Aug 30, 2019

How Do I Repair Split Ends?

Is it really possible to repair split ends without a trim? We've got the uncut💇 scoop!

We hear ya - split ends are annoying as heck.

Any hairstylist who knows their stuff will tell you that the moment you see a split, it's time to get a trim to prevent further damage up the shaft of your hair. While it's certainly true that the most effective way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off and start fresh sans-split, this strategy can become frustrating quickly - it's not fun to watch hair get chopped off if your goal is to grow it out!


So what are the insider secrets to not only preventing split ends, but getting them repaired? Let's start out by discussing what causes split ends in the first place.

A microscopic pic from our lab of a split. Kinda gross, right?

Hair primarily develops damage due to stress.

Stress can happen in a bunch of different ways, some examples being...

  • Using a shampoo with a high PH
  • Brushing hard through tangled hair
  • Using high heat on hair
  • Over-drying hair
  • Swimming without a swim cap (especially in the ocean!)
  • Exposing hair to UV rays

...And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Another split. Yuck!

Hair is fragile, and it's exposed to a ton of damaging factors every single day. Sure, you can attempt to limit your exposure to many of these factors and take the initiative by using great products with a balanced PH, gently detangling hair, efficiently drying hair, and wearing a lot of wide brimmed hats, but much like life, damage happens, and split ends can sneak through for even the most cautious of hair lovers.

So. How do you fix split ends without a trim?

While there's no way to actually completely repair hair once it has split, regular keratin usage can both "knit" the hair shaft back together and help to prevent future damage.

In this picture, the area in the red circle is a keratin-repaired split end. Compared to the undamaged hair in the lower right-hand corner, the repair isn't perfect, but it's certainly better than it was before!

Like all good things, repairing hair with products containing keratin does take time - you will not see your split ends become magically repaired after your first wash with a keratin product. You'll also need to continuously wash with your keratin-based formulas as, should you stop or switch to a harsher, sulfate-based shampoo, the repair will weaken and break, bringing the split end back.

Keratin also isn't infallible, as it's easily destroyed by salt.


A tiny bit of salt is just fine, so there's no need to be concerned by the very small amount that might be in your shampoo, but it won't be a good idea to go swimming in the ocean for 30 minutes while using a keratin formula! Just don't be channeling your inner Salt Bae while using a keratin based product😉

All that being said, keratin is still an immensely useful ingredient for repair. Just compare the picture above to the split below - it really is a world of difference!

Yep, given the choice we will take a keratin repair over a yucky split like this every time!

Besides keratin for repairs, formulas that contain silicones are incredibly useful for disguising split ends and preventing damage. When a hair is beginning to split, silicones can lay the split cuticle back down against the hair shaft due to its rigid backbone and floppy bonds. Besides pressing the split back in place, silicones also coat the hair shaft to prevent it from future environmental damage, and lock-in active ingredients like keratin so that they stay within the hair shaft.

How do I get a formula that will repair my split ends?

Formulate has got your back in fighting split ends! In order to get a formula that will both protect against future split ends and help with the ones you currently have, be sure to select "Prevent Split Ends" as one of your goals in the hair goal section of our hair quiz. Our chemists and AI will be able to custom-formulate a unique set of split-end repairing products just for you!


The Formulate Team

Tammy Lisi
Lead Chemist
Caroline Schmidt