There are any number of causes for fuzzy, dry, frizzy ends — from split ends and single strand knots to damaged cuticles. Rough handling of hair, inadequate moisturizing, color damage and normal wearing of the cuticle can cause rough ends that make detangling seem like a nightmare and length retention an impossible task.
Whenever my ends start getting rough, I notice more wisps of hair as I handle and detangle my hair. That’s my cue to get it together, and get back to the things in my regimen that keep my ends soft, smooth, and strong like the rest of my hair.
Below is a short collection of tips to help you manage dry, frizzy, fuzzy and rough-feeling (and sometimes looking) ends — feel free to follow whichever combination of tips works for you, and add your own!
I am an avid finger detangler, but on occasion when I can feel my ends starting to get wonky, I’ll bring in the reinforcements and use a comb or detangling brush to help smooth and for lack of a better term, “straighten out” tangled and jumbled up ends. After finger detangling in small sections, take a moderately wide tooth comb like this one (teeth too wide apart defeat the purpose) or a Denman brush to smooth out the ends of your hair. This works best with hair that is saturated in regular or deep conditioner.
2. Use a smoothing deep conditioner.
Smoothing deep conditioners are typically marketed as a step in the process of blowing out and straightening the hair, thanks to the penetrating conditioning agents, smoothing polymers, and proteins. These same ingredients make a great treatment for rough and frizzy ends. You don’t have to use a separate deep conditioner or your ends, you can just treat your entire head of hair to a smoothing deep conditioning treatment every two weeks to every month to keep the problem ends at bay. Silk Elements Kera-Minerals Smoothing Conditioner, Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner, and L’Oreal Eversleek Conditioner are three great smoothing treatments under $10.
3. L-C-O/B your ends.
There’s a bunch of different acronyms to follow when it comes to retaining moisture within the hair, but I have found that the Liquid-Cream-Oil/Butter version works best. Keeping rough ends properly strengthened and moisturized is key in preventing those thin wisps of hair from ending up on your bathroom sink. When refreshing styles or prepping hair for bedtime, take a few extra steps to nurse your ends back to health. Use a liquid to hydrate your ends, but don’t soak them (preferably a spray with protein and amino acids like ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray, Infusium 23 Pro-Vitamin B5 Leave-In Treatment, or Ouidad Botanical Boost). Follow that up with your moisturizing pudding, lotion, soufflé or cream of choice (my personal picks in this are Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Pudding Souffle and Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk), and then your butter or oil of choice to seal (I like coconut oil for the summer). When maintaining the moisture on your ends, you don’t have to worry about using too much product. Just enough to lightly moisturize. These steps can be done daily, or as needed. Just don’t let your ends dry out!
This is probably my least favorite piece of advice, because I am in no way a fan of protective styling. My twists only last two days before looking a mess. My scalp psoriasis won’t allow for styles and braided updos that can have hair tucked away for weeks at a time. And personally, I think my forehead is entirely too big for regular bunning. But if you are not sensitive to any of my predicaments, then tucking the ends away for a few days or weeks at a time can help the ends of your hair recuperate. Just be sure to follow steps 2 and 3 for maintenance!
5. Get out the scissors.
Sometimes in spite of your best efforts, your ends are too far gone for conditioners and moisturizers to help. In these cases, the best thing you can do is make the decision to chop the problem ends, or gradually trim them. As I follow steps 1 – 3, I trim away at my ends on a monthly basis. My ends aren’t split and my single strand knots are few, but I aim to gradually rid myself of problematic, tangly ends. My personal timeline is three months. At the end of the day, cutting is truly the only cure — all of the other tips are suggestions for managing and preventing further damage.
Lastly — check your regimen! Make sure the products you’re using aren’t drying your ends, and you’re not handling hair too roughly. If you don’t have your regimen in check, you will find yourself repeatedly at step 5.
What are some of your methods for keeping dry ends in check?