Photographed by Aeschleah De Martino.
Split ends are the scourge of any gal looking to grow her hair to Lady Godiva-like lengths, but we also know regular trims can be a pain. So, I'm always on the hunt for a split-end tip or two — which I found when I read Fashionista's interview with some of Brazil's top models about their hair. Except, there's a major catch with this tress trick: It involves singeing your ends with a candle.
The process, called velaterapia, involves twisting sections of hair and running an open flame along it. "They burn the hair to get rid of split ends," explains Barbara Fialho, a model who has walked in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Don't think she DIYs this at home, though; Fialho hits up a specific salon in São Paolo, called Laces and Hair Salon. The procedure apparently cauterizes the hair and helps it to maintain moisture.
That's fine and dandy, but there's one thing I can't seem to wrap my head around: This cannot be healthy for your hair. We're told from the time we get our first trim that we have to protect our tresses from heat, and this process is introducing it directly. Can't be safe, right? That's what Elizabeth Cunnane-Phillips, veteran trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in NYC, says. "While burning split ends might remove the split in the hair, you are also creating a potential vulnerability to the fiber itself, which results in weaker strands," she says. "There are a lot more effective ways to remove split ends than to burn it off. I would say, don't take the risk."
For Cunnane-Phillips, the biggest issue is that the procedure can quickly go bad. "Definitely don't try this at home," she warns. To get rid of your dead ends, Cunnane-Phillips advocates for regular trims. "Also, turn down the heat on all of your styling tools, apply a heat defender like Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Spray, and use a protecting serum."
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