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Is your hair looking a little worse for wear these days, no matter what you do to it? If so, you could be walking around with a head full of split ends. Split ends form when your hair's cuticles wear down and fray, which can occur if you color, curl, straighten or blow dry your hair often.
There is no way of fixing split ends for good–once the ends split, the only way you can really get rid of them is by cutting them off. If you can’t visit the hair salon right away, there are some treatments you can try, short of a trim, to help improve the appearance of your hair.
Since swearing off all chemical processes or heat styling is a sacrifice most women aren’t prepared to make, here are some tips to help prevent and treat split ends.
How to Prevent Split Ends
Your mom was right—hair is more fragile when it’s wet. Instead of brushing, gently comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb. Being too rough with your hair leaves it vulnerable to damage.
Blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons can damage your hair with their intense heat. Let your hair dry naturally as much as possible, and limit the use of heat by working with your hair’s natural texture instead of trying to change it.
Toss your cotton pillowcase and upgrade to a satin or silk one instead. The smooth fabric will help to minimize tangling, making it easier to brush in the morning and reducing the risk of split ends.
Chemical processes like coloring, highlighting or perming weaken the structure of your hair, leaving it vulnerable to damage. Lessen the risk by waiting a week or two between coloring and perming, and use products formulated especially for color-treated hair--these contain fewer harsh detergents that could further damage your hair.
Condition your hair every time you wash it, and use a deep conditioner at least once a month. Use a leave-in conditioner on the ends of your hair for added moisture and protection.
Get your hair trimmed regularly (every 6 to 8 weeks is ideal) to keep damage to a minimum.