Split ends have always been one of our biggest hair care concerns. Dry, brittle locks can become so distressed that they essentially 'break' at the ends, which results in an often frizzy appearance and a head of less healthy, happy hair in general. We know that getting regular cuts can help to prevent split ends, and get rid of any that are already existing, but what do we do when we can't get our hair cut? Here's how to look after split ends during lockdown, from prevention to treatment.
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To Trim Or Not To Trim?
"You cannot repair split ends, they can only be removed by cutting," says Creative Director of HARI's salon, Craig Taylor. Sadly, no matter what you do, the only way to truly solve the problem (rather than masking, preventing, or improving the situation, which I'll go into shortly) is to have a cut.
And while Senior Stylist Laura Swann (along with most hairdressers) recommends waiting until you can get back into a salon to get a snip, if you're really desperate, you can attempt to undergo a trim at home. You may consider roping in the help of someone you're isolating with (namely a very reliable, steady-handed friend) for this one, and I'll be honest, I don't condone trying it and wouldn't myself. But if you can't be convinced and really need to do it, head over to YouTube where there are tutorials aplenty. Good luck!
Re-Strengthen From The Inside Out
So we've established that you can't really 'get rid' of split ends unless you trim them, and that it's best to wait until you can visit your hairdresser to do this. But in the mean time, there are certain steps you can take in order to improve the look of your split ends, and to prevent them from worsening, or from creating more.
Hair health really begins from the inside out, and if you want to prevent split ends, you need to put time into making your hair strong and healthy. Dry, brittle, or damaged hair is more prone to breakage, and thus, more split ends. Make sure you are getting plenty of protein from foods like egg and meats, and up your iron supply with red meat or leafy greens. You'll also want to ensure you're keeping up with your vitamin C (think citrusy fruits), Vitamin A (orange and yellow vegetables like sweet potato), and Vitamin E (nuts) supplies.
Consider also incorporating a supplement into your diet, and one that is specifically targeted towards hair health. Swann takes Starpowa vitamin gummies, for example, which she says "are fantastic." They contain ingredients such as Biotin, Zinc, Vitamin D, all of which are handy for hair health. "My hair, skin and nails are a lot stronger; I’ve noticed a difference," she says.
Avoid Heat & Go Gently
Want to prevent more breakage? Then handle your locks with care, says Taylor. "The best way to avoid split ends is being gentle and kind to your hair." Take steps such as using natural bristle brushes, and adapt your brushing technique. "Always brush your hair from the ends, working your way up the hair to the root; this avoids ripping through tangles," recommends Taylor.
Then there's our relationship with heat; excessive use of straighteners, curlers, and hairdryers can frazzle locks, meaning it's best to avoid them as much as possible while in lockdown without access to cuts. After washing your hair, Taylor reminds us to "never vigorously rub hair with towel." Instead, invest in a soft hair towel that absorbs water, such as the ones by AQUIS (I'm genuinely obsessed with them). Then step away from the hairdryer. "Let hair naturally dry," says Swann. "Use the products you have already such as coconut oil or argan oil and leave them on as it dries."
Product, Product, Product
"Whilst on lockdown, the best way to hide split ends is by using a hair cream," says Taylor. He recommends Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom or a Hair Serum like Rahua's Amazon Legendary Oil depending on your hair type. These will smoothe the hair and hide dry, frazzled ends until you can get to a salon.
Also up your usage of bond-repairing formulas like Olaplex, as well as deeply hydrating masks to soothe the frizz and dryness born from split ends. Here are some of the best treatments to add to your basket right now:
Going deeper than most hair masks that sit on the surface of the strand, Hydrolysed Elastin penetrates the hair shaft to increase hair elasticity, while injecting a shot of moisture into the hair cuticle. This is a cult classic for a reason, and is suitable for all hair types.
This bestselling product mustn't be confused for a hair mask; it's a bond builder, designed specifically to improve broken bonds within the hair to return it to its former glory. It uses a patented active ingredient that works on a molecular level, and should be left on for at least half an hour, on damp hair, prior to washing.
Experts agree that the only way to truly get rid of split ends is to get a cut, but if there were a product that could help treat existing split ends effectively, this would be the closest thing to it. The leave-on formula is enriched with Alpha Keratin 60ku that (without getting too sciency) is a protein that hair recognises and therefore uses to bind strands together. It's a very clever little bottle of product!
Amazing when used in conjunction with the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer mask, this leave-on formula lasts for three washes, and needs to be applied to towel-fried hair. It works to strengthen damage already caused, while also creating a shield around hair that protects it against outside aggressors (think pollution, heat etc) that can cause further split ends.
Living Proof just launched three brand new hair masks in these handy tubes, and this one is best for thick or extra frizz-prone hair that needs all the extra help. It's a deep conditioner that floods hair with hydration and nourishment, and promises to result in up to 70% less breakage after just one wash. All while coming with that iconic Living Proof smell. Impressive stuff.