How to Stop Hair Breakage Before It Happens

Urban Outfitters

No matter how cool your cut or how flawless your color, if your hair is damaged, it will detract from whatever look you're working. Fried locks, brittle strands, and dreaded split ends aren't desired by anyone, but the good news is that hair breakage is entirely avoidable. With the right tender loving care, you can avoid all the above and keep your locks healthy and out of harm's way. "The first thing is to know what's causing the breakage and start with that," explains Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC. "Is it from over-coloring and highlighting, too much hot tool use, not conditioning enough, or all of the above?"

We had Saviano and Hollywood hairstylist Kristin Ess, who counts Lauren Conrad, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and Lucy Hale among her clients and just launched a new haircare collection at Target, give us the lowdown on how to stop hair breakage before it happens. They walked us through their four biggest tips for keeping strands strong and healthy so you can say so long to split ends and preventable damaged.

Get Haircuts

"Split ends cause tangles, and brushing out tangles can easily cause breakage," warns Ess. "It's hard to prioritize sometimes but put it on your calendar and just do it!" As Saviano reminds, whatever is broken is going to remain that way-there's no going back, but you can stop it. He suggests slowly cutting out broken strands or just going shorter to cut off the damaged ends entirely. "Just ask for it to be cut where the hair is healthier," he advises.

Use the Right Products

"Avoid products that don't protect your hair from heat while using hot tools," Saviano insists. "Always look for products that are a heat protectant." Furthermore, Ess advises looking for products that have the technology to seal split ends. "Nothing can truly 'fix' them long-term, but there are definitely things that can help," she notes.

Kristin Ess Style Assist Blow Dry Mist $14Shop

Do Hair Treatments

"Do oil treatments overnight to help soften and moisturize," suggests Ess. "I created the Anytime Anywhere Recovery Balm for this exact reason." It comes with a bun cap to protect your pillow from the product, too. "If your hair needs strength more than moisture, try a deep protein treatment like JoicoВ K-Pak," says Ess.

Kristin Ess Anytime Anywhere Recovery Balm $14Shop

Give Your Hair a Break

"Air-dry any chance you can," Ess encourages. "It's great to take a break from thermal styling every now and again." Saviano agrees that if you can cut back on coloring and hot tools and instead condition more, you can prevent further breakage. He suggests shampooing less and embracing wearing a ponytail "so you can extend the time between heat styling."

Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry CrГЁme $10Shop