The One Hair Product You Should Never, Ever Use

Rachel Krause
Photo: Joern Pollex/Getty Images for Riani

Photo: Joern Pollex/Getty Images for Riani

It’s tempting to arm yourself with as many products that promise to repair split ends as you can afford. But we’ve got some disappointing news: Not only is there no such thing as a hair product that puts your frazzled ends back together, but those that claim to do so can actually make your damaged hair worse.

Nothing can truly rid you of split ends but a haircut, and the next best thing is to merely conceal them temporarily. “Mending” split ends? Not possible. “What [these products] will actually do is wrap each strand of hair with wax and seal the ends to give that healthy look,” celebrity hair stylist Kacey Welch explained to SheFinds. “In reality, the damage is done and cannot be reversed.”

It’s irony at its best: The waxes or silicones in these duplicitous products will coat the hair in such a way that it’s then unable to absorb moisture, protein, or other nourishment from other products and treatments, resulting in further dryness. Additionally, if you use too many wax- or silicone-based products, the buildup will eventually cause breakage-prone hair to snap off.

If it sounds like you just can’t win—you either wear your split ends with pride or suffer the consequences of using smoothing treatments—let us reassure you that there are plenty of products out there that will create the illusion of healthy hair without potentially acting as a foil for the growth of actual healthy hair. Using a dab of a high-quality, nongreasy oil, like Davines OI/ Absolute Beautifying Potion ($42), will give hair a soft, glossy finish without the potential for making a bad thing even worse.

But as far as avoiding split ends in the first place, constant vigilance is the name of the game. Ditch your daily heat-styling routine, quit tugging when you brush, and let a generous (and we mean generous) amount of a natural oil like coconut or argan soak in once weekly while you sleep. Sure, it won’t kill you or your hair to reach for the temporary solution once in a while when you’re in a bind, but don’t get into the habit of it lest you kick off the vicious cycle. Fair warning!

MORE: The 7 Tips You Need to Prevent Split Ends