Okay let’s get down to business. You want to grow out long, healthy hair. You want to know how to avoid split ends and everyone is telling you things like: trim your hair every 3 weeks, don’t blow dry your hair, don’t curl your hair, don’t crimp your hair, don’t straighten your hair, don’t brush your hair, don’t ever wash your hair, don’t touch your hair, don’t even LOOK at your hair or you might get a split end!
Let’s be realistic. Trimming your hair that often is a little rough on the budget and you can’t wake up in the morning and go to work or school with bed-head hurricane hair due to avoiding the shower, brushes, and blow dryers.
The truth is, using these styling tools is usually inevitable. At this point, the goal is to make sure you are taking precautions to make your ends hold up and remain stronger for longer.
So, as an avid split-end-avoider, let me show you a few of my own quick tips that you can EASILY incorporate into your daily routine to prolong the life of your delicate ends.
#1 Learn How to Work Second Day Hair Like A Pro
Of course you need to shower and be hygienic, but throwing your hair into a bun instead of washing it when you hop into the shower is perfectly fine and actually very healthy! I do this ALL of the time, no shame. Washing your hair only every other day (or every few days!) allows your body to repair hair with its own natural oils – leaving your hair silky smooth and protected. Some styles actually work better with second or even third day hair. Check out our second day hair guide to get some ideas on how to work these styles.
#2 Pick Your Brush Wisely, and Use it Correctly
#2.1 First, Pick Wisely – for daily brushing, hard bristles will tug and rip your hair apart. Instead, a cushioned paddle brush with more pliable bristles will work with your hair to detangle. For brush options other than general daily brushing, check out our hair brush guide.
#2.2 Use it Correctly – Lightly brush through your ends first. Then, slowly work your way up brushing from the midsection down, and next from your roots down. Absolutely do NOT grab your brush and yank it through your hair from root to tip on your first run through! What you have just done is instantly pushed every single little nominal crisscross, which may have been lightly sitting in your hair, down to a tangled and concentrated bunch at the ends of your hair! Now all of those knots are either being ripped apart or more harshly tugged at on your delicate ends. This is such an easy way to damage your hair, but an even easier, and less painful, situation to avoid!
#3 ONLY Shampoo Your Scalp
Do NOT bunch all of your hair up on top of your head and start scrubbing away! This rubbing and awkward bending of your hair will promote the formation of split ends. Instead, when washing your hair, work the shampoo onto your scalp and simply let the ends of your hair experience those “second hand suds” as you rinse the shampoo through your hair and away down the drain.
#4 Condition Your Ends
Make sure you use conditioner! Lather conditioner on the ends of your hair and give them a minute or two to soak up the moisture! Also, don’t completely rinse your hair dry of the conditioner. (Of course rinse most of it out – we don’t want blobs of conditioner sitting on our heads).
#5 Deep Condition
Try to use a deep conditioner about once every week or two. This will add back lost moisture – especially for those who do wash their hair every day. Depending on how often you let yourself embrace second or third day hair, you may find that you don’t need to deep condition quite as often. Nice, right?! My favorite is Sebastain Drench Deep-Moisturizing Treatment.
#6 Towel Drying - Give Your Hair a Pat Down
Do not rub your towel back and forth on your hair! As you rub, you are bending and twisting those wet, vulnerable strands around each other, in half, and many other unnatural directions! Instead, use your towel to simply squeeze and blot your hair to draw the moisture out.
#7 Remember Leave-in Conditioner
Make sure to run a leave-in conditioner through your hair and target your ends! This adds a protective layer back which has been worn away and prepares your hair for any heat styling you might do next. It also locks hydration into your hair, leaving it soft and smooth! I personally use Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Relaxing Balm. I love this product because it helps me tame my frizzies too! For a sneak peek into other heat fighting products, check out our blog about a few amazing thermal protectants!
#8 Use a Wide Tooth Comb through Wet Hair
Of course you are going to have to brush your hair when you get out of the shower if you plan to style it. However, knowing that wet hair is very vulnerable to damage, I’d suggest investing in a wide toothed comb to tame your shower-fresh hair. Instead of using a normal brush that is a bit rougher and could rip your hair apart, using a wide tooth comb will lightly glide through and loosely control your locks without causing as much breakage. Also refer back to tip 2.2 – How to use your brush correctly!
#9 Blow Drying – Determine Your Purpose
#9.1 Purpose: Blow Drying as Just Another Step in the process
If blow drying your hair is to be followed by another form of heat styling, then try to avoid direct contact with your ends as much as possible. Let your ends catch that “second hand heat” as you concentrate most drying around your roots and upper lengths of hair, which tend to hold more water after hopping out of the shower anyway.
#9.2 Purpose: Blow Drying as your Finishing Touch heat styling tool
If you are using your blow dryer as your only heat styling tool, try to avoid placing direct heat on your ends until you absolutely have to. Once the roots and upper lengths of your hair are dry, then lead the brush and blow dryer down through your ends.
#10 When Straightening, Guide Hair
When you straighten your hair you should ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS use a brush or comb as a guide! Take a brush to the area you are going to straighten and as you run the brush down your hair follow with your straightener. This aligns your hair in one direction and takes away the risk of straightening a piece of hair in a bent position – Which could instantly break it off and cause damage and split ends.
#11 When Curling, Start at Roots
Instead of starting at the ends of your hair and curling all of the way up, begin at your roots and glide hair through the curling iron as you twist up. Whereas before heat would sit on your ends for the longest amount of time, now heat will begin by being directly applied closer to the root. As the curling iron is twisted, direct heat is shifted from the root to run along the entire length of your hair it is pulled through. This helps ends only take in as much heat as they need to hold the style.
Trims are necessary at some point to control split ends, but it gets expensive to keep up with them so often! … Not to mention more than the 1 inch I ask for is always chopped off when I am trying to grow my hair out long. BUT, if you can trim your hair every 6-8 weeks, that would be amazing for the health of your ends. Otherwise, if you notice a random split end in your hair, grab a pair of scissors and take care of it right away! If you don’t it could split all the way up to your root and cause even further damage.
The threat of split ends hangs over us all. Maintaining healthy hair is difficult, especially for all of my long-haired ladies out there. The older it is, the more delicate it gets. Your luscious locks love being showered with tender loving care, so remember to give them a little each day.
Even incorporating just one of these tips into your routine will help those ends live a little longer!
For the love of hair,