Split ends occur when your hair's cuticle wears down. Then it's a done deal '- you can't repair them. All you can do is tame them or trim them and vow to treat your hair better next time. Not surprisingly, though, no one seems willing to skip the routines that create split ends: coloring, straightening and daily massacres with the blow-dryer. Since we're more or less forced to live with them, what's a hairstyling woman to do? Here's what the experts advise.
To Prevent Split Ends
- Hair is more delicate and vulnerable to splitting when it's wet, so never brush wet hair. Gently comb it with a wide-tooth comb.
- Don't brush too vigorously, as tension caused by brushing promotes splitting. Instead, brush gently from crown to ends using a soft-bristled brush.
- Because the intense heat of blow-dryers and irons encourages split ends by drying the hair's cuticle, you should consider limiting your usage, or investing in an 'ionic' hair appliance like those made by Beautymax (BeautymaxUSA.com). These machines utilize electronically charged particles (ions) that bond to damp hair cells, locking in moisture.
- Sleep with silk or satin pillowcases because the smooth surface on your pillow will minimize tangling, which can lead to split ends.
- If you highlight or color your hair, you've got to be even more careful, as the chemicals cause the hair to become weaker, thus more prone to splits. Choose a product formulated for color-treated hair, such as Frederic Fekkai's Technician Shampoo for Dry, Damaged and Color-Treated Hair (available at Sephora.com).
- Wait at least two weeks between chemical treatments such as perming and coloring, which, when used one after the other, can be extremely damaging to hair.
To Cope with Split Ends
- Use a deep conditioner every other month. New York City hairstylist Les Haverty recommends you apply the conditioner and cover your head with a plastic cap. Cover the plastic cap with a hot, damp towel and leave it in for 10 minutes. Rinse hair with ice-cold water and a few lemon slices to lock in moisture.
- To soften the look of split ends, use a hydrating, leave-in conditioner, such as Hamadi shea pomade (available at Sephora.com). Creator Jamal Hammadi recommends applying a drop of the pomade to your ends and sealing it in by applying heat from a blow dryer directly onto the hair.
- To smooth the look of split ends, look for products that contain silicone, such as Tex Shine Drops (available at Mousey Brown Salon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-486-7971).
- Keep your hair trimmed at least one inch above a split end to prevent further splitting. Lacey Dagenais, stylist at Mousey Brown, recommends a trim every six to eight weeks. "Even if you're growing your hair out," she says, "keep your ends trimmed."
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