Can You Really Repair Split Ends?
When you're dedicated to your hair goals, there's nothing worse than brushing through your tresses and noticing they've become dry and frayed, like the end of a tattered rope. Brittle in appearance, these are split ends, or hair strands that have splayed into two or more parts as a result of damage to the hair or excessive dryness. All Things Hair points out that there are multiple types of split ends. The most common type is known as the classic split end, where the hair frays in two at the tip. There are also incomplete split ends, where the hair doesn't completely split despite being damaged and weak; Y-split ends, where the split resembles the letter Y; and tree and feathered split ends, where your hair splits into more than two parts.
Any form of damage can lead to split ends, but the most common culprits are heat styling, chemical treatments (including bleach), sun exposure, and being too rough with your hair through reckless brushing or towel-drying. Good Housekeeping reports that even seemingly harmless actions like tying your hair with elastics and wearing tight styles, such as braids, can cause damage over time, leading to weak and split ends.
Everyone deals with split ends sooner or later, but if left unattended, these unsightly strands are the death knell on dreams of luscious locks and mermaid lengths. So, what's the first port of call to make your hair healthy again?
The way to get rid of split ends
First, the bad news. There's no way to repair ends that have already split. While other methods exist, a haircut is the only universally accepted cure for split ends. The Brazilian hair treatment velaterapia, commonly known as candle-cutting, is one variation that involves burning the split ends off with a lit candle. According to Marie Claire, this is believed to open the hair follicle, allowing a person to keep their length while removing the frayed ends. Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio undergoes the treatment and famously posted a photo of herself having her ends sizzled off to Instagram in 2015.
However, Harper's Bazaar warns that candle-cutting can cause even more damage. Speaking to the publication, hair stylist Matt Fugate said, "Anyone who is educated in the layers of the hair shaft knows that this kind of process will ruin your cuticle — your clear coat of protection — weaken your hair and expose your cortex layer to the environment." Whether via velaterapia or an old-fashioned cut, removing the splits is the only way to truly get rid of them.
If you're not ready for a trim, you can also conceal split ends using hair masks and leave-in conditioners. These won't miraculously bind the frayed ends back together again, but they can give your hair a healthier appearance. Healthline advises that you can make a DIY conditioner using ingredients like argan oil, sweet almond oil, and panthenol, which each has proven benefits on the hair.
How do you prevent split ends?
When it comes to split ends, prevention is the best course of action. According to Byrdie, this means regular trims every six to eight weeks. That might sound counter-productive if you have Rapunzel aspirations, but with frequent cuts, you can remove split ends as soon as they appear rather than letting the fray travel up the shaft. As a general rule, the longer you leave split ends unattended, the more length you'll eventually have to cut off. You can also prevent split ends by limiting your heat-styling and the temperature at which you set your tools since heat is one of the biggest culprits. Avoid steaming-hot showers for the same reason.
MindBodyGreen recommends avoiding chemical treatments as these pry open the cuticle, the hair shaft's protective layer, which makes each strand weaker. It's also important to incorporate nourishing hair masks and conditioners into your hair care routine, as hydration is your best line of defense against breakage. Finding the best mask and conditioner for you is a matter of trial and error since everyone has a different hair care routine, texture and type of hair, and budget. Regardless of what products you use, be sure to dry your hair as much as possible beforehand using a towel, as this will allow your hair to absorb the products more efficiently. While there's no miracle cure for split ends, they won't totally sabotage your hair goals if you remember to consistently practice a little TLC!
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Article written Vanessa Ella by for glam.com