Hair care

We Tried It: A Split-End Salve That Fakes a Fresh Haircut

Can Pureology Strength Cure Split End Salve banish split ends and crunchy hair? We put it to the test

When it comes to my hair, I am unapologetically lazy. I haven't had a haircut in, oh, eight months, and unless I'm going out somewhere fancy, my hair routine takes fewer than 10 minutes.

READ: 7 Hairstyles You Can Do in 10 Minutes Flat

Yet my bathroom shelves are so packed with hair products that my boyfriend has started threatening to toss them out. Why do I need a billion products when I spend so little time on my hair? Because it takes a precise concoction of creams, balms and serums to hide my dead, crunchy split ends. And even with a solid blow-dry and some carefully placed curls, they are still pretty apparent.

READ: 18 Best Hair Treatments for Healthy Hair

Pureology Strength Cure Split End Salve, $32.50, is the latest product to join my collection. Because I'm a sucker for product packaging, I was in awe of the things it promised. Needless to say, I'm often disappointed when I try most products. So how did this serum, which promises to smooth and fill in split ends, and "bring softness to even the oldest of strands," fare?

How It's Different

As it turns out, not all split-end repairing salves are made equally. Curious about how this one worked, I asked cosmetic chemist Donald Frey to compare the ingredients to another (not naming names, but it was quite expensive) balm that made the same promises as the Pureology Strength Cure Split End Salve. After analyzing the formulas, he turned into some sort of hair care psychic that was able to sum up exactly how I felt about the products.

Frey accurately predicted that the other balm, primarily made up of silicones and fragrance, would go on nice and light, with shine and frizz control. "But it is maybe a bit like Chinese food in that a couple of hours later, your hair is hungry for more," he says.

The Pureology salve has a mixture of natural oils and silicone, which, he says, will attack split ends in a number of different ways. "The natural oils will help replenish the damaged hair," and the silicone helps your comb glide through your hair more gently (resulting in fewer broken strands). It also includes other ingredients that he says will, in essence, "glue" the damaged parts of hair back together.

The Verdict

In the smell department, it definitely isn't as nice as the other balm (though, to be fair, that one was packed with fragrance instead of useful ingredients). It's not that it smells bad, just ... not exactly like flowers after a summer rain, either.

But who even cares about the smell when it gives you the hair that looks fresh out of the stylist's chair? Even my months-old, dry, puffy ends have been tamed by this stuff. When I actually do blow-dry my hair, I get gorgeous, split-end-free, Connie Britton-esque hair (slight exaggeration, everyone knows her hair is a magical, unattainable dream).

READ: 6 Best Hair Oils

Even when I just let it air dry, which is about 85 percent of the time, my damaged ends are much less noticeable. Aside from making my hair appear more aesthetically pleasing, it also makes it feel softer -- and, as someone who has been hit in the face with a raggedy, split-end-ravaged ponytail mid-workout many a time, that pushes it into my permanent hair styling rotation.

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