They say only two things in life are inevitable; death and taxes, but I'd like to add split ends into that insalubrious list too. Unless you get a haircut every four weeks, never heat style, blow dry or even brush your hair, you've probably got a split end or hundred, much like the rest of us.
You'll notice the little blighters as they look exactly as you'd expect - hairs that 'fork' at the bottom, split, fray or feather along the lengths. You'll probably need a magnifying glass or strong pair of glasses to spot the extent of the damage, but safe to say we've all got it to some extent, and not only do they look a bit unkempt and unattractive, they leave your hair vulnerable to even more damage. It's a sad little cycle all right, but never fear. I'm not going to pretend there's some magical instant cure (apart from the obvious, more on that in tip 1) but there are plenty of things you can do to help the situation, read on to discover my top 5 ways to tackle split ends.
1. Get a haircut
Yes, it's obvious, but the only way to actually get rid of split ends is to chop them off. Even if you're growing your hair, or don't fancy a new style, the tiniest trim will make your hair look so much healthier, thicker and bouncier. Every 8 weeks perfect, although many of us leave it longer. I reckon haircuts are a bit like cutting your garden lawn, you put it off and make excuses, when you finally get down to it the process is actually quite satisfying, everything looks so lovely afterwards and you wonder why you didn't do it ages before,
2. Seal with a serum
Hair serums have been sidelined a bit by oils in recent years, and while both do a good job of adding shine, only serums contain the blend of silicones and polymers that adhere to strands, creating a soft coating that temporarily seals splits back together. Dove Advanced Hair Series Regenerate Noirishment Serum-In-oil, £3.49, is a total bargain as it's the best of both worlds. The oil component (which smells lovely, FYI) deeply hydrates strands while the serum creates that nice slippy feel and barrier affect.
3. Brush well
Hopefully nobody still does the old 100s rakes before bed any more, but even the most innocent brushing habits can be trouble, pulling, breaking and pinging weak strands. When hair is wet, only use specific detangling brushes, working from end to root to gently dislodge knots. In fact, use detanglers on dry hair too (unless you're doing something specific like backcombing, but that's a whole other damage story) The absolute best, so comfy you won't ever want to use another brush again, is The Wet Brush, £11.99, which glides through hair so silkily you'll wonder if it's brushing at all (it is) No pain, no damage, it's great for kids who hate having their hair brushed too.
4. Make a mask
Hair that's well treated and in good
nick is far less likely to split in the first place. Not only are DIY
masks cost-effective and fun, taking you back to teen years, they also
strengthen hair long-term and gloss it up short term so nobody spots
those slips. Once a fortnight, grab a tablespoon of coconut oil from
your kitchen (I love Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Coconut Oil, £9)
work it into the mid length to ends of clean, damp hair, wrap up in
cling film and wait 30 minutes before double shampooing out to get rid
of any build-up leaving softer shinier hair behind.
5. Take a sup'
Nutritional problems can play a part in hair breakage and splitting, most commonly a stored iron deficiency. Trichologist Annabel Kingsley suggests "take a supplement containing Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 and increasing the amount of protein you eat - hair is made of protein and adequate intake is key to healthy hair growth." You don't have much to lose taking one little sup every day, in fact your skin and nails will probably benefit too - winner! Try Philip Kingsley PK4 Dietary Supplements, £24 for 120, at the lower end of the price scale as supplements go but packed with proteins, amino acids and nutrients. You should see a difference in 3 months.
And finally remember, beauty really does come from within! Make sure you're snacking on plenty of oily fish, nuts and green veggies for shiny, healthy hair.