beauty

Here are 6 ways to get rid of split ends if your hair looks and feels like a broomstick.

Raise your hands if your hair currently feels like a broomstick. Or an old hair brush. Or a hessian sack

You, friend, have split ends and you’re not alone.

If you haven’t been to the hairdressers in 1,459 years or aren’t looking after your hair all that well, split ends can make your tresses look and feel dry and damaged. Less shiny, shampoo commercial hair and more scratchy jute rug or hay bale.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help.

We asked hair and beauty experts to give us the lowdown on what are split ends, what causes them, and how to get rid of split ends.

Let’s do this.

What are split ends?

“Split ends occur the longer hair goes without having a trim because hair gets thinner it gets towards the ends, and the dryer it becomes, that’s when the hair shaft starts to split,” international hair stylist Kevin Murphy told Mamamia.

Giveaway signs include frizzy and fluffy ends that are hard to smooth out. While the only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off, fortunately there are things you can do at home (which don’t require scissors) that can at least help minimise the risk.

How to get rid of split ends.

1. Get regular trims.

First thing’s first, let’s be clear. The only way to get rid of split ends once your ends have split is to chop them off.

“Once a split end has started, if it’s not cut, it’ll keep splitting more and more up the hair shaft. Your split ends will get split ends, that’s why your hair can feel really crunchy and look like a broom,” Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell said on the You Beauty podcast (get in in your ears below).

Yes, split end creams and serums can help the appearance of split ends – more on that in a moment – but getting a haircut is really the only option if you want to get rid of your slit ends for good.

While the recommended time between trims is 12 weeks, Campbell said you can get away with four months. Using the right products will get you through in between visits.

You can also try hair dusting, which is a method where by you get hair cuts really often to avoid split ends and maintain the same style and length year-round.

If hair dusting is good enough for Meghan Markle, it’s good enough for us.

2. Use split end products.

Now we’ve established nothing can reverse the damage of a split end, here’s which products to try to make your hair look less witchy.

“There are split end sealing products that say they seal split ends – you can’t repair a split end once it’s split, but what they can do is get you through to your next trim to stop that end from splitting all the way up the hair shaft,” Campbell said.

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Murphy added, “Prevention is always better than cure. You need to look after your hair before it gets to the splitting stage. You should have a strengthening treatment and keep your hair hydrated with the right wash and rinse.”

Here are some of our favourite split end hair products:

KEVIN.MURPHY Angel Masque, $49.95.

kevin-murphy-angel-masque
Imagine: Kevin Murphy.

Schwarzkopf Extra Care Nutritive Oil Split End Fluid, $5.

schwarzkopf-oil-nutrive-split-ends-serums
Image: Woolworths.

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Miraculous Recovery Intensive Masque, $16.99.

john-frieda-frizz-ease-intensive-mask
Image: Priceline.
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ghd Advanced Split End Therapy, $36.

ghd-split-end-therapy
Image: ghd.

Macadamia Professional Deep Repair Masque, $15.99.

macadamia-deep-repair-masque
Image: Priceline.
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evo Head Mistress Cuticle Sealer, $34.

evo-head-mistress
Image: evo.

3. Split end hair mask recipes.

"Back in South America, most locals will swear by home treatments or remedies mixed up at home with anything that grows out the ground," Esstudio Galleria's Aleks Abadia told Mamamia.

Combining your favourite breakfast food with olive oil or coconut oil works a treat.

"It's a smoothing treatment that is rich in vitamin E and the oil will help smooth out the cuticle," he said.

Yes, it sounds strange, but Abadia swears by it.

"Egg and beer was a must from my grandmother. As I was growing up I remember her applying this treatment weekly, beer has yeast and hops which contain vitamin B, B6 and B12 and egg adds protein, Vitamin A and D," he swears.

Together they act to hydrate and strengthen the hair strand. We hope you're a fan of beer...

4. Leave your hair down when it's wet.

According to Murphy, those hastily put-up buns straight out of the shower aren't doing you any favours.

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"Don’t put it up when it is wet as this breaks the elasticity and can damage your hair causing it to split," he says.

This is because when your hair is wet, 50 per cent weaker than when it's dry, as ghd’s Chief Technology Officer Dr Tim Moore told Mamamia earlier this year.

"When hair is wet, hair becomes very weak. It loses its strength, it becomes half as strong as when it's dry. If you've got wet hair and you pull a brush through it or put it up, you're twice as likely to cause damage and breakage to the hair fibres. So you don't want to leave your hair in a weakness state for any length of time," he said.

"Secondly, when hair is wet, it swells like a sponge. Around the outside of each strand of hair, you have the cuticles, which are calcified cells than sit around like roof tiles. As hair absorbs water and starts swelling, it puts pressure on those cuticles and they start to break and come off, causing damage. That's why it's not a good idea to leave hair fibres in damp, wet conditions for any extended period of time."

Good to know. Here are five other tips to take on board for healthier hair, post continues after video.

Video by MMC

5. Use a heat protector product.

It's no secret regular use of hot styling tools can leave hair dry and damaged.

Dr Moore explained it's got everything to do with the 'magic numbers' at which the bonds in your hair break at.

"Anything above 200 degrees and you start to cause significant damage to the hair. The damage starts building from anything higher than 185 degrees, as those temperatures starting breaking the disulphide bonds, leading to major hair damage," he said.

"There are, however, bonds in your hair you actually want to break. The bonds you need to break to put a style into the hair are called hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen bonds are more like magnets; you can click them together and break them apart as many times as you won't and you won't get any damage [locking the style into place]. Those bonds start to break at 147 degrees for all types of human hair."

Drying your hair with a hair dryer won't really cause any damage - the average temperature of a hair dryer's low setting is between 70-80 degrees, and a maximum of 120 degrees on high. Even though your hair is weaker when it's wet, and therefore the bonds within can be broken at a lower temperature, your hair dryer will only reach a temperature high enough to break the hydrogen bonds, like when you get a blow dry in-salon.

It's when you're using heat styling tools that you really need to be careful, as some can be heated to upwards of 200 degrees. Use a heat protecting product when curling or straightening, these are our recommendations:

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evo Icon Welder Heat Protection Spray, $34.

evo-icon-welder-spray
Image: evo.

TRESemmé Heat Tamer Protective Spray, $7.99.

tresemme-heat-protective-spray
Image: Priceline.

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer Cream, $22.35.

redken-pillow-proof-blow-dry-express-treatment-primer
Image: Oz Hair and Beauty.
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ghd Heat Protect Spray, $28

ghd-style-heat-protectant-spray

Nak Heat Beat Protective Sealant, $23.95.

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Image: NAK.

6. Don't touch your split ends.

The very worst thing you can do is to pick them off. While it may give you short term gain, long term you're just asking or trouble.

"Never pull them out or pick them off, this only causes the hair to split more," says Murphy.

"Regular trims that keep the ends of your hair blunt are the best way to keep split ends at bay… if you want to keep your hair long, a trim every eight weeks and treating your hair well will leave you with beautiful, healthy hair."

You can read more about split ends and how to keep you hair healthy here:

Want more beauty stories? Visit our newsletter page and sign up to “You Beauty”  to get our beauty guru Leigh Campbell’s best tips and products every week in your inbox (see one of her newsletters here).

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