David Oldham

The definitive guide to banishing split ends for good

So long, split ends!

10 Apr 2018

Is there any greater feeling than strutting out of the salon with a bouncy, split end-free hairstyle? We'll wait...

But if you don't have the time, money or inclination to get your hair chopped on the regular, preventing and treating split ends can be a battle.

Luckily for you, we've called on Steve Robinson, Art Director at Electric Hair Group, to share his definitive guide to split ends... and how you can banish them, fast.

Is there a particular technique we should be adopting when blow-drying hair to avoid making split ends worse?

Let's start from the beginning, delving into what exactly split ends are and how the first steps in our haircare routine can affect them.

Split ends - or trichoptilosis - are the splitting or fraying of the hair shaft. Rough drying hair still means applying heat so, if you really want to protect the hair and avoid split ends, Steve recommends air drying up to 50-80% dry and then using the hairdryer to create shape and smooth the cuticles.

"Make sure you apply a good moisturising cream if air drying to reduce frizz," he said. "It’s also really important to understand how to blow-dry properly. You should never touch the nozzle to the hair directly and actually position it just above the hair and brush."

Does the way we brush our hair when wet make a difference? Is a wide-tooth comb better?

Steve says it’s always good to start with a wide-tooth comb, adding that it's also important to start at the bottom of the hair and work your way up, otherwise you’re just dragging the knots into one place. "There is no harm in splitting your hair into sections and taking your time. The hair is most flexible and vulnerable when wet so you don’t need to add pressure to it and brush vigorously," he said.

Can cranking up the temperature of styling tools and straighteners contribute to split ends?

"Any hair tool over 180 degrees will de-keratinise the hair," says Steve. "Healthy hair contains keratin, which dissipates once heated over 200 degrees. Once this process happens, it’s impossible to replace the keratin." Steve also says it’s a huge myth that the hotter the tool, the better and longer lasting your blow-dry or curl. "Hair reaches optimum mould-ability at 180 degrees so anything more, you’re just over heating and damaging the hair," he added.

Even though we can't repair split ends, are there any hair products or treatments you'd recommend to make them appear less fluffy and obvious?

Steve says that keratin treatments are great. He recommends Kerasilk by Kerastase, why? Because where the keratin is missing, keratin molecules will pack out the hair shaft and once locked with heat, will last for a good few months. "This, however, is just a temporary solution and regular trims at the salon are essential," he said.

If you’re scared to lose your length (aren't we all?!), you can visit your hairdresser more regularly for smaller trims. Hair stylists can cut cleverly by working in minimal layering, a technique that makes the hair appear long but cuts out the bulk of split ends.

"I wouldn’t recommend picking at your split ends, but if you did, you could work out how much of the length actually needs to come off," suggests Steve. "If you split apart the hair, the point where it stops splitting is where the hair becomes strong again and is a good indication of where the weak hair ends and strong hair begins."

Split ends, be gone!