Many hair-care bloggers apply a product just on the hair ends to protect them. I didn't really believe in the effectiveness of this routine, until I read this post. The author decided to do an experiment and protect the ends of only a part of her hair; she didn't apply any product on the ends of the bangs which she was growing out. When she went to get a haircut, the hairdresser trimmed only one cm from the protected part but three cm from the grown out bangs, and mentioned that the ends of the bangs were in a bad shape. And this in spite of the fact that the bangs were much shorter than the rest of the hair, didn't rub on scarves and collars, and were younger! Since then, protecting my ends has become a constant part of my hair-care routine. It takes just a few seconds and can make a world of difference to your hair. Unhealthy ends can make the entire hair look unhealthy, and are a huge hurdle if you are trying to grow your hair out.After all, your hair ends are the oldest and the dryest part of your hair. The way I think it works is that the product traps in moisture, smoothes the hair scales and makes the hair ends more supple. It also provides slip and eases the friction when the hair rubs on clothes.
How to seal your hair ends:
Do this each time you have washed your hair; either on towel-dried or dry hair. Take a dollop of product in your palm, spread it around on the palm and scrunch it into the ends. I like to do this while leaning forward with my hair flipped over, because then I can see and reach all of my ends. If your hair is long, you might want to pin it up or wear it in a bun so that the product can soak into the ends instead of rubbing off all over your clothes. To results you need to be consistent!
If you have bangs, don't apply anything on them or you will end up with the product on your forehead. The girl in the experiment had been growing out her bangs so they were probably brushed back
If you have short hair, you will probably have no problems with dry split ends, so you don't have to seal your ends if you don't see the need.
What to use to seal your hair ends:
There is no right or wrong thing. You can try oils, butters, conditioners, serums, silks, or products especially meant for hair ends. Hand creams and body butters work as well. The only important thing is that the product cannot contain drying alcohols (alcohol, alcohol denat, isopropyl alcohol; however other fatty alcohols are fine). If you like to play with raw ingredients, try mixing oil with hyaluranon, or hydrolised silk protein, panthenol, collagen.
A lot of products meant for hair ends contain silicones, which can be good or bad depending on whether your hair care programme is silicone-free or not. Alterra (DM) has a silicone-free hair-end serum that looks promising but I haven't personally tested it yet. If your hair gets weighed down easily and you want something light, try grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil or sunflower oil. If you need more weight, try coconut oil, sweet almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, shea butter or any other butter. Another thing is aesthetics: it might be important for you that the ends look separated / defined / whatever, then you have to experiment with different products and see what works. Obviously you can try oil and butter mixes, and remember that these products are multipurpose: a body butter can be used on the hair, and you can eat the argan or grapeseed oil if it doesn't work on your hair (so long as it is 100% pure oil without additives).
If you already have split ends
This is important: sealing the hair ends will not repair existing splits. This is just not possible. If you have split ends, I suggest getting them trimmed (don't do it yourself unless you own special scissors meant for hair. Regular scissors are not sharp enough and will create more damage). Then start sealing your ends and doing these things to minimise future damage.
Obviously there are other ways of keeping your ends from splitting, which I have described in this post. The most important one is the cold season is wearing your hair up when you commute to minimise damage from collars, zippers, scarves, and bag straps.
Does this inspire you to add sealing to your hair-care routine, or are you already doing this? What do you use?