Hair-Care Tips

Meet the 30-Second Conditioning Treatment That Saved My Split Ends When I Was in Desperate Need of a Haircut

Photo: Getty Images/Peter Cade
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Split ends are a built-in calendar reminder that it’s time for a haircut. “When split ends are present, the bottom portion of the hair can look frizzy or dry, and can be difficult to control or style,” says hairstylist Melanie Bolton, director of education at haircare brand Flow. “The most typical cause of split ends is moisture loss that results from heat styling, chemical processing, or environmental stressors. Infrequent trims or haircuts also exacerbate the issue.”

But sometimes it’s not possible to get thee to a salon—because, say, there’s been a pandemic that has largely kept you at home. When this is the case, Bolton says she turns to protective products that help lock in moisture. “In addition to keeping your ends freshly trimmed, the best way to mitigate the appearance of split ends if you have them is to invest in products that re-hydrate, balance moisture, and protect your hair before you style,” she says. One such product that’s been gaining loyal fans amid the Well+Good ranks: Flow's InstantINTENSITY 30 Second Treatment ($25).

Flow InstantINTENSITY 30 Second Treatment

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After the past year of many fewer washes, a single haircut (performed in my bathtub with kitchen scissors), and umpteen top-knots, my hair was in desperate need of some TLC... and even more TLC than that. That said, I've never really been one for the buzzy hair masks or treatments that the internet seems to love. In my experience, they give me a quick boost in shine that gives way to oiliness or frizz a day later. But after one coworker said the Flow conditioning treatment made her hair feel like it had “chugged a gallon of water,” I was intrigued enough to give it a try.

I have now used the product twice, and I’m ready to join its praise-singing choir. Here’s what you need to know.

The Details

How to use it: After you shampoo, apply a dollop of the product to your wet hair, focusing on your ends. Comb it through, wait 30 seconds, and then rinse. Unlike other repairing hair masks that need to sit in your hair 5 to 25 minutes in order to activate, this one really does work in 30 seconds. And because Bolton recommends using a deep conditioning treatment like this “regularly” rather than daily, the commitment level is low—I love a treatment I can casually date.

How it works: Flow’s products rely on a proprietary (read: trademarked) “technology system” it calls “H5 Architecture,” so we don’t know exactly what goes into the secret sauce. We do know that the brand makes use of 11 natural plant extracts—including honeysuckle, olive leaf, and sunflower—and is free from harsh sulfates, parabens, and preservatives that can “weigh hair down," Bolton says.

My results: After the first use, my hair’s dullness disappeared to the extent that my mom asked me over FaceTime if I had gotten my hair colored. And, differing from past hair treatments that have made my hair feel too feathery and frizzy to style, my typically temperamental, thick, and curly mane was easy to tame, both when wet and after air-drying. Bonus: I now understand why my co-worker said she made her boyfriend smell her hair after she used this product; the scent is like a luxe spa on vacation.

The verdict: I might just put off that haircut a little longer...

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