Split ends are one of the most talked about hair care nuisances. Despite widely known preventive measures, split ends have a tendency to creep up and affect all hair types.

While you’ve certainly heard of cutting off split ends, some people are opting to “burn” off their split ends instead with a process called velaterapia.

Also called Brazilian hair burning, candle burning, candle cutting, and fire hair, this technique is just as it sounds: fire is methodically used to help treat your split ends.

Burning split ends may be a trendy hair care technique, but it’s intended for professional use only. Even salon hair burning can pose some serious risks, though. It’s important to weigh such risks against any potential benefits before undergoing this process.

Despite its name, burning your split ends doesn’t mean a portion of your hair is simply seared off. The idea behind using fire is to help expose the more damaged strands of hair for easier removal.

Velaterapia is a professional hair treatment. An experienced stylist will first twist your hair in small sections and expose them to candle flames for a few seconds at a time. Advocates also say that the process allows the hair follicles to better absorb any conditioning treatments your stylist applies afterward.

Purportedly, the benefit of Brazilian hair burning is that only split ends are removed. This is opposed to hair trimming that might remove large sections of your hair instead. In some cases, hair burning may appeal to people who want to remove split ends without compromising the length of their hair.

The problem with this beauty trend is the lack of clinical evidence to prove whether burning off split ends is more effective than cutting them. What’s more, the associated safety risks may not make this a viable hair care option.

Velaterapia is designed to be a professional treatment only. You should never try burning split ends at home. It’s also not safe for anyone at home to perform the treatment for you. The risk of burns outweighs any real benefit of getting rid of split ends.

The use of candle treatments for split ends can lead to burn-related risks, including:

  • searing off too much of your hair by mistake
  • the rest of your hair catching fire
  • scalp burns
  • skin burns, especially around your neck, ears, and shoulders

If your skin does get burned, stop your hair treatment immediately and place cool compresses on the affected area. Apply petroleum jelly and cover with a bandage until the skin heals. If you have significant blistering and inflammation, see your doctor right away.

Another unintended side effect is the possibility of even more split ends created from heat damage. You may also damage the hair follicles, which could make your strands dry, frizzy, and brittle.

Unfortunately, the only way to completely get rid of split ends is to cut them off. Once you’ve had a good hair trim from a professional stylist, you can focus on tried and true methods that have been proven to help prevent split ends, all without using candles.

Consider the following therapies and lifestyle changes:

  • Shampoo your roots only, and apply an ample amount of conditioner to your ends.
  • Consider washing your hair every other day to avoid drying out your hair. Use dry shampoo on your roots in between washes, if needed.
  • If your hair is on the dry side, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to your ends.
  • Take it easy with hair styling treatments, and try to wear your hair in a natural style whenever possible.
  • Limit the use of heated tools. Always apply a heat protectant to your hair before using them.
  • Avoid using tight hair ties, as these can lead to hair breakage.

It’s best to try to prevent split ends before they occur. Once you do have split ends, you may be able to decrease their appearance until your next haircut.

If your split ends continue to grow, it may be time to see your hair stylist. The amount of hair they might recommend cutting off depends on how far the sections in question have “split.”

If you’re interested in trying Brazilian hair burning, you can ask them about their experience and recommendations with this treatment measure.

To keep split ends at bay, make sure you get your hair cut every 6 to 8 weeks. You may need more frequent hair trims depending on how fast your hair grows.

It may be tempting to try candle burning for your split ends, but the risks may be too great when a simple hair trim would do. Regular cuts can help prevent split ends, but if your hair has become unmanageable, it’s time to see your stylist for advice.

Never try burning your split ends — or any other dangerous hair care technique — at home.