12 Things You Can Do Today To Prevent Split Ends

Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Have you been natural for a while, yet feel as if your hair is just not growing? I certainly felt like this for the first five years of wearing my hair natural — I am now seven years natural, and I have started to pay more attention to the habits that prevent my hair from retaining length. The first step I took was to stop dyeing my hair. Hair dyes can make our hair fragile, brittle, and prone to dryness. Within a few months after dyeing application, you may begin to notice breakage if you use color treatment products. To retain length, I also made sure to get my split ends trimmed on a regular basis.

But remember that damaged ends cannot be permanently reversed, no matter how much you try to smooth the ends, and no matter how much product you use. Products assist with anti-breakage — in other words, maintaining healthy strands that prevent our ends from thinning out or splitting anywhere from the middle to the ends of the shaft. There are products that can help your split end stick together and decrease the rate at which it splits further, using a complex known as PEC — but none of these products will actually fix the hair permanently once the end is split. Ahead, 12 things you can do to avoid irreparable split ends.

Related: 5 Best Products To Help you Fight The Frizz In Humid Climates


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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
This seems like a given, but try to minimize daily manipulation of your hair. Things like excessive brushing or combing, or forcing hair into a hairstyle should be avoided, if possible.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
In other words, use shampoo on the scalp only, and add plenty of conditioner and leave-in conditioner on the ends of the hair.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
If you like, use a tool to detangle, and wide-tooth combs on wet hair. If you have the patience, finger detangling is your best option.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Traditional terry cloth towels will remove the much-needed moisture from your hair. Next time you shower, use an old T-shirt to dry your hair instead of a towel — you should see less frizz and dryness right away.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Instead, style your hair wet and let it air dry. If you absolutely need to use the blowdryer, turn down the heat, and blast at low temperatures.

Related: What's Your Curl Pattern?
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Styling and restyling your hair every day can lead to damage. The less hair manipulation, the less you’ll experience rapid split ends.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Learn how to effectively prevent your hair from getting sunburnt.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Stay away from accessories that have metal connectors or no elasticity. Avoid hair tools with metal edges or brushes that tug and pull against your hair.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Hair dyes, chemical treatments, and hair products with alcohol and drying agents will only aggravate any dryness in your hair. If you currently use any of these treatments, you'll find a noticeable difference when you stop.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
In order to have healthy hair strands, it's crucial to give your hair moisture and protein treatments on a 50/50 ratio. Alternate between moisture and protein treatments every time you wash your hair. I wash my hair every two weeks, so every month, I give my hair one moisture and one protein treatment.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
The best time to start preventing your hair from split ends is right after you get your hair trimmed. If you haven’t trimmed your hair in the last two months, this will be step one for you.
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Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.
Water is a natural humectant, but too much of it every day can affect the strength of the hair shaft, causing it to weaken, split or break. Hold off on the water, and watch those split ends disappear.

Next: 25 Habits For Longer Natural Hair
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