Split ends are the worst – I sometimes find myself staring at my hair and counting how many split ends I have (I quickly lose count – ugh!). There are lots of products out there that claim to mend or repair split ends but do they really work? I decided to take a closer look at the technology behind these types of products.How do split ends form?Split ends are the result of damage to your hair (not surprising!). This damage can be from heat, combing, washing, coloring or even wearing a ponytail. When you damage your hair, the outer layer (the cuticle) starts to peel away leaving hair frizzy-looking and more prone to breakage and splitting.MORE FROM SELF: Instant Facelift! 5 Fun Ponytail IdeasHow do you get rid of split ends?The only way to permanently get rid of split ends is to cut them off. Hair is dead and once it’s damaged it can’t repair itself. A new strand of hair can grow out, but any part of the fiber that’s already damaged can’t heal itself. However, there are things you can do to temporarily fix split ends (of course these methods only last until your next shampoo). You can use an oil (coconut oil is a good option) to temporarily smooth the split end and cover the damaged area with a film. Other split end repair products use ingredients called polymers which help “glue” split ends together (again, this only lasts until your next shampoo).MORE FROM SELF: 6 Secrets to Firing Up Your MetabolismCan you prevent split ends?The best way to prevent split ends is take good care of your hair – especially long-haired ladies since long hair is particularly susceptible to damage and split ends. Be sure to use a conditioner and consider using a leave-in conditioner, as well. Also, minimize heat exposure, don’t over wash, be gentle when combing and be cautious when pulling hair back in ponytails or buns. Most importantly, regular trims will get rid of split ends and keep hair looking healthy.Bottom LineProducts are only a temporary solution to dealing with your split ends. However, many of them are often good leave-in conditioners or treatments, which can help prevent further damage and also provide a good temporary solution for split ends to hold you over until your next trim.MORE FROM SELF: 50 Delicious Detox MealsFor daily beauty tips, follow SELF on Facebook and Twitter.Get SELF on your iPad and Kindle Fire!