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?
A:
 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?
A:
 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?
A:
 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?
A:
 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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33 Comments on "Does Trimming Hair Actually Make it Grow Faster?"

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Lydia

I had a blunt half inch cut from my 13 inch shoulder length hair, and i love it. Looks fuller. I have fine, relaxed, African-American hair. My ends were looking thin and raggedy.

Amber jambs
Hello, I hope this works for me but, I’ve had some seriously bad moments with trimming my hair. i went to a Salon and the woman who did my hair was cool but, she obvi didnt know anything about black hair. She kept teasing my hair trying to figure up what to do and then cut like 4inches of my hair. I havent been right since D..=!!!!I mean emphasis on it was my childhood hair that I lost for the first time and I’m 20 so I’ll never get back for years when I’m all old and ugly and will… Read more »
Maidei Janda

where can i get my short afro hair trimmed with a professional hairdresser in london please help

Monday omoye

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Asia

I only trim when my ends feel rough, and that’s usually twice a year at the most. It all depends on your hair and how it grows. Everyone’s trimming routine will vary just as hair growth varies. Here’s a few of my hair pictures: http://knotsoknappy.weebly.com/my-natural-hair-journey.html

stephanie

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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Funmi

my hair almost never splits, its the single strand knots i mostly worry about and i only trim them off when they get really annoying and i can feel them at the ends

ambi

yes folks trim for “even and more polished looking hair” i’m okay with that I just wish they would admit it and SAY that is why instead of pretending it’s making their hair healthier or grow faster…it’s not, I haven’t had a real TRIM in about 3 years when a stylist against my wishes took off about two inches I’m almost at my waist length goal got about an 1.5 inch to go and once I reach it I MIGHT think about a trim

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[…] you missed this informative post by Jc, please do read it.  The bottom line is that trimming does not make the hair grow faster.  […]

Make Hair Grow Longer Faster

There is no quick fix for fast hair growth. Your hair grows in cycles. The best way to make get longer hair is to keep it healthy. You can do this by washing your hair to keep the follicle clean and clog free and to keep your scalp moisturize. Also take care of split ends. It’s not that your hair isn’t growing fast enough. It might just be that the rate of breakage is faster than the rate of hair growth. So, controlling breakage should be the priority.

Jo Somebody

I trim SSKs when I’m too lazy to baggy them away. Otherwise trims will not happen and my hair will grow. I try to look after my ends.
Relaxed or natural, I’ve searched and I’ve searched and I’ve never seen a split end. I just don’t get it! But I’m not complaining! When relaxed, my issue was thinning ends, so I trimmed when needed then (rarely). Now natural, my issue is SSKs, so I trim when needed now (more often because I self-trim now whereas I salon-trimmed before).

goyta
one thing i think is that if you’re trying to grow your hair long, your ends will not always look perfect all the time. we tend to push ourselves to trim often when it’s not particularly necessary. it’s solely for aesthetics. if none of us ever cut our hair, imagine how many long heads of hair we’d see running around in our community. now, what the hair might actually look like would be another story altogether lol but no doubt, we would all have the length that we desire. so i think that we struggle to achieve a kind of… Read more »
JO

“imagine how many long heads of hair we’d see running around in our community. now, what the hair might actually look like would be another story altogether lol ” –

That made me smile i wonder too LOL

Jo
Trimming is helpful for maintaining your length if you are not growing out your hair or for getting rid of damaged/tapered ends. Personally for me,i will not trim just for the sake of my ends looking perfect as my hair is worn mostly in curly styles where that isn’t an issue. Split ends cannot be eliminated but you can be minimized through a common sense approach. At the moment I’m aiming for a particular length goal so will not trim until then.If needed i will dust the ends. The pressure to trim often come from the stylists and sometimes from… Read more »
Ashley

+1

Marie

Another thing, if you don’t trim with hair scissors or properly sharpened scissors, it may lead to more split ends.

april

My ends were really split and my hair was breaking pretty bad so until I can get to the salon for a trim I applied an Aphogee two step protein treatment. Its one of the best best products for damaged hair. It stopped my hair from splitting and breaking after one use. I then applied olive oil and Kinky curly custard and my hair feels and looks healthy again.

merry
Q: How do I know my hair has been trimmed enough? A: 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!) i sort of believe that if you’re not careful, the process of trimming could lead to more splits. i don’t think it’s necessarily the case that you didn’t cut enough at the time. so,… Read more »
T.

But it’s not the trimming itself that caused that, it was her rough treatment of your hair after the trim.

merry

she combed/handled my dry hair before the trim. i feel like she started the process of further weakening some of the strands.

Yaasha
I end up doing the whole dusting and search-and-destroy method more than most because I don’t really have the luxury of time to put my hair into protective styles, so I wear my hair out every day. I’m a performer in a market that’s not too receptive of hairstyles that are perceived as overtly afro-centric, so my safest style is having all my hair out because it looks more “Brazilian” that way (I’m a samba dancer). I search and destroy every time I detangle, and I dust every month because I have color-treated hair that will be pretty angry with… Read more »
Landry

I think it all depends on how much wear and tare one places on her hair–that is a mouthful, huh? For example, if you don’t use direct heat on your hair, or you protective style often, you may not need to trim as often as a someone who blow dries often and/or is constantly manipulating the hair. Just a thought…

Chefjones09

I am glad that this artical was posted. From what I have learned is the more you do to your hair depends on when you should trim. Like for example after or before getting a press out the heat can do some slight damage to the hair so trimming can help. also if you color your hair with a non natural hair dye it is helpful that you trim every few weeks just to keep it from looking to crunchy on the ends.

mlank64
Frankly,I just dust and do “search and destroy” and that seems to be enough for me. My hair seems to be thriving very well and looks healthy. I think it comes down to aesthetics. Some naturals like an even more polished look. I think hair growth naturally grows uneven and if you like a more even look than cut whenever necessary. But, as long as you keep hair moisturized and dust off ends when necessary, I still don’t think you need to arbitrarily cut the ends in an attempt to “grow your hair”. Growth comes from the roots, retention is… Read more »
Jo

+1

Vonnie

I’m glad they clarified in the article because the article heading can be misleading and feed into that old wives tale, lol.

I trim, dust, whatever you wanna call it my hair about every 6 months. I take good care of my hair, and ends, so that is a good time frame for me. I was once researching natural salons in the MD area and one speicified that in order for the hair to be kept healthy you MUST trim ends every 4-6 weeks. I exited that site quicker than you could blink.

Bumper

Interesting article. I understand that cutting/trimming the hair when it is damaged can lead to length retention in the long run as the hair is no longer breaking, but I’ve yet to be convinced that trimming on its own for no other apparent reason causes the hair to grow (although it does neaten up your style). I last cut my ends 17 months ago and my hair has continued to grow healthy and strong without additional trimming. I should add that I use very little heat and mostly wear two strand twists.

Vonnie

You’re right, it doesn’t. It simply keeps damaged ends at bay, protecting the rest of your hair. I wonder when that old wives tale will die out lol.

Ashley
Agreed. JC mentions that trimming when your ends are tapered is helpful. For me, I’m not trimming anything until I actually see SPLITS. And lots of them. Trimming excessively = trimming excessively. Point blank. I haven’t gotten a “real” trim in over a year, and I do search and destroys when needed (a few times a year). I have over 14 in of hair. If I was trimming a 1/2 inch every 3 or 4 months, I’d be cutting off up to one-third of my growth every season. It would have taken me three times as long to get to… Read more »
Monzi

Great article!

@missmaplecherry

Wow! Nice one there. I’ve been thinking of whether to trim or not. Especially as I read in another blog that trimming should be done once a year.
My hair is relaxed anyway but shoulder length. I just may let them trim the ends during my next trip to the Salon.
Nice one. Xx

Calandra
Thank you SO much for this article! I was just having this discussion with my stylist the other night. I have been natural for 13 months, and I have had only 2 trims in that time period. We agreed that I don’t need as many trims as I had when I was relaxed, but we agreed that trimming provides the same positive effects whether relaxed or natural. The reason we got into this discussion is that I had read on SEVERAL natural hair blogs/sites/FB pages, that naturals shouldn’t be “fooled” into thinking that we needed trims. A perfect example of… Read more »
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