By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven

Trim­ming is nec­es­sary to remove split ends and knots that can­not be unrav­elled. It can also be used to help main­tain the ends aes­thet­i­cal­ly, where old­er, weath­ered ends are cut allow­ing the hair to look fuller/thicker.

The method you select to trim your hair depends on three main fac­tors

1.The length of your hair

2. The extent of dam­age to your hair

3. How much hair length you are will­ing to lose.

The key tool that you require is a sharp pair of scis­sors. Hair scis­sors are use­ful because well made shears have a very sharp edge allow­ing for a clean cut with­out fray­ing. Depend­ing on the method you choose, you may option­al­ly require a mir­ror and a source of bright light. Here are the three meth­ods

1. Search and Destroy

This method should be select­ed if you want to cut off as lit­tle hair as pos­si­ble as only dam­aged hair is select­ed for cut­ting. The method is sim­ply to take a small sec­tion of hair (approx­i­mate­ly  1 square inch) and search the ends for any splits, breaks, frays or knots.  Ide­al­ly the cut should be per­formed at least one quar­ter inch away from the knot/split/fray. This will ensure that all the dam­aged por­tion is cut. The search and destroy method can be per­formed as fre­quent­ly as you like, how­ev­er, if you need to per­form this method more fre­quent­ly than once a mon­th, then your hair may require or suit a more aggres­sive trim (see method 2 and 3).

Advantage/Disadvantage :

The key advan­tage is that you retain all healthy hair but the dis­ad­van­tage is that you can end up with uneven lengths (though if you most­ly wear your hair in curly/textured form this may not be an issue).

Notes:  If you are doing this method on your own, your hair has to be suf­fi­cient­ly long for you to see the hair ends. This is more impor­tant for hair in the mid­dle and back of your head which needs to be pulled for­ward to be seen. You can use a mir­ror to aid you or you can ask for help from some­one you trust to help if your hair is not long enough.

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23 Comments on "Trim Your Hair According to Your Needs"

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roselyn

Hi ,
I’m unsure if I need a trim or not . I cut my hair in 2011 into a short cut. Then I tran­si­tion and let my perm grow out & then cut it . it will be 2years in august & idk if I’m sup­posed to get a trim . I haven’t put Scis­sors to my my hair since . Please help :)

twinpeach

My ends were OUTTA CONTROL dry and frizzy…after attend­ing a NATRUAL mee­tup this wknd and being remind­ed about seal­ing and mois­tur­iz­ing I knew it was necessary…I cut about an inch and plan to be respect­ful to my “elder hair’ by moistu­ruz­ing dai­ly.

Ronnie

I dust my ends every 10 weeks. I have it on my phone so I don’t for­get. I do it while my hair is in twists, and I cut a quar­ter inch off each time. I tried keep­ing my ends nour­ished and in pro­tec­tive styles, but I end­ed up cut­ting an inch in Octo­ber and anoth­er quar­ter inch in Decem­ber. I can stand to lose 1.25 inch­es a year if it means that my hair is health­ier, and since I’d prob­a­bly lose that much any­way with a more major trim, this way doesn’t hurt as much.

mangomadness

I dust (1/4 inch or so) about every 3–4 months on stretched hair (via braid­ing or band­ing). I do this to keep my ends in good con­di­tion. If I didn’t have a psuedeo-sched­ule, I’d for­get and my ends might suf­fer.

HomeGrownHairGirl
I use method #3. I reg­u­lar­ly trim my hair every 3–4 months. That’s usu­al­ly about the time I start notic­ing split ends. I flat iron my hair and trim my hair with shears as I go along (typ­i­cal­ly a half inch to 1 inch).  My hair may be slight­ly short­er than it would be if I didn’t trim on a reg­u­lar basis. How­ev­er, I hate the look of split ends; so it’s worth it just to have healthy look­ing (and feel­ing) hair! The worst is when you see cer­tain YouTu­bers with long hair, but the ends are raggedy and split. Is… Read more »
Anon

Dit­to on the youtu­bers with 20 inch­es of split hair. Of course your hair will grow long if you don’t trim it for 3 years. To me the chal­lenge is retain­ing long lengths with min­i­mal split ends. So to that end, trim­ming is key.

Rou
For over a whole year, I went with­out a trim! I BC’d exact­ly one year ago in DEC ’10, so that was long time to go with­out trim­ming my hair. Final­ly, I decid­ed to flat-iron my hair, so it can be trimmed, as I can­not find any­one who knows how to cut my hair in its nat­u­ral state. I real­ly need­ed a good old-fash­ioned trim/cut, because I had some seri­ous split ends. I lost about 1/2 inch to an 1 inch of hair in the process. It doesn’t both­er me much because its only hair and it will grow back.… Read more »
Chanel

I trim my hair only pressed, but only when it needs it. I have not trimmed it in four months, because it does not need it. If you don’t put a lot of heat or chem­i­cals in your hair, there is no need to trim your hair that often.

Kailyn
I get my hair pro­fes­sion­al­ly cut once every 8 months, and I trim once in between. I’ve just start­ed to do the search and destroy method about four months ago, since I get tons of fairy knots. I think this plan has helped me retain even more length. I always get it cut in it’s nat­u­ral state, and when I trim, I do it in twists, but next time I’m gonna try to do it out, since my styl­ist gave me tons of lay­ers last week, which I’m dig­ging and don’t want to lose the shape. Any tips on how… Read more »
linnie

I’ve been nat­u­ral for 18 months and I’ve only dust­ed my ends twice. I put my hair in twists and dust­ed the ends. I don’t want to risk heat dam­age for any rea­son and I don’t plan to wear my hair straight any more so I don’t care if it isn’t per­fect­ly even. And it still looks good when I wear a ‘fro.

monisola
I trim my hair 2 times a year and take off about half an inch each time. I did a seri­ous trim of like an inch a few weeks ago because I just felt my ends were seri­ous­ly scrag­gly. It is a del­i­cate bal­ance between health and length reten­tion. I hon­est­ly just feel like the fre­quen­cy of the Trim should depend on the con­di­tion of your hair. If you are being mind­ful, you will see when your hair needs some help and trim it. Some­times sched­ules and stead fast RULES are not the best way to go, LISTENING to your… Read more »
The Natural Haven

I agree with you that lis­ten­ing to your hair is best and if you prefer to cut when you see dam­age, that is fine. I do think that the advan­tage of hav­ing a sched­ule is that you cut before dam­age appears or prop­a­gates. Often by the time you see dam­age, it has already been there for a long time.

Ebony

Trim­ming is very impor­tant in my book, and although my hair is very long length is not as impor­tant as neat /healthy ends. I trim about 3 times p/year.

Ola

I’ve had my hair trimmed before in it’s nat­u­ral state and I also got a trim when my hair was blown out. Both times I went to a pro­fes­sion­al because I do not trust myself with cut­ting my own hair. I only trim my hair twice a year. Although I do not put heat on my hair (only when it’s time for a trim), I prefer the blown out method because my hair shrinks when it’s wet. To avoid my hair being uneven I go to my hair styl­ist to blow out my hair when it’t time for a trim.

hyspin
I am start­ing to trim every half a year. I have got­ten both trims done in non-heat­ed state, once while in twist and oth­er after they washed it. I think it was eas­ier for first salon while in the twists, but I think they end up trim­ming cut­ting more hair by default. While the oth­er I got my hair more even and cut less length.  But, find­ing a good salon is key. The last salon end up tan­gling my hair in the wash­ing process, fol­lowed with rip­ping through my hair with a Tan­gle Teez­er (which made me shud­der) and reg­u­lar… Read more »
The Natural Haven

Dust­ing is not a term most hair­dressers under­stand, it is real­ly an online/forum term. I also think a hair­dressers inch is very rel­a­tive for some 3 inch­es is one inch. 

I think when it comes to hair­dress­ing it is bet­ter to be very firm and demon­strate how much you want cut off.

Hope­ful­ly with time more nat­u­ral hair­dressers will be avail­able.

Miz B
Thank you for this post! Can any­one share if they trim in the “nat­u­ral state” or get their hair pressed or flat ironed to trim?? I strug­gle with this because I don’t want to get any heat dam­age! I would rather not go through flat iron­ing. I usu­al­ly get my hair pressed every 4 or 5 months for the trim. That’s about twice a year. I do have a friend who trim’s her hair by doing twists all over then snip­ping her ends. You can see the dam­age after twist­ing, my ends will usu­al­ly be bushy. I’m think­ing of pur­chas­ing my… Read more »
cygnet
I cut the way your friend does, snip­ping off the ends of each twist as I put it in. The most I take off at any time is may­be 1/3–1/2 inch. I gen­er­al­ly do this sea­son­al­ly. My most recent trim ses­sion was last week. I wore those twists until this week, when I undid them to do a yogurt con­di­tion­ing and a reg­u­lar cleans­ing. Now it’s up in two flat twists down the back of my head and anoth­er sec­tion twist­ed in front for a bang that was sup­posed to be twist­ed out but nev­er made it to that point :-).  I… Read more »
Zenith
I start­ed with a pro­fes­sion­al cut about a year ago. I now what would be con­sid­ered “dust” my hair every 3 months. I actu­al­ly part my hair into sec­tions and pro­ceed to trim so that I am sure to get all the ends. I think it actu­al­ly would fal some­where betwee a reg­u­lar trim and your descrip­tion of a dust­ing. I use a pair of shears I bought which I only use for this pur­pose. So, far this has main­tained my hair cut fan­tas­ti­cal­ly. Hope­ful­ly, I will nev­er have to pay for one again. :) It was a great cut,… Read more »
Zenith

Typ­ing on a smart phone is tough for typos!!

Meant to type “I do now what would be … ”

“fall” , “between”, and “state”

I trim my hair in a com­plete­ly stretched state, but not blow dried or straight­ened.

queofques

I press my hair and it still cut wrong it was a total of 4 inch­es and I do it once every 6 months. But it is good 4 some­one else 2 do it or get it done pro­fes­sion­al­ly.

Alexia
I do exact­ly as you do: only trim when my hair is straight (I like hav­ing even, sym­met­ri­cal hair), and only do it about twice a year. I used to go to a wom­an who did an excel­lent job, but she moved, and I’ve fal­l­en out of favor with the wom­an who used to do my press­es. So now I do my own blowouts + flat-iron­ing, and I trim the way my for­mer trim­mer did. I watched her care­ful­ly for four years, and it takes me longer than she did, but as long as I’m care­ful my hair comes out great! I… Read more »
Ola

I’ve had my hair trimmed before in it’s nat­u­ral state and I also got a trim when my hair was blown out. Both times I went to a pro­fes­sion­al because I do not trust myself with cut­ting my own hair. I only trim my hair twice a year. Although I do not put heat on my hair (only when it’s time for a trim), I prefer the blown out method because my hair shrinks when it’s wet. To avoid my hair being uneven I go to my hair styl­ist to blow out my hair when it’t time for a trim.

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