The 8 Products I Use to Keep My Hair Healthy and Protect Against Split Ends
This is part of our new weekly series called Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, as well as explore new techniques IRL.
Thanks to my Greek heritage, I have thick, wavy hair and I’ve had long hair, well past my shoulders, for most of my life. One bad haircut when I was younger (that resulted in hair about 5 inches shorter than I wanted it to be) made me never want to get rid of my long hair again. I also find that styling long hair is a lot easier because, in addition to leaving it down, I can twist it up into a bun and pull it back into a French braid without any loose hairs falling down.
Admittedly, this means I don’t get my hair cut very often. Stylists typically recommend regular trims every six to eight weeks. But I wait as long as six months or more, which leaves my ends vulnerable to damage. “Weather, temperature and exposure, blow-drying, styling, and coloring all play a role in split ends. If your hair is longer, you notice more split ends because your hair has been exposed for a longer amount of time to these elements,” says Herbal Essences celebrity hairstylist Bridget Brager.
While my split ends aren’t as super noticeable (my wavy texture hides them), my hair feels dry and gets easily tangled when I try to brush it. That’s a red flag, according to Nunzio Saviano, founder of the Nunzio Saviano Salon. “Hair starts off hydrated and healthy at the roots and then starts to become dry and brittle at the ends. Once you get to the brittle stage, you begin to have trouble combing through your hair and the hair starts to break and split,” Saviano says. That’s when you need to up your moisturize levels to keep the hair fiber sealed longer and to prevent damaged hair from getting worse. “As soon as your ends are getting dry, you really need to deep condition your hair at least once a week,” Saviano adds.
Unfortunately, the only true repair for a split end is to get it cut. If you want to attempt this at home, be sure to invest in a sharp pair of shears and focus on the split ends around your face. Brager recommends only trimming when your hair is dry, otherwise, you might cut too much off. The key to at-home trimming is to make small snips and to only do it if you’re comfortable. For further guidance, watch some step-by-step Youtube videos.
I personally don’t feel comfortable trimming my own hair, so I’ll be sticking to styling creams and products to hide split ends until I can get back into the salon. From towel-drying wet hair to styling with my favorite hot tools, hair breakage can be minimized with the right products. Here are my must-haves for keeping my hair protected from any extra damage until I can get back to see my stylist.