How to Actually Eliminate Split Ends — Once and For All

Frizzy, brittle ends? I don't know her.

Person with a wavy bob doing a head twist
Photo: Getty Images

As the old adage goes: the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. Well, whoever came up with that line clearly wasn't paying attention to their hair. Split ends are an ironclad fact of life and a truly great equalizer of humankind. Everyone's bound to get them, no matter your hair texture, color, or length, says Annagjid "Kee" Taylor, celebrity hairstylist and mastermind behind some of Keke Palmer and Tiffany Haddish's best hairstyles.

However, since the whole split ends problem affects nearly everyone on the planet, there's an avalanche of nourishing and reparative hair care products available to ensure tresses stay healthy from root to ends — for as long as possible. Here, we consulted with a trio of experts to find out about their favorite treatments and to see what tips they could offer up to keep breakage at bay.

Keep scrolling for expert-approved ways to get rid of split ends in no time.

What are split ends?

When your hair becomes more prone to tangles, feels dry and coarse, and/or hair is breaking, chances are, you're dealing with split ends. "As your hair grows out, the further from your scalp the older the hair is. And as your hair ages, it is more prone to breaking, fraying, and unraveling," says Gregga Prothero, master stylist and founder of Gregga LA. "Think of that old iPhone charger as it gets used, you’ll notice the outer plastic may separate and unravel. Your hair behaves the exact same way. That is a split end."

How do you prevent split ends?

While there aren't a ton of ways to get rid of split ends once you have them, there are a lot of expert-approved methods to prevent them from happening in the first place. According to Taylor, "If you're not taking care of your hair, your ends will split a lot faster." So following the proper hair care regimen is key. Here's how:

Switch up your routine for the season.

Where you live plays a huge role in the type of hair care products to use — and they should all be rotated out seasonally. Winter's dry, cold air is notoriously harsh, especially on natural hair. "Lean into your natural texture and wear styles that are more protective," suggests Larry Sims, the hairstylist Gabrielle Union-Wade and Regina King have on speed dial. Summer sun can also do some damage since the sun and heat strip hair, adds Taylor. To combat the inevitable lack of moisture during both summer and winter, load up on formulas with a cocktail of extra-hydrating ingredients, like honey, rich oils, and hyaluronic acid, to keep strands resilient and strong. For fall and spring, focus on restoring and strengthening damaged and weakened hair.

Choose hydrating hair products.

"One of the major causes of split ends is dryness," Prothero tells us. "As our hair gets longer, the natural oils from our scalp don’t always distribute to the ends. So make sure to condition your ends with a hydrating conditioner." Other products in her repertoire for preventing split ends? Davines's Nourishing Keratin Sealer and Melu Hair Shield.

Be careful with wet hair.

"Another major cause [of split ends] is just plain old direct damage. You can prevent a lot of the wear and tear on hair by just being gentle with it," says Prothero. "This means not roughing up the hair by rubbing vigorously with a towel especially when it’s wet. This can damage hair cuticles causing frizz and more split ends. Instead, she recommends using a microfiber towel to blot or gently scrunch wet hair. "One thing about the hair, is it's weaker when it's wet, so you want to make sure that when you're handling wet hair, you're being as gentle as possible, no matter the hair type," adds Taylor. She swears by always using a wide-tooth comb, and never a paddle brush to detangle, working from the ends up.

Use a hair mask on the regular.

According to Sims, integrating a deep conditioning mask into your regular wash day routine is crucial for all hair types, but especially for those with naturally curly and coily hair. "Curlier hair tends to be drier in general because of the make-up of the hair strand and cuticle," says Sims, who always reaches for the Flawless by Gabrielle Union Repairing Deep Conditioning Masque.

Cool it with the hot tools.

In news that should shock no one, both Taylor and Sims are passionate about putting down the hot tools. "Excessive amounts of heat from blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons will cause ends to split faster," says Sims. Instead, he says to try air drying if you can. Taylor recommends that people with natural curls only use heat once every six months and those with straight hair, once a month.

Opt for a light hot oil treatment.

If you have thin or fine hair, try a light hot oil treatment once a week to seal moisture into the cuticle. "It rinses off not totally squeaky clean, but light enough so that fine hair doesn't feel weighed down and you still get all the nutrients and the moisture," says Sims. And speaking of oils, coating the ends of dry or wet hair with an intensely hydrating oil, like almond, argan, or jojoba will soothe and smooth out hair, while also protecting against further damage.

"Even though oils can't reverse an already split end, it will help seal the [healthy] hair and keep it nourished all the way down to the end," says Taylor. Just keep in mind that oils are potent, so start small with a pea-sized amount and apply it just to the ends, especially when using it on dry hair.

Use a leave-in.

Who doesn't love some good set-it-and-forget-it action? To get your day started, liberally spritz a moisturizing leave-in conditioner on your ends. And make sure it's packed with protective powerhouse ingredients, like proteins, fatty omegas, and oils, which you can all find in Playa's Monoi Milk. "Leave-ins are lightweight and super moisturizing," says Sims. "They're great for people who want to do blowouts, and it's also great for people that rock their hair curly and natural, kind of like wash-and-go type of girls." For oil-prone hair types, apply from mid-shaft to ends and avoid the roots to avoid a greasy-looking finish.

Choose strengthening ingredients (and treatments).

Strong hair is way less prone to breakage, and ingredients like biotin and creatine will help to build strength, says Sims. A super restorative treatment, like cult-favorite Olaplex, won't hurt either. "Our hair is basically made of a protein: keratin," explains Sims. "You really want to make sure that you're using protein-building products to essentially saturate the hair cuticle, rebuild it, and restrengthen it so that you are less likely to have those same sorts of hiccups in terms of split ends."

Rethink your wash day routine.

One of the most simple and efficient hacks to boost hydration and absorption is to shampoo and condition your hair as soon as you step into the shower. Then let the conditioner sit while you wash your body and do your thing." I'll wash my hair, condition it, leave the conditioner sitting while I wash up and then I rinse it out," says Taylor. To really maximize shower time, Taylor suggests popping a plastic shower cap over conditioned hair for the rest of your shower to activate the conditioner even more.

How to Get Rid of Split Ends

If you've invested in a healthy hair care routine, you're already 10 steps ahead in preventing split ends. However, as hair grows and ages, it will eventually split, which is why it's important to get regular trims (read: every three months). "

The main way to truly get rid of ends is to get a haircut," says Prothero. "This cuts off the frayed split ends and prevents the ends from splitting more."

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