No matter what kind of cut or style you’re sporting, there’s nothing that reads unhealthy hair more than a mane full of split ends. While the sensible solution may be to reach for a remedy that promises to repair these tattered, frayed strands, the real secret is preventing them from happening in the first place.
Prevention begins with your diet. After all, you are what you eat, and in no area is that connection more apparent than with your hair. According to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York, hair that is weak and more susceptible to splitting is usually a reflection of poor nutritional habits. “Low protein and low iron intakes can show up in the hair tissue rather quickly,” she says, and adds that periods of elevated stress can also result in hair that is brittle. “Three balanced meals daily with healthy snacks and good hydration are a must for healthy-hair growth-and adding protein is absolutely essential; it’s the building blocks of healthy hair.
With so many products on the market that promise to mend split ends, one truth turns the effects of these treatments upside down: You cannot permanently fix a split end. “You can smooth them by ‘pasting’ them back together again with serums and oils that stay put until you wash again, but the only way to get rid of a split end is to cut it off,” says New York celebrity hair stylist Francky L’Official, who suggests trims every month and a half to two months to maintain healthy hair. Aside from keeping a diligent schedule with your stylist, L’Official says to look for nourishing products with collagen and keratin. “Weekly deep conditioning treatments make hair less prone to breakage, too.”