By Cipri­ana of

Snip, snip, snip. As I watched my ends fall into the bath­room sink I thought, “How in the hell am I sup­posed to keep retain­ing length if I keep trim­ming my ends away!” Pulling up site after site with­out the slight­est idea of when you should trim your ends can make you a lit­tle bit stir crazy and scis­sor hap­py, espe­cial­ly when one option you rarely see is “ cough, cough” dare I say it…. Not Trim­ming Your Ends! Yes, I said it. Now I know this may sound taboo or a for­eign con­cept for some but it is pos­si­ble to retain healthy long hair with­out trim­ming your ends con­stant­ly. Let me show what is nec­es­sary and unnec­es­sary when it comes to trim­ming your ends.

Trim­ming is nec­es­sary when…

1. Your ends are snapping off quicker than you can count to… uh got damn it there goes another one

If your ends are lit­er­al­ly snap­ping off or you notice easy break­age when you detan­gle this is a key sign you need to change an ele­ment of your hair rou­tine, trim and seal more often. If your hair is of short­er length you might be more con­fused to actu­al­ly what is break­age or sim­ply shed­ding hair. An easy sign for any­one is that shed­ding hair has a tiny white clump on the end called the bulb root.

2. If you use heat frequently

Any type of fre­quent direct heat on your strands from tools such as hair dry­ers, curl­ing/flat irons, straight­en­ing combs etc strips the sebum (nat­ur­al oils) from your strands leav­ing them sus­cep­ti­ble to dry­ness and at high risk for split ends. Check out “Here Today Gone Tomor­row: The Pud­ding & Facts of How Too Much Heat Can Affect Your Strands”.

3. If you frequently wear your hair down

If your hair is at least shoul­der length when you wear your hair down the oppor­tu­ni­ty for wear and tear and pos­si­ble fray­ing against cloth­ing is increased. Now if your indi­vid­ual strands are thick in diam­e­ter and of low to nor­mal poros­i­ty you have more of a defense against the ele­ments ver­sus an indi­vid­ual like myself where the den­si­ty of my hair is very thick but my strands are fine in diam­e­ter. For this rea­son alone updo styles are the name of the game for me.

4. You don’t seal your ends properly or often

Your ends are the old­est part of your hair and my mot­to has always been “treat your ends like your elders” they need a lit­tle more atten­tion and respect espe­cial­ly for hang­ing around so long. Lack of seal­ing ends reg­u­lar­ly can cause break­age and split ends. Espe­cial­ly for women with extreme­ly curly and tight uni­formed curls because the curli­er the hair the more dif­fi­cul­ty your sebum (nat­ur­al oils from seba­ceous glands) has in run­ning down your strands. With my kinks, seal­ing my ends is a neces­si­ty (I seal once a week) if I want to retain length. Since I have fre­quent­ly been seal­ing my ends for the past 3 months my split ends have dropped tremen­dous­ly. In fact they have become so few it is hard for me to find them, but since I can’t con­trol every stray hair on my head there­fore I still con­tin­ue to dust my ends (for more infor­ma­tion on dust­ing click here.)

5. You have extreme feathering

What is extreme feath­er­ing? If you grab your hair at the base or root and glide your hair down to the ends and notice the diam­e­ter of your ends is dan­ger­ous­ly thin­ner than the roots of your hair then you are expe­ri­enc­ing extreme feath­er­ing. Feath­er­ing is the shape your hair takes when it tapers off close to the ends and begins to fray. Now most everyone’s hair has some feath­er­ing, espe­cial­ly if you wear your hair down all the time (and the length is at least shoul­der length when out). But if your ends are extreme­ly feath­ered, it’s time for a trim.

6. Your hair is naturally prone to dryness

If over­all your hair is prone to dry­ness on a con­sis­tent basis despite con­di­tion­ing, mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing reg­u­lar (which hap­pens fre­quent­ly to women with high poros­i­ty strands) trim­ming can be a nec­es­sary and ben­e­fi­cial part of your reg­i­men.

A Final Note: When Trimming is Not Necessary

If you have

No break­age
Few split ends
Lit­tle to no heat
Seal ends often
Very lit­tle feath­er­ing

Now I am in no way sug­gest­ing trim­ming as a bad solu­tion or a non-option if you want to main­tain length. If your ends need to be trimmed I am in 100% agree­ment that hold­ing on to dam­aged ends to hang on to length is ludi­crous. But if your ends are healthy and you expe­ri­ence very few split ends trim­ming your ends is not nec­es­sary, espe­cial­ly if gain­ing length is your goal. Observe your ends care­ful­ly and as you become more expe­ri­enced with your hair you will under­stand what your hair is try­ing to tell you and all you have to do is lis­ten and act accord­ing­ly.

Ladies, how do you deter­mine when you need a trim?

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44 Comments on "6 Signs that You Need a Trim"

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Q&A on Short hair: I’ve been grow­ing out my tapered shaved sides since June 2016 and did the big chop on the remain­ing relaxed top part of my hair in August 2016. It has been 8 months since my last cut/trim how­ev­er the stretched length of my hair is approx­i­mate­ly 6 inch­es. I have been hold­ing out to cut my hair until i reach the year mark as my hair is still quite short and i’m try­ing to retain length. Should I trim my hair urgent­ly or can I wait until my hair has grown a bit more?


[…] Dam­aged Hair: Most like­ly you use heat on your hair every­day on your hair whether it is a flat iron, a curler, or a dry­er, using heat often on your hair dam­ages it there is no way around that. Or maybe you like chang­ing col­ors and dying you hair often which in return dries your scalp. What you can do is trim your hair when you notice that your hair is frizzing more than usu­al or it look dry and about to break, it is a good idea to give it a trim. […]


Good arti­cle. I know I need a good trim because I expe­ri­ence a lot of break­age when I take down my corn­rows and fin­ger detan­gle my hair, even though I mois­turise and seal my ends. How­ev­er I’ve only been tak­ing care of my hair for four months and I have seen improve­ments but need to deal with all the bad ends. I think I need a mini chop. I’m ready now to sac­ri­fice length for a head of healthy hair. I’m look­ing for­ward to the trim/mini chop when I take my corn­rows out.


I am so glad I found this arti­cle! I was won­der­ing why the ends of my hair was snap­ping off when I comb it while wet. I fig­ured I need a trim, and now, I will seal more often!! I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for almost two years, I think it’s time to cut the lit­tle permed ends I have and real­ly call myself “all nat­ur­al”. Thanks for the valu­able infor­ma­tion, I am excit­ed to take my god­dess braids out and try some­thing new!

For­tu­nate­ly, I have not need­ed to trim a lot (I dust my ends about 3x a year). My biggest prob­lem how­ev­er, is sin­gle stand knots because my hair is extreme­ly coily. Even with stretch­ing, I still get a few dai­ly knots which I either have to very care­ful­ly detan­gle with my fin­gers or trim off. This increas­es the dai­ly manip­u­la­tion of my hair, which of course, may cause more knots and break­age. I would love to see an arti­cle about how to effec­tive­ly pre­vent knots. I’m not a braider and I can­not twist my hair every night. I usu­al­ly ban­tu… Read more »

Fan­tas­tic beat ! I wish to appren­tice while you amend your web­site, how could i sub­scribe for a blog site? The account aid­ed me a accept­able deal. I had been a lit­tle bit acquaint­ed of this your broad­cast pro­vid­ed bright clear idea


Hey I am so thrilled I found your site, I real­ly found you by acci­dent, while I was look­ing on Aol for some­thing else, Nonethe­less I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a mar­velous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have book­marked it and also includ­ed your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the excel­lent jo.


What’s up to every sin­gle one, it’s tru­ly a good for me to vis­it this web page, it con­tains valu­able Infor­ma­tion.


I am no longer sure the place you’re get­ting your infor­ma­tion, how­ev­er great top­ic. I needs to spend a while learn­ing much more or work­ing out more. Thank you for mag­nif­i­cent infor­ma­tion I used to be look­ing for this info for my mis­sion.


An impres­sive share! I’ve just for­ward­ed this onto a co-work­er who has been doing a lit­tle home­work on this. And he actu­al­ly ordered me break­fast because I dis­cov­ered it for him… lol. So let me reword this.… Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spend­ing time to talk about this top­ic here on your site.


Hel­lo there, You’ve done a great job. I will cer­tain­ly digg it and per­son­al­ly sug­gest to my friends. I’m sure they will be ben­e­fit­ed from this site.


I’ve got a tip for trim­ming your own ends after you’ve straight­ened it. as you smooth your hair at, observe how your ends look. if they start feath­er­ing out and u can see through them like glass, then those r the split ends that need to be cut off.


this was some good info for me I just wear my hair in plaits under a wig due to my bad alope­cia but I have sec­tion of my hair is grow­ing so fast while the the rest…
idk some­time I just give up try­ing to grow my hair :-(

Okay so does any­one have issues like me where you try to self trim the ends of your hair that are more bushier/tangled/drier? And then you cut it, but then 1–2 months lat­er your ends feel the same exact way!? Even with prop­er care??? i don’t get why that hap­pens with my hair.  Any­ways, trim­ming sure makes your hair feel nice and just makes your hair health­i­er. Quick sto­ry: i’ve always had bad expe­ri­ences with trims and styl­ists, but one day 2 years ago i was going to a nat­ur­al sto­ry to get a cheap trim. i find out they closed,… Read more »

[…] Source […]


How much heat is too much heat on your hair?

I know that I need a trim when I start feel­ing knots at my ends. I have been nat­ur­al my entire life; nev­er straight­ened my hair more than 8 times a year (for the last 4 years I’ve only straight­ened my hair 4 times). So I basi­cal­ly nev­er expe­ri­ence “feath­er­ing” despite the fact that I wear my hair out 50% of the time week­ly. My hair is very thick, and grows extreme­ly fast, so I do what most nat­u­rals bulk at: I cut it often. How­ev­er, for the last 5 months I have not cut it. My hair grows 1–1.5 inch­es a month… Read more »

[…] How To Know When You Need a Trim. [Black Girl with Long Hair] […]


Ok so i have been nat­ur­al for over a year and my twists all the way up seem…feathered i dont use heat i keep my ends mois­tur­ized and sealed but i think the prob­lem may be im pret­ty rough with my hair some­times when detan­gling i dont take the time to stop and take care of a knot i just pull it and it tears…would i have to chop of alot of it and start over?

I learn so much from Cipri­ana. I am cur­rent­ly on a search for raw cacao but­ter for my face (but that’s a dif­fer­ent blog). I’ve been nat­ur­al and heat free for about 2 years and haven’t trimmed my hair since my big chop in 2009. Don’t gasp. I don’t lose any hair. My hair is in a pro­tec­tive style quite often. I mois­tur­ize my hair and pro­tein con­di­tion. I am under my steam­er once a week if I have time. Break­age hasn’t been a prob­lem, so I’m not sweat­ing it yet. Cur­rent­ly my hair is in yarn braids. Con­sid­er­ing a… Read more »

Great info. I am often at odds about trim­ming my hair. Every time I have my styl­ist trim it I feel she gives me a hair­cut, so I’ve opt­ed to do it myself.


Thank you Nat­u­ralkurls :D


I dust my ends alot not wait­ing for the 6 to 8 week mark or every 6 to 8 months nope. I dust my ends if they look scrag­gly, my twists at the ends don’t curl right or a lit­tle to thin. If I see any knots esp after hav­ing in my twists, those bad boys will be cut in a heart beat.


Too fun­ny. I do the exact same thing and my hair is healthy and still shows growth.


I dust ~1/4 inch every 3–4 months. Around that time is when the ends of my braids (for my braid-outs) start look­ing funky. When I say funky, I mean they don’t coil up when I roll them between my mois­tur­iz­er-cov­ered fin­ger­tips and/or lit­tle strands of hair hang off them and look scrag­gly.

I like this it was infor­ma­tive. I have been nat­ur­al almost 2 years. i didn’t get my first trim til after my 1st year. After I got my hair pressed and trimmed every 3 months. The only thing I intend to do dif­fer­ent­ly start­ing next year is get­ting my hair trimmed every 2 months going for­ward. I only put heat on my hair when I get it trimmed. I was able to retain length thru pro­tec­tive styles and lim­it­ing how much heat I put on my hair. I usu­al­ly can tell I need a trim because I get lit­tle knots… Read more »

Thank you Wen­di :) Very pleased you found the info infor­ma­tive, def­i­nite­ly has helped me over the years.


I JUST did a trim last nite!!! I was notic­ing some exces­sive shed­ding and I’m think­ing it was due to a lot of pix­ie knots and some split ends. PRAYFULLY trim­ming my ends was the solution…they do feel a whole lot bet­ter though :)


is there a link to her orig­i­nal post? i might have missed it…

I am going through some strug­gles with my hair…its been 28 months since I’ve been nat­ur­al and i know i am get­ting growth how­ev­er, I am not retain­ing length due to breakage.…I have trimmed and trimmed over the last 6 months to try to get rid of them and I’m at the point where I would like to trim off 3 inch­es cuz I’m tired of see­ing splits. I dis­cov­ered that one prob­lem is retain­ing mois­ture so i am going to use both a satin scarf and pil­low but I think there has to be some­thing else that has me… Read more »
Did you look into the pH of the prod­ucts you are using, in par­tic­u­lar the sham­poo and con­di­tion­er. I start­ed using this new dan­druff sham­poo and as soon as I start­ed rins­ing it out my hair felt like straw. I always pre-poo before sham­poo­ing and don’t have a prob­lem with mois­ture or how my hair felt. How­ev­er, as soon as I rinsed it out my strands (esp. at the bot­tom) did not feel the same, They felt HORRIBLE. They were split­ting at the tips and the only way to cor­rect that is to snip, snip before the trav­eled up the… Read more »

Hi, I don’t think ph is the problem.…its just I think i might need to pay clos­er atten­tion to my prod­uct use.…try to deal with the con­stant tem­per­a­ture changes ( i live in the Caribbean but work in some seri­ous a/c) and seal my ends more effectively.…Thanks anyway.…sometimes I think patience more than any­thing is the most elu­sive of goals when you know you could be alot fur­ther with your hair length goals!

Hi k, I had the same prob­lem. I wasn’t giv­ing my ends the tlc they need­ed by mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing like I was sup­pose to. So now before bed at least every oth­er night, if I don’t do any­thing else to my hair, I may spray a leave-in or mois­tur­iz­er and then seal with an oil on my ends. And I’ve been doing more pro­tec­tive styling and tuck­ing those ends away. I have seen a dif­fer­ence. And not sure of your length but if you’re hair is rub­bing against your clothes in the back, that may be the cul­prit too.… Read more »
Well, my hair is not shoul­der length yet :( its uneven the only place that meets my shoul­ders is the back row…I’m try­ing to assess what is dif­fer­ent in my reg­i­men since to me I’m get­ting more splits now and I real­ize coconut oil is no longer there…I aslo need to give my ends alot more tlc as I dis­cov­ered that I also don’t take care of them well in terms of seal­ing despite the fact that my hair is in alot of updos.…my hair is rarely down.  I was won­der­ing though…can hair­pins also play a part in dam­ag­ing hair… Read more »

I’ve start­ed pro­tec­tive styling myself (wigs) and tuck­ing in those ends. Mois­tur­iz­ing my own hair every cou­ple days and deep treat­ing on the week­ends. No dif­fus­ing any­more. I trim when my ends look raggedy and sparse. I don’t mind snip­ping the ends at all. My goal is length, but I’m in no rush. I start­ed YouTub­ing my wig fun. mon­tRE­AL­a­dy is my name there.

nappy headed black girl

When I was loose, two things gave it away:
1 I could actu­al­ly feel the tex­ture change at the ends
2 My twists looked raggedy at the ends


I can total­ly relate to that. I recent­ly wore my hair in a pro­tec­tive style (for 3 weeks actu­al­ly). I could def­i­nite­ly tell the dif­fer­ence in how my twists look. Of course I got to snip­ping because I’m more inter­est­ed in my hair’s health than length. I took a breather this week, but believe me wear­ing my wash n go this week my hair looks a lot health­i­er. This upcom­ing week­end I’m going to go ahead with anoth­er pro­tec­tive style because my hair needs it.


which pro­tec­tive style did u wear for 3 weeks?


do you mean the tex­ture of your ends were loos­er than the rest of your hair? i got curls under­neath a blan­ket of fuzz…

jasmine harvey

my hair is 9 months old, i did my big chop in Jan­u­ary. i havent trimmed it yet and i wont until i see the prob­lems you have described. i dont have any of them right now, thank good­ness, so my strands wont see a pair of scis­sors just yet. thanks!


Wow! This was a great post! Thanks for the infor­ma­tion =)


Thank you!!! So glad you found the infor­ma­tion use­ful :D


Very infor­ma­tive!! Thanks Cipri­ana and BGLH :)


Hey Anas­ta­sia :D Your very wel­come :)))