On a good day, your hair is glossy, styled to perfection, and your hair color is bright and even, complementing your makeup perfectly—but what is happening at the ends of your mane? After one too many sessions with your blow dryer or going too long between trims, those dreaded split ends start to take a toll on your mane—and due to salons shuttering their doors for months, there’s a strong chance you’re dealing with them yourself.
Split ends happen, but they don’t have to ruin your hair. There’s no miracle way to fuse your ends back together (trust us, we asked), but there are plenty of strategies for minimizing damage to your hair in the future. Wondering when to save (and when to chop) split ends? We tapped Ruche Roche, Pureology global artistic director, to break down everything you need to know about fixing, preventing, and caring for split ends between salon appointments.
Why do split ends happen?
All things might be fair in love and war, but when it comes to hair, rough treatment that just won’t cut it. Your strands are incredibly delicate, particularly when it comes to heat.
When Roche sees regular clients in her chair with noticeably split ends, she attempts to address the root of the problem before ever touching her scissors. In other words: How are you doing this to your hair?
By the time you notice crunchy ends, it’s too late to fix the problem. According to Roche, the best thing you can do is start fresh, planning a hair care routine that hydrates and nourishes your strands instead of breaking them down.
Oh, and always make sure you’re using a heat protectant. No excuses!
“Always use a thermal protector—[Pureology’s] Colour Fanatic is perfect—prior to blow-drying,” Roche reminds us. “This will protect your ends from the heat.”
To ensure you’re guarding your hair against split ends, pros always recommend treating your strands like they’re a delicate fabric. You wouldn’t throw your favorite silk shirt in the washer on hot, so take the same pains with your hair. Instead of rubbing your hair with a towel after showering, gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair before patting it with a towel.
Photo Credit: @sita_zoroa.
How do I stop getting split ends?
Here comes the fun part: picking out new products and steps to add to your daily routine. Roche’s primary concern is making sure your hair is being cared for properly. That means a focus on hydration, strength, and heat protection.
However, products are only one piece of the hair care puzzle. You’ll also want to rethink your styling and maintenance routine.
“To prevent split ends, you should get regular trims, Roche says. “Use the correct hair care products for optimal health and strength, and use the proper type of brush or comb to gently detangle and style.”
Pro tip: Brush in small strokes from your ends up the shaft of the hair. That way, you’ll detangle any knots without yanking on the full strand. We’d also recommend sleeping with your hair in a bun or braid at night, which can protect the ends of your mane from friction-based damage.
Still feeling like breakage is getting you down? It might be time to trade your cotton pillowcase for a satin or silk version. The smooth surface helps ensure less snagging as you move your head in your sleep, which can result in less frizz and breakage. We’d also recommend swapping your elastic hairband for a ribbon, a cord version, or a scrunchie.
Can you actually repair split ends?
Roche only has one answer for you.
“Once a hair is split, it is split,” she says. “The only way to fix it is to cut the end to make it blunt and fresh again...If you are preserving the length, ask for just a trim—that should get rid of most of [the split ends].”
Of course, any woman who’s ever gotten her hair cut can tell you it’s not as simple as whacking off the extra inches. Growth takes time, so many of us are unwilling to part from our length for something that’s as unsexy as healthy hair. Still, Roche says even a light trim will save your mane from most of the damage.
“If you are growing your hair out, get a one-eighth-inch trim every six weeks,” she adds.
Looking for a temporary fix that doesn’t involve shears? Roche is a big fan of Pureology’s Strength Cure Split End Salve, a leave-in treatment that reduces the look of split ends, as well as the brand’s Strength Cure Fabulous Lengths heat protectant serum.
What’s more, Roche’s cocktail of products is an excellent choice for blowout addicts.
“Always apply Fabulous Lengths throughout the strands and at the ends...as well as the Split End Salve on the ends prior to blow drying,” the stylist says. “Although the salve does not repair or get rid of the split ends, it cosmetically smooths them and prevents hair from splitting further.”
If you’re feeling at a loss when trying to piece together a new hair care routine, don’t forget to use your stylist as the ultimate resource. When you’re honest about your concerns, budget, and skill level, he or she can customize an appointment and care routine to fit your lifestyle.
Photo Credit: @meltedbymadib.
Can coconut oil prevent split ends?
Coconut oil has so many proven benefits for hair—one of the biggest being its moisturizing properties. If your split ends pop up as a result of dryness and damage, adding a coconut oil-infused product into your routine can help fight them off. Try a leave-in conditioner formulated with coconut oil like Mizani 25 Miracle Milk.
Photo Credit: @salvatore_riccardi_hd.
How do you fix split ends overnight?
You can’t flip the switch on split ends and make them disappear overnight. You can, however, add a nourishing overnight mask to your routine once a week to keep your strands hydrated and prevent split ends before they happen. We recommend Biolage 3 Butter Control System Overnight Hair Mask. This formula features a blend of cupuacu, shea, and murumuru butters that nourish hair while helping to prevent frizz, without leaving residue on your pillow.
Still looking for more product picks than can address split ends? We’ve got you covered with these favorites from the L’Oréal portfolio of products.
The Best Products For Caring For Split Ends
Redken Extreme Length Shampoo With Biotin
If your goal is to grow longer, stronger hair, Redken Extreme Length Shampoo with Biotin is a must-have. When used as a full system with Extreme Length Conditioner and Extreme Length Leave-In Treatment, this strengthening formula helps reduce breakage by 81 percent to help it grow longer and healthier.
Redken Extreme Length Shampoo With Biotin, $22.50 MSRP
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Split Ends Hair Treatment
Those high hot tool temperatures can do a number on your mane. Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Split Ends Hair Treatment strengthens and fortifies hair to reduce breakage, split ends, and mechanical damage from brushing while providing heat protection.
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Split Ends Hair Treatment, $22.00 MSRP
Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond Shampoo
On the road to fixing your bleached, over-processed hair? Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond Shampoo should be the first step in your routine. When used as a three-step routine with Total Results The Re-Bond Pre-Conditioner and Total Results The Re-Bond Conditioner, over processed hair is left with strength, smoothness, and manageability.
Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond Shampoo, $14.00 MSRP
Kérastase Genesis Defense Thermique Fortifying Blow-Dry Fluid
Not ready to give up heat styling just yet? We totally get it! If you’re dealing with major breakage or hair fall, however, begin your blowout with a few spritzes of Kérastase Genesis Defense Thermique Fortifying Blow-Dry Fluid. This formula protects against heat, detangles, hydrates, helps prevent split ends, and prevents hair fall due to breakage from brushing.
Kérastase Genesis Defense Thermique Fortifying Blow-Dry Fluid, $37.00 MSRP
Mizani Edge Taming Gel
If your hair is fragile, you’re in dire need of Mizani’s Edge Taming Gel. The formula—which is mineral oil and petrolatum free—can help temporary seal the ends of your split hairs together. We also love this one for artfully manipulating your edges, giving curlicues and looped designs a try.
Mizani Edge Taming Gel, $18.00 MSRP
L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Hair Masque
Hair that’s splitting needs a ton of TLC. That’s why we recommend adding a weekly hair mask like L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Hair Masque to your routine. This lightweight hair mask instantly nourishes and restores weakened hair, leaving it shinier and softer.
L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Hair Masque, $40.00 MSRP