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10 ways to avoid split ends like the plague

If, no matter how hard you try and how much TLC you give to your thirsty tresses, your ends just keep on splitting, this is a post you’ll want to read. For those of us who use straighteners and curling irons on the daily and spend the extra hours trying to shield our hair with all the right products, it can still seem like the battle of the split end is one that we will never win.

But when desperate times call for desperate measures, spending more money on yet another expensive product isn’t likely to do the trick. Instead, it can help to address the preventative aspect of hair care — by taking a closer look at how you handle your daily styling routine.

Avoiding split ends might come down to fixing these common styling mistakes:

1. Learn to work second-day hair

I am 100 percent positive that the importance of hygiene can go unsaid. Of course we want you to shower! But, sometimes tossing your hair in a bun on top of your head and just hopping in for a quick body shower is perfectly fine and actually very healthy! Washing hair every other day allows the body to repair hair with its own natural oils — leaving your hair silky, smooth and protected. You might even be surprised to find that some styles will work better with second- or even third-day hair.

More: What would happen if you quit shampoo

Erika McKellar and Elisa Hills, co-founders of a line for damaged hair, BLNDN, couldn’t agree more, saying, “Stop washing so much! Just stop. Over-washing = over-drying. It’s a hard habit to break, but once you incorporate a great dry shampoo into your routine, your hair will stop producing so many oils that are stripped away due to washing. When you do finally wash, replenish. Treat your hair to some antioxidants and emollients. Replace those nutrients lost due to harsh sun exposure, the air and styling. Your hair will thank you for it.”

2. Brush wisely and correctly

First, pick the type of brush you use wisely — for daily brushing, choose a cushioned paddle brush with flexible bristles. This will work with your hair to detangle with ease. Be careful — hard plastic brushes and bristles will tug and rip your hair apart if used for normal daily brushing on knotted hair. Next, use it correctly — absolutely do not pick up your brush and tug it down your hair from root to tip on your first pass through! Doing this will instantly push every nominal crisscross down into a tangled clump at the ends of your hair!

Now your delicate ends are forced to take on the heat of a brush yanking through thick, concentrated knots. This is an incredibly easy way to damage hair! Instead, work from end to root. Carefully brush through your ends first, then slowly work up to the midsection. In a final stroke, you can pull your brush through the entire length of your hair.

3. Shampoo only your scalp

Do not clump all of your hair into a big pile on top of your head and begin to scrub. This unnatural bending and rubbing of your hair will aid the development of split ends. Instead, let hair hang down normally and simply lather shampoo onto your scalp, then let the ends of your hair experience the “second hand suds” as you rinse the shampoo through your hair and away down the drain.

More: 9 tricks to make your hair look clean when it’s not

You’ll be hearing this a lot from the hair care pros, but McKellar and Hills urge us to keep it simple to keep hair healthy and intact, “You need four to five essential things. Less is more, and you are more likely to keep up if you have less: one gentle cleanser, one replenishing conditioner, one lightweight leave-in conditioner, one dry shampoo and one deep mask. We obviously love BLNDN for its damage reversing and treatment properties.” They continue, “Healthy hair is soft and lustrous. Use a shampoo or cleanser that is paraben-free. Shy away from sulfates as much as possible, as those suds are drying to the hair. Instead, use something that is gentle and lightly cleansing. Natural ingredients and emollients are expensive and hard to extract but worth every penny if it means you have radiant, healthy hair.”

4. Condition your ends

Always use conditioner! Be sure to apply conditioner directly to the ends of your hair, and then give it a couple of minutes to soak in. When you rinse your hair, don’t completely rinse it dry of the conditioner. (Of course rinse most of it out — we don’t want so much left that hair has a greasy feel.)

As McKellar and Hills just explained, regular product use is non-negotiable if you want to keep ends from splitting, especially when it comes to styling with heat (more on that later). “Always use product! When heat styling make sure to use a thermal protectant. When air drying, using a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing oil will help nourish your hair and also create a barrier to protect it from the elements,” says Senior Stylist Jill Franchi at Pyara Spa & Salon.

5. Towel drying

Do not scrub and rub a towel every which way on and through your hair! Those wet and vulnerable hairs are then forced to crease and twist in many unnatural directions, thus promoting more breakage. Instead, wrap a towel around hair and simply squeeze different areas to draw moisture out.

Next Up: Wide-tooth combs with wet hair

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