According to celebrity hairstylists, towel drying wet hair is a no-no.

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I think we can all agree that split ends are the worst.

Nothing kills a good hair day more than realizing your tips are split in two, three, four, or more ways. And unfortunately, unless you're consistently getting your hair cut or trimmed, split ends are inevitable. However, you could be doing things that make split ends pop up more frequently and not even know it.

Here, two celebrity hairstylists break down all the things you may be doing to speed up the creation of split ends, and what you can do to protect your strands.

Things You're Doing That Make Split Ends Worse
Credit: Alina Kovalchuk/Unsplash

1. Detangling Hair the Wrong Way

The problem:

Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, so you need to be extra gentle to prevent damage and breakage. Celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend says that a mistake he sees his clients commit too often is detangling from the roots down to the tips. "They turn what would have been a few tangles into a knot by combining them, and then rip through them." 

Additionally, the tool you use to detangle could also be the reason your ends split. "If you are using a brush with rough bristles right out of the shower, your hair is going to break," says Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist, Laura Polko.

The fix:

Townsend recommends detangling from the ends and working your way up. The best tools to use for this are either a wide-tooth comb or a Wet Brush.

2. Using Too Much Heat

The problem:

"The overexposure to heat dries out the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage," explains Polko. "[Also,] if you're using a hairdryer you bought at a drugstore 10 years ago, you're probably doing this."

The fix:

Swap your hot tools for ones with multiple heat settings, like the T3 Airebrush Duo which has 15 heat and speed settings for every hair type and texture. "Using these things helps hair retain more moisture and therefore help your ends last longer," says Polko. However, if you want to hold on to your favorite tool, make sure you're using the right temperature for your hair. "I tell my clients not to go over 325 to 350 degrees at the most," adds Townsend.

3. Skipping Heat Protectant

The problem:

Some hot tools go up to 450 degrees, which can seriously damage your hair and cause hair to quickly weaken and, eventually, split.

The fix:

Townsend stresses the importance of using a heat protectant every time you use a hot tool. "It puts a layer of either panthenol or silicone in between the hair and the heat, so it really protects your hair," he says.

4. Towel-Drying Wet Hair

The problem:

"Towels have tiny loops of cotton," explains Townsend. "They're so absorbent because your hair gets caught in between them and the cotton takes all the moisture out. The reason hair gets so matted and tangled is because all those tiny little loops rip open the hair cuticle." Yikes!

The fix:

First, use your hands to press out excess water from your hair before wrapping it up in either a microfiber towel or an old T-shirt. Townsend explains that the reason microfiber tools are so good is because the cotton has a polyester coasting over it which softens the loops. Additionally, he says that the fibers are so much smaller than those of regular towels, that hair doesn't get in between them and cause those rips.

5. Picking at Split Ends

The problem:

"When you pick them, you're splitting the hair and leaving the end more fragile than it was before," says Polko. Townsend agrees that it's the worst thing you can do for your ends: "You're pulling them apart even more instead of taking care of the split end." 

The fix:

Get frequent trims for the best results, but in a pinch, use a sharp scissor to execute a quick, clean cut slightly above the split.

6. Using Shampoo the Wrong Way

The problem:

If you take the length of your hair up to your scalp and create a foam ball of your shampoo, you're shampooing your hair wrong. "Since your ends are thinner than at your root, they really don't need that much shampoo," says Townsend, adding that putting your tips into constant direct contact with it can cause your ends to dry out faster.

The fix:

Concentrate on shampooing at your scalp. "As the shampoo runs down the length of the hair, it cleanses it enough," explains Townsend.

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7. Skipping Conditioner

The problem:

Since your ends are much thinner and drier than the rest of your hair, they're in much more need of moisture. "Many clients that tell me they don't use conditioner because they fear it's going to weigh their hair down," shares Townsend, adding that if used correctly, it doesn't.

The fix:

"Even if you have very fine hair, at least the bottom three inches should have a coating of conditioner on them. You have to make sure to get moisture in there — it won't weigh hair down," he promises, and recommends the Dove Intense Repair Conditioner.

8. Going Too Long in Between Trims

The problem:

While it's a myth that getting frequent trims will make your hair grow faster, skipping them all together will make your hair shrink. Townsend explains that this happens because with time, the split end will travel up the cuticle and break off.

The fix:

Both Polko and Townsend recommend getting a trim once every three months. "Hair typically grows between a quarter-of-an-inch to half-an-inch every month. So every three months, cut off a quarter of an inch," recommends Townsend.