How to Manage Hair Breakage

Multi-colored pastel highlights on silver hair

No matter what your hair concern is, bring hair back to life or prevent damage before it starts by adding a hair mask to your haircare routine.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever witnessed someone pulling their split ends apart or done it yourself. Now that everyone reading this has raised their hand, let’s clarify: Don’t do that! And stop someone else from doing it. Tell them, no, that is your hair telling you that it is, in fact, breaking.

Yes, it’s true, your hair can actually break. According to Redken Artist Adina Doss, hair breakage is due to the hair being compromised and the proteins being compromised from either chemical services or mechanical services, like heat styling or blow drying.

“A distressed strand of hair will look, well, I always call it cotton candy hair,” says Redken Artist Julie Lahr. “It looks frayed and flyaway, or like split ends that you can see them when they split apart, it’s a fuzziness that doesn’t go away.”

Doss says some clients misinterpret texture for breakage or a split end, which will look like unevenness or if you look at an individual strand and see what looks like a ball in the middle of the strand, that’s where the hair will break. Or you’ll see a split at the end of a single or individual strand, you can see it turning into two pieces of hair.

Many things can make hair breakage worse, and unfortunately, they’re habits a lot of people aren’t even aware could be extra damaging.

First of all, never, never, never pull the strands of hair apart if you see a split end. Sure, it might be fun and satisfying, but you’ll end up paying for it in the long run.

“Pulling on a split end is just weakening the hair fiber itself,” Doss says. “And adding heat will definitely make it worse, not better. It may cosmetically look a little better with heat, but the end result is that it dries out the hair and does more damage.”

So, what’s one to do when they’re suffering this so-called cotton candy hair look? Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment can step in to save the day. When used as a system with Redken Extreme shampoo and conditioner anti-snap can reduce breakage by 73%. Formulated with a protein complex this product provides benefits for hair that’s healthy-looking and resilient.

Breakage is caused when protein bonds are depleted, and if it’s chemical breakage (ahem, color and most often highlights), then the hair is lacking a protein bond connection, Doss says. It’s important not to overload damaged hair with conditioners or heavy products but to fix the hair first, says Lahr, in order to strengthen and fortify hair before adding moisture.

Anti-Snap is used at home, once you get out of the shower, on towel dried hair. Apply it as a leave-in treatment and then style as usual. But you can treat hair breakage at a salon too, depending on the damage and what you need. Talk to your stylist about how to maintain the integrity of your hair while having the hair of your dreams, Doss says. You might need a haircut to get rid of damage before you treat it and work to build it up. Patience is key for this. But it is possible to come back from.