Although your hair is strong, it can be vulnerable to damage from daily wear and tear. The ends of your hair, which are also the oldest part of the hair shaft, can weaken and lose their protective layer. According to research, this can cause the hair to split, exposing the inner cortex.

Several factors can contribute to split ends. Some of the most common include:

  • chemical processing, like perms and coloring
  • heat treatments
  • forcefully combing or brushing your hair

Split ends are a common hair complaint, but there are ways to keep your hair healthy and prevent split ends from happening. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Unfortunately, you can’t treat or repair split ends. So once the ends of your hair become damaged or frayed, the only way to get rid of them is to cut them off.

That’s why prevention is key to keeping your hair healthy and free of split ends. Although you may not be able to avoid split ends completely, you may be able to limit how often they develop.

Let’s look at seven tips and techniques that may help prevent split ends.

Wet hair is vulnerable to damage, so it’s important to care for your tresses gently after shampooing and conditioning.

Some people have a habit of rubbing their hair dry with a towel, but this can damage it. Frequent rubbing can cause hair breakage. It can also damage your hair cuticles, resulting in split ends or frizziness.

Instead of rubbing your hair dry, blot it dry with a towel to avoid breakage and damage.

Tangled hair, whether wet or dry, can be difficult to comb or brush. So always detangle your hair before drying, brushing, or styling.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a wide-tooth comb. The wider tooth allows the comb to glide through your hair without damaging the ends or causing breakage.

Keeping your locks moisturized is also key to preventing split ends. Dryness can weaken hair, especially at the ends, and this can cause damage and split ends.

To add moisture to your hair, consider using a weekly hair mask. A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment that can infuse your hair with moisture and reduce frizziness and dryness. A mask can also reduce the risk of hair damage, resulting in softer, shinier hair.

The products in a hair mask are usually more concentrated than those you’d find in an instant conditioner. Also, the mask stays on your hair for longer — anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, or even overnight.

You can buy a ready-made hair mask or make your own using ingredients like:

Using heated appliances on your hair, especially on a daily basis, can dry it out and change the structure of your hair proteins.

If possible, let your hair air dry after washing, and then style it without using a curling iron, flat iron, or blow-dryer.

If you do need to use heated appliances, try to turn down the heat setting. You can also apply a heat protectant product before blow-drying or styling to avoid heat damage.

Your hair doesn’t need 100 brush strokes a day. That’s a myth. In fact, brushing your hair too much can cause damage, including breakage and split ends.

Instead, only brush your hair to style it or make it look neater. Avoid pulling or tugging on your hair as you brush or comb it, and use a detangling product if you need to get rid of knots.

Protecting your hair at night can also prevent split ends. Rather than sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction.

Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase allows your hair to glide over the pillow. Having less friction between the pillowcase and your hair may help prevent hair damage and breakage.

Another option is to wear a silk scarf at night to protect your hair.

Chemical treatments like coloring, perming, or relaxing your hair can take their toll, especially if you have more than one treatment at a time.

You can take some steps to lower the chances of hair damage, breakage, and split ends:

  • Add more time between treatments. If possible, try to go 8 to 10 weeks between touch-up treatments.
  • Only get one type of chemical treatment at a time. If you need more than one type of treatment, the AAD suggests relaxing or perming your hair first. If you also wish to color your hair, wait 2 weeks before getting it done.
  • Apply a hair mask once a week or use instant conditioner each time you wash your hair.

If you want to purchase a wide-tooth comb, a ready-made hair mask, or a satin scarf to protect your hair and prevent split ends, here are some recommendations:

Hair products

  • HYOUJIN White Wide-Tooth Comb Detangling Hair Brush. This detangling wide-tooth comb is easy to grip and great for gently detangling hair that’s wet or dry. Find it online.
  • Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing Hair Mask for Dry, Damaged Hair. This gentle formula contains ingredients that help strengthen and repair damaged hair, and also restore hydration. Find it online.
  • Blulu Two Pieces Satin Head Scarf. This sleeping bonnet is lightweight, comfortable, and designed to reduce friction. Find it online.
Healthline

Even though there’s no way to repair split ends, you can make the damage less noticeable. One option is to apply coconut oil, almond oil, or another type of moisturizer to the ends of your hair. These products not only add shine but also smooth your hair, which helps conceal split ends.

Another option is to choose hairstyles that hide your ends. You can try styling your hair in a low or high bun or wearing hair extensions.

Keep in mind that split ends can progress and split up the hair shaft. So you’ll have to trim or cut off damaged hair to prevent further damage.

There’s no remedy for split ends once you have them — the only option is to trim them off. That’s why prevention is key to keeping your hair free of split ends and breakage.

Keeping your hair well-nourished and avoiding certain habits can go a long way toward improving the overall health and appearance of your hair.