There are hundreds of products on the market claiming that they repair split ends, but the unfortunate truth is that you can’t actually treat or repair split ends. Once the ends of your hair split into two, there is no going back. No leave-in treatment or super-moisture conditioner can save you. But not to worry, not all hope is lost. There is a wide variety of things that you can do and switches that you can make in your routine that can help you prevent damage to your precious strands. And the best part? They are easy to do and don’t have to break the bank. So save your money by not giving into “split-end treatment” marketing gimmicks, and do these six things instead to prevent hair damage:
1. Minimize heat styling
Frequent use of straighteners, hairdryers, and curling irons is a surefire way to cause split ends. The heat from these tools affects your hair’s ability to retain moisture, so challenge yourself to minimize your use of heat tools by experimenting with the following things: going longer in between the days you heat style your hair, trying out new hairstyles that don’t require them, using heatless curl techniques, and embracing your natural hair texture. You don’t have to put down your favorite tools altogether, but make a conscious effort to use them less frequently—and when you do use them, use a heat protectant and turn down the heat setting!
2. Use a wide-toothed comb
Compared to a normal fine-toothed comb, like the paddle brush we’ve all had since middle school, wide-toothed combs are much more gentle on our precious strands. Since there is more space between the teeth, there is less friction, making it easier to carefully detangle hair without causing breakage. If you are a wide-toothed comb newbie, know this: It will take longer to brush your hair, but it will pay off tenfold. For best results, brush your hair in small sections and start from the bottom instead of at the root.
3. Sleep with a silk pillowcase
Not only are silk pillowcases bougie as all hell, they actually have beauty benefits.
Traditional pillowcases made from cotton or polyester aren’t as gentle on your hair as silky smooth pillowcases. They often cause pulling and tangling, which can lead to breakage. Swapping your pillowcase to one made of silk (or satin) is an easy thing to do that can yield big results, so don’t wait to make the switch.
4. Use gentle hair ties
Have you ever taken your hair out of a hair tie to see a ton of sad broken strands wrapped around it? Same. I love throwing my hair up just as much as the next gal, but we all have to admit that this is one thing we know isn’t very good for our hair if we’re not careful. You don’t have to give up your favorite styles altogether, but you should switch your hair ties to ones that are more gentle. Avoid hair ties with rubber and metal, and opt for ones that are specifically labeled as gentle and/or made from soft materials like silk or velvet.
5. Incorporate hair masks into your routine
If you don’t already include a mask in your routine, now is the time to start! There are a lot of different options on the market, but you want to look for ones that are hydrating and strengthening. Most masks need to sit on your hair for 10+ minutes (and sometimes up to an hour or more!), so consider it a part of your self-care routine. Journal, meditate, go for a walk, read, or whatever your heart desires while it gets to work delivering moisture back into your strands. Afterward, you’ll feel refreshed and have healthier hair. What more could you ask for?
6. Use a microfiber hair towel
When your hair is wet, it is the most fragile and ultimately, the most prone to breakage. Wrapping your hair in a heavy terry-cloth towel post-shower can cause unnecessary stress, especially when your hair is twirled tightly into it. Switching to a smaller, lighter towel made of microfiber can reduce the tension on your strands drastically. Plus, microfiber absorbs water without causing dryness, which can help prevent frizz, tangles, and breakage.