6 Signs that You Need a Trim

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By Cipriana of UrbanBushBabes.com

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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  • Yas

    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 my hair to keep it stretched. I rarely use blow dryers. I wear a satin scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase. I baggie my hair a few times a week, detangle and mudwash weekly, and deep condition at least every two weeks. I moisturize daily and seal my ends at least once a week. I don’t wear my hair loose too often (maybe 2-3 a week tops); and I hardly ever do a wash and go anymore (due to the coiling). When I’m not in extensions, I wear updos and wigs and falls to keep my ends protected most of the time. Not sure why I get these fairy knots still. They’re not in great number, but I don’t want to trim 6-10 knots a day.

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  • Shawna

    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!

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  • BelleofLondon

    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.

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