Cherie writes:

My ends are jacked. They’re crunchy, dry, and many of them split. I have to admit that I did color my hair last year, but I did my best to keep it in a healthy, strong condition. I’ve given up heat for the new year, but at times I feel like it’s too late. I’m really tempted to hack it all off and start over again, but I’ve come so far. Help!

CN Responds:

We’ve all been there. Dry, damaged ends. If your ends are split or breaking (not just dry), you should get a trim… ASAP. Not only will this aid in the overall health and appearance of your hair, and make detangling and styling easier, you’ll also feel motivated to care for your freshly trimmed ends. To prevent dryness, splits, and breakage, try the following:

1. Moisturize!- On an as needed basis (for most, every 2-4 days), apply water, the ultimate moisturizer to your ends in order to open the cuticle. Follow up with a water based leave-in, conditioner, or moisturizer- you don’t need much, just be sure to evenly distribute.

2.Seal!- Next, apply a thin layer of a natural oil or butter, such as Shea Butter or Castor, Olive, or Coconut Oil. This will seal in the moisture from the water and moisturizer.

3.Hide!- Some folks, no matter how often they complete the first two steps, still experience dry crunchy ends. Protecting the ends in styles such as buns and pin-ups, may prevent them from drying out, and help you to retain length. I’m not a protective style girl, but I notice that allowing my hair to dry in a stretched style (twists, braids, rollers) really helps it to maintain moisture. Not sure of the science behind it, but hey, if it works, it works!

4. Deep Treatments!- If you really want to see some length retention, engage in a hard core Deep Conditioning routine. My hair was at its healthiest in 2008. I applied a deep conditioning treatment (with heat) at every styling session- 2 or 3 times a week. My ends were rarely dry, and they almost never split. Favs right now are Curl Junkie Rehab, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment, and MyHoneyChild’s Olive You. All of these are incredibly moisturizing and extra slippery! I often use the Curl Junkie to complete step 1 above as well.

Immediately after a micro-trim or search & destroy session, I always follow up with a deep treatment, or the first two steps above.

Remember that even without heat and color damage, our ends are very delicate… they’re the oldest part of the hair and have been exposed to natural weathering and the wear and tear of styling. Always be mindful of your practices and how you handle your hair today, because you’ll still be feeling the effects 2 years from now!

Have tips for Cherie? Share them below!