Yes, split ends are a pain. They’re also very common. We asked hairstylists for their top tips to prevent and cure split ends, as well as the best way to maintain shine.
Have you ever examined your hair in the mirror, only to notice a ton of split ends? Well, you’re not alone.
Split ends are one of the most common concerns brought to hairdressers. “They occur through wear and tear,” explains Luke Hersheson, founder of Hershesons. “Naturally, your hair is exposed to the elements and they occur over time.” Damaging factors include too much heat, over-zealous brushing, harsh chemicals and pollution.
While split ends are thought to appear only at the bottom of your strands, Hersheson says this isn’t always true. “There’s a myth that it happens on the ends, but in actual fact, split ends go all the way up the hair shaft.”
Unfortunately, the only cure is to book in for a trim which isn’t currently an option – unless you’re feeling brave enough to do it yourself/employ the help of something you live with.
In the meantime though, Hersheson says split ends are actually easily preventable. “Invest in good treatments to keep hair moisturised and healthy,” he says. “Regularly coat the ends with a nourishing oil or serum to take away dryness. This gives them a slight covering, like a jacket for your hair, to protect it from getting bashed around by the elements too much.”
Simiilarly, too much heat and pollution can make hair appear dull, a sign that it’s damaged. The best way to maintain shiny hair is to be mindful of how you treat it. Larry King, founder of Larry King salon, believes most damage is caused by over- processing hair with dyes or chemical treatments, sun exposure, using heat tools, brushing it too roughly or even touching it too often during the day. “Imagine your hair is your favourite cashmere jumper or silk shirt,” he says. “Thinking more carefully about what wash cycle you put it on, how you dry it and how you store it all really helps.”
When you shower, soft water is always better, but if you live in a hard water area lowering the temperature will help. Use a gentle shampoo and try to not wash your hair too often. “After you’ve washed your hair, dry it using intelligent heat tools,” says King. “Some dryers have a built-in sensor that stop them heating above 150°C, which is the point at which hair is irreversibly damaged.”
You can also enhance shine by changing to silk pillowcases, which cause less friction, and adding a nourishing styling cream to your routine.
Another major cause of damaged hair is chemical treatments. Perms, relaxers and chemical straightening treatments are gaining popularity – Treatwell reported a 95% increase in them year-on-year – but they don’t come without risks.
If your hair displays signs of damage after chemical straightening, a protein-rich treatment every two weeks can help rebuild the structure of your strands. “Hair is made up of disulfide bonds that are broken down during the straightening and relaxing processes,” says Anthony Grant, artistic director at Jamie Stevens salon. “Each head of hair is different, but I’d expect some shedding. Protein treatments help strengthen hair during the growing-out stage.”
Perms are particularly drying, so locking in moisture when you wash your hair is key, according to Karine Jackson, founder of Karine Jackson salon. As well as your hair growing out, curls also drop over time. “If you have a tight, curly perm you can get the top re-done (when salons re-open), but you risk the rest softening,” says Jackson. “If you maintain hair with trims and treatments, you can leave six months between perms.”
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment, £34
Nexxus Humectress Encapsulate Serum, £16.66
Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, £10
Slip Silk Pillowcase, £85
Main image: Getty