Like losing a sock in every laundry cycle, split ends are pretty much inevitable. Usually created by heat damage, a split end occurs when the outer layer (cuticle) starts cracking and exposes its inner cortex. Once this internal structure of the hair is exposed, it becomes weak and dry, and eventually splits. To help you out in between snips (which should happen every 2 months), here are a few quick fixes to smooth frazzled ends.
Rinse with Vinegar
After every 4-5 shampoos, try an apple cider vinegar treatment. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and apply it to strands. "Apple cider vinegar helps balance the pH of the hair, which helps the cuticle lay down flat, disguising the appearance of raised ends," says celebrity hairstylist Matt Fugate.
Add in major moisture with an in-shower moisturizing treatment, which can help temporarily conceal damaged ends. Fugate loves O&M's Seven Day Miracle Mask ($35; originalmineral.com) with hydrating argan oil. “When ends are hydrated, you're less likely to notice the dry tips, which are prone to looking frizzy,” says Fugate. He also suggests using a mashed avocado on strands if you’re into DIY. For a instant treatment, apply a nourishing leave-in product like Pantene Pro-V Split End Fuser ($15; drugstore.com), which uses silicone to bind broken ends together.
Style Them Out of Sight
Straight strands are much more likely to reflect damage. Hide breakage and prevent heat damage by using a texturing spray (we like Sachajuan Ocean Mist ($28; net-a-porter.com) to create beachy waves. A messy bun or braid can also keep ends out of view.
Request a 'Dusting'
And if your tips have gotten to the point where they truly look ravaged, it's time to bring in the scissors. Afraid to lose length? Ask for your stylist for a dusting—"it basically just take off the very tip, less than a centimeter so it's just removing those straggly pieces. It has nothing to do with shaping the hair, it's only to get rid of split ends," says Fugate. It's a great way to keep hair healthy while growing it out, he adds.