Have you ever been in this situation?
You make an appointment with your stylist knowing you haven’t been in months. You know your hair needs some TLC and you’re excited to get it all together. You’re in the chair and your stylist asks- “Do you want me to clip these ends?”. You contemplate for a second and they remind you how important it is for hair health. You agree and know they are just looking out for you. Afterward, you check the mirror and see your hair is noticeably shorter than when you came in.
Actually, it’s the same length that it was 3 months ago- but how?
This is such a common scenery amongst people with curly, kinky, and coily hair. We live in this constant dilemma of wanting to see hair growth/length retention and wanting our hair to be in top health, which is why we agree to these constant trims.
The major reason for trims is split or damaged ends. This basically when your strands have been exposed to harsh conditions and begin to split up the shaft. This can lead to the hair breaking all the way up to the root in many cases which is why stylists suggest trims. Damaged ends can also lead to unnecessary tangling causing more breakage in the hair. A good trim can help prevent both of these.
Let’s break down the different types of cuts:
- Dusting: This is a way of cutting the hair as minimally as possible. Targeting only split and damaged ends and nothing more. Dusting typically takes off a quarter of an inch or less.
- Trim: Cutting half an inch up to 2 inches of hair. This is typically done to remove damaged ends and maintain a uniform look and shape to the hair.
- Cut: Typically when you’ve decided to go for a shorter length or have excessive damage to the hair. Cuts range from 2 inches or more. Can be used to reshape the hair and create new styles.
- Curly Cuts: For folks who generally wear their hair in its curly state. This helps to better shape the hair as it is cut while curly and not straightened. Can range from small amounts or large length of hair being removed.
- Shape-ups: Typically used when referring to short hair or afros. When cutting in an afro or puff state the stylist will focus on the overall shape, roundness, and symmetry of the hair rather than its length.
How often do you need to trim?
It’s always going to depend on who you ask! Many people go by the age-old rule that you should get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. In her book on How to Grow Waist Length Hair- Founder and CEO of Strands of Faith, Ameka Coleman, dives into how your frequency of trimming should be directly correlated to your hair goals and hair habits.
“ ...there are tons of factors that play into this which is why the typical rule of trimming your hair every 6 to 8 weeks won’t apply to everybody. If you relax your hair, dye your hair, heavily manipulate your hair, neglect your hair, etc. then trimming more often would make sense for those people… However, for someone who doesn’t use any chemical treatments, doesn’t flat iron often, doesn’t manipulate their hair often, etc, they will be able t ostrich their trims much longer.``
If you, like many, are striving for length retention then consider going longer periods between trims. Ameka shares, “I trim my hair about twice a year. This has been one key thing to growing and retaining my hair…..this [is] my secret weapon. Minimizing trims.” Some quick math can help you calculate how much your hair on average grows vs what you are trimming off each year. Take that number and compare it with your hair goals.
Protecting ends can alleviate the need for constant trims. This means minimizing manipulation, using little heat, and properly moisturizing the hair. This coupled with protective styles can drastically change the need for trimming dead ends every few weeks!
So when it comes down to it- there are many ways to cut and style hair and how often you need trimming is related to the care you give it. We recommend finding what works best for you and communicating that with your stylist. It’s your hair, so be sure to advocate for what you want.
If you want more tips on length retention and growing long and healthy hair, check out our Ebook. Written by the Founder and CEO of Strands of Faith, Ameka dives into everything you need to know about natural hair from hair types, textures, and proven regiments to grow hair!