Dead Ends 101: Symptoms, Causes, and How to Prevent and Get Rid of It

Have you recently checked the ends of your hair? If you notice that your hair strands might feel rough to your touch or perhaps it’s getting harder to brush through your locks, then there’s a big chance that you have dead ends. Don’t worry though ‘cause as bad as the name may sound, there are ways in which you can actually get rid of it and allow your hair to grow healthier and stronger.

But first, let’s find out the difference between having dead ends in your hair vs. having split ends.

Filipina woman drinking coffee
Dead ends or split ends? Find out the differences between the two. Credit: Shutterstock

Before treating dead ends, it would be helpful to confirm if you have it in the first place. Dead ends can often be considered as split ends and while these two conditions are almost the same, there are certain differences that make these hair issues distinct from one another. 

So how do you know if you have dead ends in your hair? Let’s test it out using a comb. If you run a comb through your hair and you notice hair breaking in the process, then you have dead ends. If you tend to notice small bits of your hair on your clothes, it also means that it easily breaks and is a sign of dead ends. Split ends don’t necessarily break that easily. 

If you run your hands through your hair and feel a rather rough texture, then those are indicative of having dead ends. Dead ends have lost almost all of their moisture, which makes the hair’s texture similar to how the bristles of a broom might feel. On the other hand, hair with split ends can still maintain a soft texture.

Another great way to find out if you have dead ends or split ends is by checking how tangled your hair is when wet. If you try to detangle your hair after a shower and you see it all tangled up kinda like when you stretch a gum, then those are dead ends. With split ends, you should still be able to brush through wet hair easily.

While there are certain distinctions between these two, also keep in mind that split ends can be a symptom of having dead ends — but having split ends alone doesn’t mean you have dead ends already.

There are a couple of possible causes for having dead ends. More often than not, it’s caused by an overload of chemical products and chemical treatments done to your hair. These treatments can include bleaching, rebonding, hair color, and so on.

Frequent use of traditional shampoo and other hair products that contain harmful chemicals can also contribute to damaging your hair. This is because these chemicals tend to dry out your hair to the point that it loses most of its moisture. This is the point where your hair starts to become drier and rougher. 

Hair damage can only get worse from there, especially if you don’t pay close attention to letting your hair recover or in doing the necessary steps to bring back lost moisture.

We’ve listed down some of the best ways you can get rid of and prevent dead ends in your hair.

Woman getting a haircut
Get a much-needed trim to remove dead ends. Credit: Pexels

1. Get a much-needed trim

Does cutting your dead ends help hair grow healthier? Apparently, all signs point to a resounding yes. Whether you’re dealing with dead ends or split ends, most professionals would recommend getting a trim or haircut as your first line of defense. Think of trimming dead ends as getting rid of dead weight. Once you get those parts off, your hair can properly absorb all the nutrients that you get from various restorative products and remedies. If you try to moisturize your hair with your dead ends still attached, then it’s going to be such a waste because dead ends don’t have the capacity to absorb nutrients anymore.

2. Use a wide-tooth comb after applying conditioner

Is there a way on how to get rid of dead ends without cutting your hair? Let’s say you’re not so big on getting a trim just yet. Or perhaps, you’re in between trims and just need other ways to remedy dead ends while waiting for your next haircut appointment.

Yes, there are other ways you can try to save your hair without going for a trim right away. One example is by combing your hair using a wide-tooth comb after putting on conditioner. This helps in getting an even product distribution, as well as in preventing breakage since you won’t have to deal with tangles after a shower. 

For this step, we recommend using Dove Nourishing Oil Care 1 Minute Serum Conditioner. It contains serum capsules with coconut, argan, almond, and sunflower seed oils. All of these work in transforming your extra dry, rough hair strands into softer and smoother hair. Do make sure to leave it on for a good minute in order for the nutrients to be properly absorbed by your scalp.

3. Dry your hair with a microfiber towel

Another way of causing hair damage is by wrapping your wet hair in a towel and plopping it on top of your head. This might be your habit since forever, but it can actually contribute to damaging your hair and causing dead ends. We recommend going for a microfiber towel, which is known to be less damaging than your go-to cotton or terrycloth varieties. Use this to gently blot the water from your hair strands and air dry afterwards to minimize frizz and tangling.

4. Try using egg yolks + olive oil

One of the most tried and tested home remedies for dead ends is by using egg yolks and olive oil. You’ll only need 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix everything together in a bowl and apply it directly on the ends of your hair strands. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. For better results, use this restorative and moisturizing DIY mask up twice a week.

5. Use deep moisturizing shampoo + conditioner

Not so keen on putting eggs in your hair? You can easily look for a shampoo and conditioner combo that has deep moisturizing properties. All you need to do is find the pairing that best suits your hair. 

For this step, we recommend using Dove Intense Repair 1 Minute Serum Shampoo and Conditioner or TRESemmé Total Salon Repair Shampoo and Conditioner.

Dove’s combination contains keratin-infused serum capsules that nourish and repair your hair from deep within.

On the other hand, TRESemmé’s combination, as the name suggests, gives you a salon-quality treatment that can actually repair up to two year’s worth of damage, thanks to its macadamia oil and ionic complex components.

6. Use an all-natural shampoo + conditioner

Another route you can take to remedy dead ends is by going for an all-natural shampoo and conditioner. Remember, the fewer synthetic and harmful chemicals, the better it is for your hair. These hair products that are infused with natural ingredients tend to provide a host of benefits that your hair will surely thank you for.

Our top recommendation would be Love Beauty and Planet’s Coconut Oil & Ylang Ylang Hope and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, both of which are formulated with moisturizing virgin coconut oil to help repair damaged hair and strengthen it in the process as well.

7. Bring a leave-on cream wherever you go

Continue nourishing your hair even while you’re on the go by keeping a leave-on cream in your bag. This does wonders in giving your dry hair that immediate boost of shine and softness, especially if you’re always outside in high humidity. On top of that, you’re also able to provide protection for your hair against the elements on a daily basis. 

8. Apply hair treatments once a week

On top of having the right shampoo and conditioner in your arsenal to combat dead ends, you’ll also need to invest in an effective deep treatment, which you can do once a week. These at-home hair treatments work well in really penetrating your scalp to deliver that nourishment your hair needs.

Cream Silk’s Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Repair & Shine Treatment Creme even gives you the three benefits of a salon-grade keratin treatment, which include keratin relaxers to smoothen your hair, keratin serum to revive damaged hair, and keratin essence to restore your hair’s moisture.

9. Eat your way to healthier hair

Of course, we can’t forget about proper diet and bodily nourishment when it comes to taking care of our hair. Sometimes, hair products aren’t enough because your scalp and hair would also heavily rely on what you take in your body.

For this, we suggest taking a look at the types of food that deliver the nutrients that cater to healthier hair growth such as lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, iron, and other fat-soluble vitamins. These include salmon, eggs, spinach, chia seeds, pumpkin, avocado, grapes, flax seeds, yogurt, sweet potato, and many more.

Saying goodbye to dead ends in your hair may take a bit of time but all it really takes is consistency in taking care of your hair from your scalp to the tips. Doing as many of these tips and habits as possible can guarantee that your hair would grow out so much softer, smoother, and healthier.

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