Split ends occur when the bottom tips of hair become dry and damaged and split in half vertically. Once it occurs, there is nothing you can do to mend them back together. While cutting them off is the only way to get rid of them, you can prevent split ends by keeping your hair healthy. This means regular maintenance and minimal exposure to heat.
Cutting and Regular Trims
Once split ends occur, you can only “repair” them by snipping them off. Have your hairdresser take care of them since home scissors are usually not as sharp as professional shears (dull blades can exacerbate the problem). When getting rid of split ends, you may need to cut off more than you would normally. Aim for an inch or two above the top of the ends to ensure healthy hair at your tips. Regular trims — every six to eight weeks — will keep your hair fresh, minimizing your risk of split ends. You don’t have to cut off as much during follow-up trims — sometimes a quarter inch is sufficient to keep hair tidy.
Reduce Heat, Keep It Moisturized
Dryness is the main culprit when it comes to split ends. This is especially true during colder winter months, when the air drains strands of needed moisture. To reduce dryness, refrain from using heat treatments if possible, such as blow-drying and straightening. Regular deep conditioning treatments is a must. Beauty editors at “Cosmopolitan” also recommend using a protein-based treatment cream on hair to help keep it nourished, as it temporarily seals in moisture. Fine hair and hair that has been colored or permed are especially susceptible to dryness, so choose products that target your specific type of hair.
References and ResourcesLauren Conrad: Beauty 911 - How to Avoid Split Ends
Seventeen Magazine: Getting Rid of Split Ends
Cosmopolitan: 9 Ways to Keep Your Hair Healthy