Glamour May 3, 2024



Here’s Exactly How to Get Rid of Split Ends, Plus Expert-Approved Split End Treatments


Bye-bye, breakage.

If you’re sick and tired of damaged hair and wondering how to get rid of split ends, you’re not alone—and you’re in the right place. I’ve been trying to master the art of mending and preventing split ends and dry hair for what feels like forever, and I’ve finally started to figure it out, thanks to trial-and-error and a handful of trustworthy hairstylists.

If you can’t relate, know that your hair doesn’t have to look or feel damaged right now to benefit from a restorative hair care routine. Much like with skin care, prevention is key and is especially important if you heat-style or chemically treat your hair: Both are leading causes of hair breakage and damage. Below are the best split end treatments and tips from professional hairstylists to help bring your strands back to life.

The best serums for split ends

Jennifer Korab, celebrity stylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, New Jersey, suggests regularly applying a leave-in deep conditioning treatment or hair serum to the ends of your hair. “These products can help seal the hair cuticle, reduce frizz, and provide additional moisture to the damaged ends.”

Kérastase Nutritive Hydrating Split End Serum combats dehydration by flooding your ends with much needed moisture made of niacinamide and highly concentrated plant-based proteins. Word of advice: Don’t overdo it. Sanda Petrut, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, says you just need a few drops to trigger the reparative process. “Apply it after every wash onto wet or dry hair then style as desired.” Consistent application won’t only seal split ends—it’ll also prevent future damage too. Glamour contributor Mary Honkus expected this to have an oily consistency, but instead the texture feels thick and silky.

Honkus also recommends Virtue Labs Split End Serum: “A few weeks after I first started using this, people began commenting on how long and healthy my hair looked.” The blend of pea proteins, baobab seed oil, and hydrolyzed quinoa work to reinvigorate strands from the inside out, sealing any breakage and preventing new frays.

Celebrity hairstylist Jae-Manuel Cardenas raves about Shu Uemera: “This treatment is incredible for hair in need of extreme repair, as the name suggests,” he says. “If you tend to use a lot of heat or have overprocessed hair (I’m looking at you, platinum blondes), this will be transformative.” The dual-acting velvety serum combines highly reparative natural oils with antioxidant-rich Japanese rice extract to fully revive hair. One use reveals silky soft strands, a glassy finish, and of course, fresh ends.

The best split end treatments for color-treated hair

It’s no secret that coloring harms hairs’ integrity—but that isn’t going to stop many of us from dyeing it. To ward off further damage, one major key is to prevent color fading.

This Oribe Split End serum is a dual-acting treatment that minimizes breakage and fortifies strands while also preserving the color. This means you can go longer in between dye jobs.

Not Your Mother’s Tough Love Bonding line includes this miracle-working leave-in treatment. “This is one of the easiest hair products I’ve ever used,” says Honkus, who has color-treated hair. “I smooth it through my length 10 minutes before hopping in the shower. Once I rinse it out, my hair feels silky-smooth and soft, even more so than it does when I use thick hair masks.” For those who are struggling with damage from color-processing and bleaching, using this two to three times a week will revitalize and strengthen and overall minimize flyaways leading to more luscious locks.

The best hair masks for split ends

For the most part, rich hair masks are the ultimate split end menders because they’re packed with intensely moisturizing, reparative ingredients. That said, these types of formulas often require a significant chunk of time for their magic to work. If you only have a few minutes for some hair rehab, Cardenas suggests Christophe hair mask. And according to Jerome Lordet, owner of Jerome Lordet Salon in NYC, one use of the NouNou Mask will have you feeling like you have a new head of hair.

Cardenas recommends this quick and easy mask. “This works great for people on the go who only have five minutes to spare in the shower,” he says. “I love using it as a weekly treatment to seal and moisturize hair.” The star of the mask is prickly pear oil, which plumps and softens hair strands (and if you apply it close to the scalp, it can also stimulate hair growth). Paired with ceramides and vitamin F, the thick mask revamps hair to its virgin glory, even if you’ve been coloring or heat styling for years.

“This extremely nourishing mask restores hair that is frail and dull and stops breakage in its tracks,” Lordet says. Additionally, if you struggle with tangles (which happens to be a sign of damage) or limpness, this can also combat those concerns. The nutrient-rich mask can be used once a week in place of conditioner.

The best leave-in treatments for split ends

There are a ton of nourishing hair treatments and masks that can help accelerate your hair repair journey. Celebrity stylist Laurabeth Cabott swears by K18’s Molecule Repair Hair Mask for treating split ends, for example. (It’s also Glamour-editor approved.) Korab recommends Pureology Leave-In Treatment and celebrity hairstylist Kieron Justin is a fan of Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment.

“I'm obsessed with this product because it always brings hair back to life,” says Cardenas. “If I have a client who just got highlights or even simply has dry hair, I always apply this before blow-drying.” Made with the brand’s signature bonding technology, the lightweight creamy mask restores softness and shine for those with color-processed or brittle hair and only requires once-a-week usage. “A little goes a long way,” adds Cardenas. He recommends starting with less (about a half a pump) and working up to more if needed. “You can manage split ends with this mask—it helps reverse hair damage in just four minutes,” Cabott says.

“To repair split ends, I recommend using a leave-in conditioner or serum,” says Korab. This pick is also great for color-treated hair.

With more than 6,000 Amazon reviews and a rating over 4.5 stars, it’s no wonder why this is a top pick. This leave-in treatment is also great for heat damage.

The best shampoos and conditioners for split ends

Shampoos and conditioners can help to repair your hair as well. “Products that seal, gloss, and hydrate hair will be the best in disguising and managing split ends,” says Nick Stenson, professional hairstylist and founder of Nick Stenson Beauty.

“The Nick Stenson Beauty Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner is formulated with aloe vera and kukui oil that will help hydrate and leave your hair feeling like the damage has been undone,” says Stenson.

If you’re in need of a complete hair-care overhaul, pros suggest swapping out your current products with an expert-approved hair-care system. You can get everything in one go with the Nick Stenson Beauty Moisture Collection Bundle, and/or Pureology’s Korab-approved Damaged Hair Repair Hair Care Set.

If you’re looking for a single product, you can try a leave-in conditioner like this one from Redken. “I recommend this for anyone who wants to repair ends, strengthen their strands, and grow out their hair,” says Petrut. The extremely concentrated formula makes a difference after one use thanks to a unique bonding complex and citric acid, which work in tandem to reinforce and rebuild weakened strands. “Apply to clean, damp, towel-dried hair and don’t rinse it out,” adds Petrut. Whether you decide to heat style or air dry, you’ll experience softer, frizz-free results.

The best split end treatments for curly hair

Curly hair has the tendency to dry out—and the dryer the hair, the more likely you are to develop split ends. To prevent, protect, and repair hair breakage, be sure to use curly hair split end treatments that add hydration.

This specially designed split end serum revives and smooths coils with a unique CurlBond complex and guar bean paste. Together, these ingredients temporarily seal the cuticle, minimizing the look of frayed ends without leaving behind that dreaded crunchy feeling. Regular use can also improve overall hair health because the bonding technology works to stave off further damage. Pro Tip: If you’re really struggling with frizzy hair, use a wide-tooth comb to disperse this serum through your lengths to ends on wet hair.

Oftentimes, split ends won’t be your only hair concern. Other common ailments include frizz, dullness, and brittleness. And honestly, if you have split ends, these problems probably aren’t far behind. This multitasking treatment from Eva NYC addresses all of those issues for under $20. Beyond sealing split ends, the affordable, lightweight serum also minimizes breakage, reduces frizz, boosts hydration, softens, nourishes, adds shine, and smooths with just a few pumps. “When I blow-dry my hair after applying this, the results rival the body and shine I usually only get from visits to the salon,” says Honkus. “Beyond how healthy my hair feels, I also adore the scent of the potion: It smells like sugar cookies, which makes using it even more enjoyable!”

The best hair tools for split ends

Finally, you might want to upgrade your brushes, hair tools like curling irons and hair dryers, and pillow cases while you’re at it. “Always opt for professional protective heated tools with reputable brands that put lots of research into innovative ways of producing tools that are effective but protect your hair,” says Justin, pointing to GHD, Dyson, Babyliss, Harry Josh Pro Tools, and Hot Tools as a few brands he personally recommends. “My favorite tools are from GHD, as they are all set to 365 degrees to prevent any mechanical damage,” Cabott concurs. And it’s true: The best silk pillowcases have been found to help keep hair healthy too.

The best brushes for split ends

As for which brushes to use on dry and damp hair? “I love boar-bristle brushes,” Clint Dunlap, celebrity colorist and owner of Material Tampa Salon in Florida, tells Glamour. “They smooth the hair nicely and don’t get too hot like a ceramic brush would.” There are also vegan boar-bristle-like brushes, like the cult-favorite option by Dae.

Cabott suggests brushing with Sheila Stotts brushes, which are her favorite, and concludes that the combination of revamping your hair care routine products and tools is a great way to ensure healthy hair sans split ends.

What are split ends and what causes them?

First, let’s rewind and address the basics. What exactly are split ends and why are they such a bother, you ask? “Split ends are when the ends of your hair become brittle and dry and look like they are beginning to fray or ‘split,’” Dunlap tells Glamour. And once you notice them, it’s unfortunately a challenge to unsee them.

As for the causes of split ends? The most common culprits include chemical treatments and exposure (think blow-drying, heat-styling, perming, keratin treatments, bleaching, and all types of hair coloring), poor quality hair products, and infrequent hair trims. This doesn’t mean that your split ends are your, or anyone’s, fault, though, so don’t feel like you’re doing your hair a disservice. Dunlap notes that environmental elements such as the weather, sunlight, and water can and often do result in split ends of the hair as well. “Split ends are caused by normal wear and tear over time,” he says.

Translation? Damaged hair is a normal and common fact of life. But that doesn't mean pros can't teach you how to get rid of split ends on any hair type.

How to prevent split ends

When it comes to repairing split ends, treat your hair like you would your skin. “The hair is an extension of your skin—it’s important to look after it and keep it at its best health,” says Justin, who recommends implementing a strong hair care routine with professional hair care products that cleanse, condition, and deep-treat your strands. “All of these components will help to protect, prevent and promote good hair health.”

Frequent hair cuts: There are plenty of expert-approved techniques for preventing and repairing frayed ends and frizzy hair, the first of which is going for more frequent haircuts. “Trimming your hair removes the damaged ends and prevents them from traveling up the hair shaft,” Korab explains. “Make sure that you’re scheduling regular trims, every six to eight weeks. That’s a great start to preventing split ends,” says Stenson.

Shower with cold water: Atop implementing a new regimen (more on this below), there's lots you can do at home in the interim. Try tweaking your routine in more slight and subtle ways, like showering with cooler water than usual. “Much like our skin’s exposure to hot water, it can cause hair dryness,” Stenson says, “hot water can rough up your hair cuticle, which can lead you to feeling like you have more split ends.” To prevent this, Stenson suggests shampooing and conditioning with lukewarm water as opposed to super hot, then ending with a cool rinse to seal your cuticle at the end.

Use less heat: You’ll also want to minimize your hair’s exposure to heat from blow-dryers, and air-dry your hair whenever possible. “Limit the use of hot styling tools, and use them on the lowest heat setting,” suggests Korab, who reiterates the importance of using a heat protectant before styling.

Be gentle on wet hair: Another trick? Being more mindful of how you’re treating hair when it’s wet. “When your hair is wet, it’s at its most vulnerable,” Stenson says. “Hair can stretch up to 50% when it’s wet. Apply your leave-in products before combing hair, limit pulling hair up when it’s wet, and avoid sleeping with wet hair.”

How to prevent wet hair from getting damaged

Pay attention to which products, heat tools, and accessories you use on your hair while it’s wet, especially brushes and towels. “Use a wet brush or Tangle Teezer brush to prevent any further damage or snagging on the hair, since these brushes focus on detangling and protecting the hair and are less abrasive,” says Justin, who also suggests using a microfiber towel, as opposed to a standard cotton one, straight out of the shower. “Microfiber causes less friction on the hair and minimizes the tension on fragile hair,” he says, adding that standard cotton towels can lead to further breakage. Another option is to use a wide-tooth comb for detangling wet hair.

How to use heat protectants for split ends

Always use a heat protectant before styling your hair. “The Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator is great to apply before you blow-dry, and pair it with the Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek to create the dynamic duo for heat protection,” says Stenson, adding that, while these products protect up to 450°F, exceeding the 325°F-to-350°F range can be damaging to your hair.