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

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[…] who needs to trim their hair yeah that would be me. I try to keep up with trims because trimming your hair keeps it […]


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 »

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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.


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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… 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… 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 😀


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 »
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 »

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.

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 »
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!

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


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


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?

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 😀


Very informative!! Thanks Cipriana and BGLH 🙂


Hey Anastasia 😀 Your very welcome :)))