The catch-22 of the hair world is that the more you comb, brush or use certain products to make your hair look better, the more likely it will be to break. When hair breaks at the ends, you have split ends. These splits can travel up your hair, weakening it and making it look frizzy, dry and unhealthy. One of the worst offenders is chemical treatments used to color, straighten or curl your hair.
Because chemical treatments can damage your hair, use them properly by reading and following the instructions if you use the products at home, or have a professional do the treatments for you. Wearing hair extensions and braids can cause your hair to break, creating split ends, especially if you pull them out yourself; a professional can help to keep your braids or extensions from damaging your hair. You can also cause split ends by brushing or combing your hair too much, using a fine-toothed comb on thick, curly hair or teasing your hair.
The best way to avoid split ends is to get regular haircuts. Many people who are trying to grow their hair out don’t want to cut it. But by getting regular trims, you keep your hair healthy and looking nice while you are growing it out. You only need to trim your hair slightly when you maintain it. For example, get tiny trims every four weeks, and follow with a deep-conditioning treatment, according to “Marie Claire” magazine. When you let your hair get to the point where it’s damaged, your hair stylist might recommend that you cut off the damaged hair so you can start fresh. If you’re brave, trim off your own split ends. Take small sections of your hair, and twist them in a downward motion. Split ends will stick out. Using sharp scissors, cut the split end off.
Some products on the market claim to repair split ends. According to the “Good Housekeeping” magazine website in 2010, Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested six of these products and determined that none were able to fuse hair back together once it splits. But some people claim split-end menders make their hair appear healthier.
If you have to cancel your trim appointment at the last minute, get by for a few more days by covering the split ends. For thin hair, coat a dime-sized amount of leave-in conditioner on the ends of your hair. For thick hair, apply the same amount of a hair mask on your split ends. Conditioned hair looks better.
Take steps to ensure your hair remains as healthy as possible. Don’t scratch your head, because you might damage your hair. If your head is constantly itchy, see a dermatologist. Keep your hair trimmed, and use the weakest chemical formulations possible for hair treatments. Never comb soaking wet hair, and use a flexible comb with rounded teeth. Keep hair brushing to a minimum. Minimize your use of hair accessories, and choose gentle ones. If you wear your hair in a ponytail, for example, choose a special band made for hair; never use a plain rubber band. Avoid coloring your hair more than three shades up from your natural color. If you perm or relax your hair, wait as long as possible between sessions.