Split Ends, What's the Deal?

Madaline Donnelly, Allure magazine

The first time I learned about split ends, I was probably around 11. I was watching some Mary-Kate and Ashley movie where they put one of their friends' hair under a microscope in science class and-wait for it-Kelly has split ends! Despite my freshly cut, never colored, healthy 11-year-old hair, I remember thinking, My God, do I have split ends?

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Years-and many flatirons and color jobs-later, I know firsthand what the fuss is about. Split ends, or trichoptilosis, happen when your hair is exposed to so much stress that its protective layer is ripped from the hair shaft. Sounds kind of brutal, right? And while a trim is the only cure, there are things you can do to minimize split ends' occurrence and temporarily hide them. I spoke to hairstylist Matt Fugate of New York City's Sally Hershberger salon to get the scoop:

What are the main causes of split ends?
"Weather, wear and tear, and sometimes heat tools. Tearing elastics out of your hair instead of gently unwrapping your ponytail can also cause breakage. And the use of hot flatirons and curling irons can sizzle the ends, making them split."

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So what can you do about it?
"If you're not getting a trim, the next best thing is an in-salon conditioning treatment. They're more concentrated than home versions. A few good ones are Redken's Pre Art, which removes unwanted minerals from the hair that add weight, which in turn causes splitting, and Sally Hersbherger's Hyper Hydration. It's a lightweight leave-in conditioner that repairs hair back to its original strength and shine." If you're looking for an at-home treatment, I like Trésemme's Split Remedy Leave-In Conditioning Spray.

What tips do you have for hiding split ends in a pinch?
"Braids are a great way to deceive the eye [and they're having a moment!]. And messy buns or topknots can hide your ends and still create trendy looks."

See more from Allure:
The 12 Best Eye Creams
10 Hairstyles That Make You Look 10 Years Younger
The Most Flattering Makeup Colors for Brown Eyes
The 10 Most Gorgeous Hair-Color Ideas for Brunettes

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