Start in the shower.
When you apply shampoo, focus only on your scalp. That way, you'll avoid roughing up the delicate ends. (Plus the roots are where all that product buildup and oil resides, anyway.) Then, when applying conditioner, smooth it on from mid-shaft to ends to keep those areas healthy. Once or twice a week, add a deep conditioning treatment, like Aussie Three Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment. And always brush your hair when you're still in the shower to eliminate tangles and minimize damage."Oftentimes, when you comb through damp hair outside of the shower, you will fray your ends by brushing tough tangles," says Potempa. Finish with a cold rinse to close the cuticle. ($3, available at drugstore.com)
Pick the right products.
"When growing out your hair, every product you use should have a moisturizing benefit to it," says Potempa who suggests focusing on mousses, creams, and leave-in treatments. Avoid volumizing formulas, texturizers, and salt sprays — all contain high levels of alcohol, which leads to dry, weak strands, she says. And start incorporating a heat protective product into your routine. This will create a barrier around the cuticle of the hair to guard against burning and breakage. Finally, Potempa recommends babying the ends of your hair with a nourishing oil to add a hit of extra moisture. Try Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum. ($30, available at Josie Maran Cosmetics)
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Blow dry smartly.
When blowing out your hair, it's essential to close the cuticle to keep those locks healthy and avoid split ends. To do just that, always blow-dry your hair with the nozzle pointing down, and finish with a shot of cool air.
Reverse damage in the salon.
Pro-treatments have come a long way. Salons now offer intensive deep conditioning treatments that can smooth, moisturize, and make hair look and feel healthier. And healthier hair means less breakage — and that means more length!
Cancel your next cut.
"There's a big misconception you need a haircut every six weeks," says Potempa. (After all, there's always the chance that a routine trim turns into a two to three-inch chop-off!) Instead, opt for a "dusting" — where your stylist snips just the very ends (think a quarter of an inch) — every couple of months.