Trim Your Own Split Ends

Not every trim requires a trip to the salon. Taking care of your own split ends can keep your hair looking sharp between visits, and can save you money and hair as well.


Cutting Split Ends

  1. Obtain a pair of hair shears. Normal scissors will gnaw through your hair and cause more split ends. You can purchase hair shears online or at a local beauty supply store.
  2. Cut perpendicular to the hair strand. This will keep the end stronger than a slanted cut would.
  3. Make the cut about 1/4” above the split to ensure a healthy end. Some split ends will be longer than 1/4" above the end and should be cut accordingly.
  4. Try trimming against a light background if you have dark hair and vice versa.


  1. Take a small section of hair, and twist it. The ends of the hair will pop up out of the twist and you can see split ends and trim them.
    • If you have lighter hair, use a darker background to help bring contrast so you can see the hair better. If you have darker hair, use a lighter background to help bring contrast to your eyes.
  2. Spread out a section of hair with your fingers. Place your index finger over the top of the section, the middle finger adjacent and underneath, and your ring finger over. Basically weave it through these three fingers. As you slide your fingers down the section you should see bad ends popping out, so trim them. Continue all the way down the strand. Be prepared for eye strain!
  3. With the same section, now twist it in the opposite direction. This will help you spot some of the split ends you might have missed when you twisted the hair one way.
  4. Start on a new section and repeat. The first couple times you do this, dusting will take a while. After a while, depending on how many split ends and how much hair you have, the process should take between 10 and 60 minutes.


  1. Ask a friend or family member to trim your hair. It's useful if they have some experience cutting hair. You can trim your own hair if you are careful.
  2. Wash your hair and apply leave-in conditioner. Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb while the conditioner is still in. This will separate your hair into sections.
  3. Take a section and, bringing it forward, hold the end of this hair section firmly between two fingers. Do this just above where you want to trim, and make the cut.
  4. Bring the next section forward and repeat.
  5. Make sure you comb your hair very well and do not disturb the ends of the section. It is also important to keep the cut and uncut sections separate and cut the same amount of hair off each section.

Preventing Split Ends

  1. Moisturize your hair often and effectively. After shampooing your hair, don't forget to use conditioner. Hair can split and break for a number of reasons, but often it's because the hair isn't properly moisturized.
    • Use conditioner that's tailored to your specific hair style. For dry hair, use a conditioner with natural oils (shea butter, coconut butter, etc.), and condition the ends more than the scalp. For oily or fine hair, use a light conditioner and go very easy on conditioner near the scalp.
    • Moisturize at least every time you shampoo. Your hair is made out of proteins, and needs nutrients just like other organs in our body. If you shampoo every other day, be sure to hit your hair with moisturizer after each clean.
  2. Seal in the moisture from the water and the conditioner. You did all that work getting moisture into you hair — don't let it go to waste! Use products like shea butter or olive or coconut oil to help seal in the moisturizing treatment you just gave your hair.
  3. Protect the ends when you style your hair. Put your hair up in styles such as buns and pin-ups to keep it from drying out and getting damaged. After a shower, some girls like to let their hair air-dry up in a bun for the duration of the night when they sleep.
  4. Use deep-treatments for your hair. Give your hair a little boost at least every week or so by doing a deep treatment. Deep treatments will give your hair more moisture and protection, so that if you go 2-3 days without shampooing and conditioning, your hair is sure to retain a lot of moisture.
  5. Avoid excessive style damage. People with extremely healthy hair usually have this in common: they avoid styling their hair more than is necessary.
    • Watch out for heat damage. Heat damage, caused by straightening hair, for example, is known to produce split ends. Use the blow-drier on the lowest heat setting when you're drying your hair. If you can, let your hair air-dry after you step out of the shower: give it a quick pat-down with a towel, spray in some detangler, give your hair a quick run-through with a comb, and let it dry on its own.
    • Don't brush your hair when it's wet. Your hair is very vulnerable to breakage when it's wet, so you should be careful. Use a wide-toothed comb on wet hair to cut down on split ends and other damage.

Alternate Method

  1. Grab two-inch sections of hair (make sure it's dry), starting at the back of your head. Pin the rest out of the way.
  2. Hold the ends out in front of you, gripping your hair no more than 1/4-inch above the ends.
  3. Point the scissors downward and cut away all the hair below your fingers.


  • It's recommended to use special scissors made for cutting hair, as normal household scissors will damage hair. Don't forget that hair scissors are very sharp and are designed to prevent the hair they grasp from slipping out, so if you pinch some finger skin in them by accident, you probably will have a pretty deep cut in your skin. Use with caution!
  • Products that claim to "heal" split ends are false. They will only temporarily glue split ends together. They may help prevent messy hair however.
  • Go to a good room with bright lighting, just in case you can't see what hair you are cutting.
  • Make sure to trim your hair every 2 months if you want it to grow healthy!
  • Go to a hairdresser if you want them to be solved properly.
  • Got curls? Cut your hair wet instead of dry so that you can comb it through to the tips before you trim. Just remember to take off a little less--the length will shrink up when hair dries!


  • Unfortunately, going to a professional and asking for, say, a one inch trim to get rid of split ends may result in much more being cut. Part of this may be due to the hairdresser deciding that he/she knows better than you, and part of it may be not being firm or clear enough in your instructions.
  • If you are a child, get an adult's help for this. It will turn out looking much better because a second person is in a better position to see whether a cut will leave a "hole" or make a portion of hair too short.

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