12 Ways to Salvage Dry and Frizzy Ends—A Celebrity Stylist Explains


Unsplash / Design by Michela Buttignol

If the ends of your hair are dry and frizzy, you know firsthand how difficult the problem can be to combat. Whether the dry ends are the result of over-processing, hot tools, infrequent trims, or a lack of conditioner, frizz is a source of bad hair days for many. The good news? Unless your ends are damaged beyond repair (usually due to an irreversible process), celebrity hairstylist Marcus Francis says they are more than likely salvageable. Bear in mind: While it can take a lot to coax thirsty ends back into shape, your hair didn't lose all moisture overnight, so practice a lot of patience, along with some serious TLC.

Keep scrolling to uncover tips worth saving if the ends of your hair are dry and frizzy.

Meet the Expert

Marcus Francis is a sought-after hairstylist with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. His Hollywood clientele includes Julianne Moore, Olivia Colman, Jared Leto, Awkwafina, and Lizzy Caplan.

Examine Your Ends

Focusing on the health of your ends will ensure your hair stays healthy versus just looking healthy after a cut. "Your ends are the last part of your hair that gets the natural oils that are produced from the scalp that actually condition and strengthen your hair," Francis says. "They become dry first, and after a short while, they will split and break. It often distracts from how great the rest of your hair (or hair color) looks because dry, split ends don’t give shine as the rest of the hair does. It won’t hold curls, and the overall look won’t appear polished (even if you’re going for an undone style)."

Get Frequent Trims

Consider frequent, short trims (we're talking half-an-inch to an inch, at most) every three months. We know it can be especially difficult to part with your locks when you've been waiting patiently for them to grow out, but remember that you don't necessarily have to chop off your hair to "start fresh." Instead of waiting years (or months) to cut your hair, Francis recommends "getting your hair trimmed regularly. You can still achieve (or maintain) length as long as you communicate that to your stylist."

In case visiting a hair salon frequently isn't in the cards for you, opt for an at-home trim, but be mindful of only trimming the dead, split ends.

You can communicate to your stylist that you’d like a “dusting,” which implies trimming the ends only where they need to be freshened.

Condition Daily

Conditioner is crucial in providing necessary moisture to thirsty tresses, especially if you're used to heat styling often. It's easy enough to reason why: "Since the ends lack the same kind of natural hydration the rest of the hair strand has, it’s important to condition them regularly," explains Francis. Your ends are the oldest parts of your hair, and as such, are already prone to dryness. Skipping conditioner can cause already dehydrated hair to become excessively dry. For a daily conditioner, Francis recommends Better Natured Hydrating Milk Spray ($22) or the Better Natured Strengthening Leave-in Cream ($22). He adds, "Both give the hair amazing results, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated, depending on if you prefer a spray or creme to apply to your hair."

And if you're worried about weighing the hair down with product, just focus on the ends. "Let’s say you want to maximize the volume at the roots. You can always just put conditioner on the mid-lengths and ends, avoiding the scalp area," Francis says.

Let Hair Air-Dry

Using hot tools like a blow-dryer, flat iron, or curling iron every day can fry the hair, which is already prone to environmental stressors like the sun. Try letting hair air-dry most days by combing hair in the shower, patting it mostly dry with a towel, and then twisting it up, so it will dry with a slight wave.

When You Do Blow-Dry, Take it Easy

When you must use hot tools, use them on low heat and remember to put back the moisture that has been taken out from the hair. From rinse-out conditioners to deep conditioning ones, look for those that work in conjunction with low heat for maximum penetration.

Use a Leave-In Conditioner

Using a deep, leave-in conditioner, mask, or natural oil once or twice per week is key to healthy hair. Even if you're conditioning daily in the shower, it may not be enough. "Hydrating the hair is probably the easiest thing you can do (next to getting your ends trimmed) to avoid having dry, dull, or damaged hair," according to Francis.

He recommends the Better Natured Moisture Replenishing Masque ($22). "It penetrates the hair cuticle with enough moisture to strengthen your hair, giving it a healthy shine. It’s an incredible treat for your ends, especially to have once a week." 

To apply it correctly, distribute the leave-in conditioner to damp ends before towel-drying. Brush with a de-tangling brush or comb to distribute the product throughout the ends and let it fully absorb.

Seal in Hydration

To get even more moisture into your hair, Francis recommends trying the baggy method, a solution for sealing in hydration by wearing a baggy shower cap or plastic wrap after applying a moisturizing product to your hair. Per Francis, "This creates heat underneath the shower cap, opening up the hair cuticle, which allows you to maximize the amount of conditioning agents to penetrate the hair. If you have the time to dedicate 10 minutes to this method, it'll help accelerate repairing damaged hair."

Try bagging your ends a few nights per week, to begin with, and notice if there's any improvement in your hair's moisture levels after a few weeks. Once your ends are less brittle, you can cut out the bagging altogether or simply do it less frequently.

Finish Your Blowout With A Blast of Cool Air

Another expert-approved method to prevent and/or treat pesky dry ends lies in how you blow-dry your hair. Francis suggests, "After blow-drying your hair, turn the heat on to 'cool' to seal your hair. It gives shine, locks in the conditioning agents from your product, and closes the hair cuticle, which stops any free radicals from further damaging the hair."

Avoid Shampooing Daily

Although we tend to want to be super clean, sometimes over-washing hair can do more harm than good. Take it from Francis, who offers up some advice: "Try not to shampoo every day. On your off day, rinse your hair and condition the ends. That break from cleansing the hair will prevent dry ends with extra moisture."

Incorporate a Wet Look into Your Week

If on Wednesdays you wear pink, why not also choose one day a week to rock a wet hair look? Francis says, "A braided hairstyle will make you feel like you’re polished enough to go out without feeling like it’s just a 'wet bun' sort of style." Not to mention, braids are a protective style that can help you transition to natural hair, in case you're interested.

Don't Vigorously Towel-Dry Hair

Although you might be tempted to quickly towel-dry hair post-shower, don't. Instead, "Try to squeeze out the excess water from your hair after the shower/bath rather than rubbing the towel back and forth. That friction over time weakens your ends, causing them to be split or dry faster than they would [otherwise]," says Francis.

Use a Paddle Brush to Detangle Your Hair

Detangling hair, if done incorrectly, can cause hair damage, breakage, and even pain. "I love the Wet Brush ($16) as it really doesn’t tear the hair. Start detangling from the ends, working the brush upward toward the scalp. Always start at the ends!" Francis emphasizes. "Reforming this habit on how you detangle your hair after the shower or the pool or beach will save your ends from becoming weakened and dry."

  • How do you fix dry ends without cutting your hair?

    Your dry ends can’t actually heal and repair themselves, however you can smooth the cuticle and minimize the appearance of split ends. Start by using a moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioning treatment. Before blow drying hair, add in a heat protectant cream, focusing on the ends of your hair. You can also use a serum that is made for sealing split ends, such as Oribe Split Ends Seal ($48). As you blow dry your hair, use a large round brush or flat brush to smooth your ends. If your ends still look dry and frizzy, ask your hairstylist for a “dusting,” so they just trim the split ends and leave the length intact. 

  • What is a good DIY hair mask for dry ends?

    The following Byrdie-approved hair mask will help moisturize your hair and minimize the appearance of split ends—and it only requires a banana and olive oil. Mash one ripe banana and add in one tablespoon of olive oil until the mixture looks creamy and frothy. Apply the mask to your wet hair in the shower, focusing on the ends. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and rinse out.

  • What is the best way to manage dry ends and oily roots?

    If your ends are dry and roots are oily, you need to continue moisturizing your hair, but focus the conditioner only on the hair shaft and the ends. Don’t apply conditioner to your roots as it can make your hair look more greasy. Instead, apply a volumizing mousse to the roots to add body and a dry shampoo to manage the oil. 

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

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