Does Trimming Hair Actually Make it Grow Faster?

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By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

Here is some food for thought! Trimming could allow your hair to attain a longer length. It sounds strange but what my fellow lab rats discovered is that hair will grow until it reaches a critical length when it appears to grow slowly or not at all (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg 155-75, 1978.).

To understand why this happens, I will start by explaining why hair starts to taper (meaning the strand becomes thinner as it gets farther away from the scalp). Simply put, the cuticle wears away. Remember that the cuticle is not just one layer, it has several layers to it (jog your memory by clicking here).

As the hair grows from scalp to tip, the damage to the cuticle increases because the hair at the tip is older and has been subjected to more torture (combing, wetting, drying, roller setting, heat setting……..etc).

Cutting the tip of the hair off may be an excellent way to possibly trigger a new longer length.

Q: So why trim hair if you want longer hair?
 Trimming hair when growth appears to be slow or stagnant can allow hair to reach a new longer length (read the first part here!). When the cuticle layer (outside covering of the hair) is thinned down, it no longer offers as much protection to the internal cortex. The hair at the end therefore becomes a split end hot spot (see the diagram below!!)

Q: How much hair should be trimmed?
 The first trim depends on damage. All thinning ends ideally should be cut off, this could be an inch or it could be 5 inches. Naturally it is a very personal decision if the hair cut could result in a significant appearance change, in which case you can be more conservative and just do several small chops.

Q: How often should hair be trimmed?
 After the first trim, you can choose to let the hair grow and trim as little or as much as you like. If you are interested in getting to a new longer length then logically, you have to trim less than your hair grows. If you work on the half an inch a month growth rate, then cutting half an inch every 3 to 4 months may be logical.

Q: How do I know my hair has been trimmed enough?
 I can only give a subjective answer to this question. I would say that after a trim, if you notice many split ends soon after, then you probably did not trim enough. If you trimmed enough, your hair should not split as much or as often as before (at least this is my theory!)

What is your view on trimming? Is trimming just cutting hair or is it useful?

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The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


31 thoughts on “Does Trimming Hair Actually Make it Grow Faster?

  1. I believe everybody’s hair is different. I’m a black woman with natural hair just started wearing it natural about 2 years ago. I have bangs, and flat iron once a week. I noticed that I needed to trim my bangs very often. And that’s when I realized if I trim my hair it grows more. So I now I’ll trim my hair once a month. My bangs seem to need it a little more often than that.. and boy is my hair growing! finally I haveat 43, I have figured it out!

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