aren’t just ugly; they’re proof that you’re not being good to your hair. But with these easy preventive measures, you can avoid unsightly damage and keep your hair healthy from root to tip.


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