Is It Possible To Maintain Hair Length While Ridding Yourself Of Split Ends?

We've all heard that split ends are the death knell on our Rapunzel dreams. Your hairdresser may have told you that once your ends start to break, the only way to deal with them is to snip them off. Unfortunately, this isn't a ploy to get you in the salon for more frequent trims — split ends really do need to be cut off.


There are lots of ways to prevent split ends before they form and ward off breakage, but once those ends start to fray, there's no going back. If you don't get your split ends cut, the damage will only continue to travel up the shaft (via NaturAll Club). Split ends can also catch on to your healthy ends and tangle with them, leading to more split ends and more damage. So while putting off those frequent trims can maintain your hair length in the long run, ultimately you're just increasing the amount that will need to be cut off when you do get to the salon.

If keeping your length now is your primary goal, there are a few things you can do. It is possible to tackle split ends specifically without losing as much length with the controversial hair treatment known as velaterapia, however experts are undecided as to whether this is a healthy option. Otherwise, your best plan of attack is to conceal the split ends you do have and prevent more from appearing.



Velaterapia is a Brazilian hair treatment that claims to get rid of split ends without taking off too much length.

"It's more effective than a normal haircut when [the] client wants to keep hair length and [cut] only off the split ends," Fernanda Lacerda of the Maria Bonita Salon in Soho told Marie Claire. "With the hair twisted, only the split ends are burned off, so pretty much all length is kept." This treatment works by first twisting the hair in small sections so the split ends sprout out from the rest of the hair. Then a lit candle is moved along each section, with the flame brought close enough to burn off those broken ends.


While the treatment is finished with a deep-condition to restore moisture, not all hair experts are convinced that this should be your go-to split end solution.

"This is the worst idea ever," hairstylist Matt Fugate of Sally Hershberger Salon told Harper's Bazaar. "Anyone who is educated in the layers of the hair shaft knows that this kind of process will ruin your cuticle — your clear coat of protection — weaken your hair and expose your cortex layer to the environment."

If you do want to try velaterapia on your split ends, be sure to find a salon that specializes in this treatment. Otherwise, your next best bet is to conceal your breakage.

Conceal with moisturizing products

There are loads of products on the market that claim to repair split ends. While some of these treatments and serums are mighty tempting, the truth is you can't re-bond a hair that has split apart. Think of split ends like the nursery rhyme figure Humpty Dumpty — not even all the king's horses and all the king's men (or all the serums and all the conditioners) will be able to put your ends together again. But you can conceal the visibility of those split ends by using these products.


Writing for Adore Beauty, ex-hairdresser Millie Porter confirmed that split-end treatments can "hold the split ends together" even though they won't be able to fuse them together for the long-term. Look out for products like deep-conditioning hair masks, as these will get your hair in the best possible condition and reduce the appearance of broken fly-aways.

If you'd prefer to opt for DIY or natural ingredients to add some moisture to your locks, Healthline recommends argan oil and sweet almond oil rubbed directly into your frayed ends.

Avoid heat-styling

The more you use heat-styling, the more dry and frazzled your split ends will become. You'll also likely create more this way, which will only increase the amount of hair you'll eventually need to cut off. Dyson explains that heat damages hair by altering the shape of the keratin strands and reducing its elasticity. So while there are ways to reduce the amount of damage your heat-styling is causing, the best course of action when you're already struggling with split ends is turning to air-drying.


For those occasions where you have to heat-style, make sure that you're using a good quality tool. Opt for an iron with an adjustable heat setting, as you won't need more than 300 to 380 degrees Fahrenheit to style fine to medium hair (via Prose). Also look for tools that use ceramic plates, as these distribute heat evenly so you won't get sections of the iron that burn your hair.

Additionally, always protect your hair before heat-styling with a heat-protectant spray. Keep up your regular conditioning and avoid using heat on damp hair unless the tool has been specifically designed to do so (like the Dyson Airstrait).

Avoid bleaching

If you love your blond hair and were looking forward to another decade of bleaching to maintain it, we have some bad news. All permanent and semi-permanent hair color causes a little damage to your hair, but bleaching is the worst of the worst as far as damage goes. According to WebMD, bleaching causes 15 to 20% of the hair's protein strands to break, which leads to brittle hair that is prone to splitting.


Bleaching also tends to leave the hair feeling dry and coarse, so if this is your hair type naturally, and you're dealing with split ends, bleach is just going to make everything even more brittle. If you don't want to cut off your ends, then stopping the bleach will reduce their visibility and also reduce future breakage. You may also want to stop coloring your hair in general in order to make it as healthy as possible until you cut your breakage off, per Pantene.

Give your hair some TLC

Along with using moisturizing treatments and products that will hold your split ends together temporarily, show your hair some extra love when it comes to your daily habits. The key is to get it looking and feeling as healthy as possible to avoid more split ends from forming and also to disguise the breakage that you already have (which always looks worse when your hair is dry).


One of the best things you can do to show love to your hair is switching your cotton pillowcase to a satin one. Cotton will cause your hair to tangle through the night, while satin is smooth against the hair and thus doesn't cause the same friction, per BeBeautiful. Additionally, you can sleep in a satin nightcap.

You'd be surprised how much damage you can cause by combing your hair too roughly. Try to avoid combing it when it's wet, as this is when your hair is the most prone to breakage. Take a wide-toothed comb and start with the knots at the bottom of your hair first, then work your way up. Move gently and be patient — don't tug at the knots! Also switch your regular bath towel for a microfiber towel to wrap your hair when you get out of the shower. Regular bath towels absorb too much water and strip that hydration from your hair, while microfiber towels are smoother, cause less friction, and leave more moisture in your hair (via Turbie Twist).


Use hair extensions to fake length

If you want the best of both worlds — hair length and hair health — and your hair is full of split ends, hair extensions may be your answer. 

There are endless varieties of extensions to choose from, but you'll want to make sure that the option you go with is still healthy for your hair and also ethically sourced. The safest type of hair extensions are clip-in extensions as they don't pull on your hair for long periods of time, the way other types of extensions do. These are temporary extensions that you'll clip in for a night out or special event, and then remove when you get home.


You can also get sew-in or weave extensions, which are sewn into natural braided hair, beaded rows that are beaded into the natural hair, and tape-in extensions that are taped or glued into your hair. It's best to discuss each option with your hair stylist as these all have slightly different effects on the hair overall and come at different price points.

The only way to get rid of those split ends is to cut them off, but you can still give the illusion of long and luscious hair in the meantime.