My natural hair journey has been going insanely well for the past three years. And this is significant since despite helming a hair blog called ‘Black Girl with Long Hair’ I, in fact, *did not* have long hair for a very long time. I still don’t, but at 14 inches since my second big chop in April 2014, I’m doing pretty damn good.

It seems the length just keeps on coming.

After 8 tortured years of testing and trying every routine under the sun, of learning — through countless misadventures — the unique ways my fine 4b/4c curls behave, I finally assembled a routine that has resulted in strong, shiny hair, healthy ends and consistent length. Like seriously, my shed hairs are as hardy as pieces of twine. I could use them to create a rope if necessary.

And maybe I got a little too cocky. I started dropping the, ‘Well if you cut it off it will just grow back. Hair grows you know.’ in conversations. I got used to women at the salon craning to see my length whenever my stylist did a blow out. I got used to the wide eyed, ‘You did the big chop just three years ago!’ when asked about my hair journey. And you know what they say — pride comes before a fall and, in this case, an excessive trim.

The last time I trimmed my hair was three months ago. Sounds long, doesn’t it? Not in the world of low-manipulation and regular deep conditioning.

Let’s switch to some hair talk here…

The question of trimming is a heated one in the natural hair community. Many mainstream salons (that service all races of women) will tell you that anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks is the proper time frame depending on whether your hair is color treated or you use heat frequently. But many naturals swear by search and destroy and/or paying attention to the feel of your ends and responding appropriately. Ends that are split, heavily knotted, don’t curl easily, or feel thrashed and dry need to go.

I keep my hair in braids (using my own hair) for 4 to 6 weeks at a time, with up to 1 month of wash and go’s in between, depending on the humidity. This Brooklyn humidity is on ten, so I’ve been doing my braiding seshes back to back. My ends were smooth, soft, retaining moisture incredibly well and honestly, felt like butta. All I really needed was a search and destroy Instead, I decided to do a full on, ‘whole head’ trim.

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and started snipping. After a few minutes I stopped to examine the ends I was cutting. Like, honestly, there was not ONE frayed or split end to be seen. And maybe a couple knots. Yet I was cutting half to 3/4 inch pieces at a time. But I persisted. I told myself, ‘Imagine how full and thick your next wash and go will be!’

By the time I was about 75% of the way through I knew for certain the trim was a mistake and all I was really doing was eliminating my length.


After it was over I didn’t have the emotional energy to deal with what I’d just done so I went right to sleep.

The next morning I woke up and my braids looked visibly shorter. Every time I pulled my fingers through I could FEEL the last inch or so of my hair missing. So here I am, cycling through horror and denial.


I mean, at least my new ends are great. But I think this officially qualifies as my first hair mishap of 2017.


Have you ever ‘over-trimmed’? Tell me about it so I feel better :/

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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29 Comments on "I Over-Trimmed My Natural Hair and Now I’m in a Glass Case of Emotion"

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Great writing…and what a connection I felt!!! My big sister just took me to get a trim at a “curly salon” as a treat. I noticed that my ends were getting tangled more often, and I hadn’t had a trim in about a year, but my hair felt significantly longer than it had last summer. Needless to say, although I asked for a trim and not a cut, I came out feeling like it was a mistake. It’s healthier, maybe…but the pieces that had finally started laying on my back and grazing my shoulders are back around my chin and… Read more »

I’m here in the dentist reception cracking up while reading this lol so funny!
Maybe 3 or so weeks ago I got a trim because my stylist recommended one a good few months ago. So I get the trim and a lot was snipped off. I suck it up. I go to the stylist again a week later for just a wash and she’s saying I need a trim ? I said I just got one last week, here!! Turns out my ends just don’t like the blow-dryer. An inch worth of lesson right there ?


i also did this, incrementally, because i didn’t know the difference between dry ends and split ends. but unlike you, it took me three years to learn. lol. i’m way behind the growth curve as a result.

alison hilaire

LOOOL ! I love the way you wrote this, so hilarious. I never had this problem because I never trim my hair. When I go to a salon, I go for a haircut, a shape. With a great shape my hair will always look better to me even if it’s shorter. I tried to dust my hair myself before but it was always an epic fail: ends looking more raggedy than before…smh…So now I go to a good salon for a shape, it’s expensive but it’s properly done!


I overtrimmed about 3 days ago for the same reasons. I’m at the point where I believe my hair will never grow again. I’m still experimenting with regimens. I can’t seem to make up my mind. This 4c life is hard

When I big chopped for the third time two years ago and was finally ready to grow my hair out forreal, I was so hung up on getting making sure my hair grew and was healthy that I ended up getting trims too often (try every 10 weeks). Little did I know that getting my hair trimmed every 10 weeks wasn’t really doing it any justice, or my pockets! I then decided to try getting it trimmed every 12 weeks and now every 16 weeks as my regimen is pretty solid. I also recently got my hair trimmed by a… Read more »
Jasmine Russell
Yes this same thing happened to me back in November of 2016! I figured well it’s been awhile since I’ve trimmed my hair let’s get rid of all these dead ends but all I was really doing is cutting length! By the next day my hair that touched my chest was now hair that barley touched my shoulders! It was a disaster! Ever since then I haven’t picked up a pair of scissors! Just be patient put your mind on something else it will grow back before you know it! In the mean time get rid of the scissors lol!… Read more »
La Bandita

I am my mother’s daughter an DO NOT got to the salon for a hair cut, because that’s what you go – a hair cut. I let my mom or cousin do it, when it’s dry AND only a tiny, tiny bit – because that’s a trim. My hair is long and grows fast since I DO NOT let any one cut it – only a trim.

Theresa Morgan

I don’t trim my hair myself (thankfully that’d be a whole mess) but I went to the salon about a month ago where the girl doing my hair cut off 5 inches while doing my silk press….and I’m still extremely pressed


Oh wow , how was the health of your hair after your “trim” ? Are you sure you didnt need that much cut off and didnt realize?


I had the exact same thing happen to me about 2 yes ago. I asked for a trim and then my hair had been chopped off. I was irate for a while.


Lol I remember being in a glass case of emotion when I finally got my hair to grow and I thought I needed to clip my “ends” often. One day I noticed the left side of my hair was growing faster than my right. I took it upon myself to “trim” my hair even. HUGE MISTAKE! Hair was looking crazy! My natural fro was lopsided. Needless to say I haven’t cut my hair since, I got to a professional to clip my ends when needed and shrinkage is my friend. You are not alone.

Kheri Phillip

I screamed at the theatrical experience this post provided! It was so darn funny, not that you went to far with the shears though. 🙁

I too am dealing with this after my tapered cut went horribly wrong after 7 months of growth, I had to big chop! I had 6 inches of hair in that time span while taking thyroid meds. The silver lining… ….it will grow back!

Ashanti Stewart

Girrrrllll…..after 8 years, locs, and 2 Big chops, trimming is HIGHLY overrated to me…I just had this conversation with my step daughter who keeps on trying to grow her natural hair (God bless her y’all)…. anybody who wants to grow their hair out, stop trimming, or only as necessary…such as a knot you can’t untangle and that’s all folks… feel better girl and put down the scissors lol!!! ??????


Leila, for what it’s worth: At least you can still braid. I’ve kept my hair short for the last couple of years and have been enjoying the ease of WNGs but the last haircut I got was basically an undercut instead of a taper. It took a while but I eventually got used to it, telling myself that not only does hair grow back, my hair’s always grown back. However, growing out an undercut is no joke. Shrinkage is truly my friend right now, lol. Hang in there.


Yes! I’ve been growing my hair out for the past 4 years. I had reached 17 inches and decided to cut my hair in “layers”. The cut was sooooo uneven. I had to cut some more to fix it. Now I’m barely at 11 inches. I’m so disappointed in myself right now… and it’s still not even.


Ha ha I just did that two days ago!! We’ll get through it together, I promise! 🙂 At least my ends are clean now though…

Courteney T
Be of good courage my friend… About 6 months ago I bought my first pair of hair shears to rid my heat damaged strait ends. I’ve been natural (4b/4c) for about 4 years but ditched the blowouts & press&curls since Nov 2016. Now i know why stylists like to cut hair…something about feeling the shears slice through hair i think actually kicks in endorphins…over the course of 2 months my search & destroy resulted in “very” short (unintentional) bangs and a couple of small sections shorter than 3 inches :l (thank God for flat twists & straight pins) i am… Read more »
Oh there are so many horror stories. I’m always seeing women critiquing other women for not trimming their hair often, making fun of those who are trying to grow out their hair with what appears to be thin ends. I decided to trim my hair hoping to get the nice thick blunt ends and the same thing happen to me. I realized that although some of my ends were longer than other parts of my hair, they were healthy ends! But I clipped them anyway and regretted it sooooooo much. I no longer do that. I only clip when needed… Read more »
Be glad you can grow 14 inches of hair! Treasure every inch because when you hit menopause and or the 60s and 70s you may lose that ability. VERY FEW of the women that I know who are natural and over 50 have the nice thick heads of hair like they did years ago ;many of them relaxed for decades & suffered scalp damage & they look very ” scalpy ” & some are actually BALD with peach fuzz. . Health problems , heredity & medication can cause this but I’ve read that many women’s hair just thins because their… Read more »
Kathleen Smith

Wrong. I am 61, have waistlength hair and have never felt so vibrant in my life. I padt menpuse at 48, And I donot trim my hair. I just let it grow.


I am officially menopausal as of this month and while my hair isn’t as thick as it was when I went natural in my 30s, you really can’t tell because of how I wear it (tapered ‘fro that I WNG pretty much exclusively). Simple hormone change is the culprit for many women our age. I agree that overprocessing and too-tight weaves and braids accelerate hair loss for some.

A Simple Thing

Always. In fact, I’ve just stopped trimming now because I always make a mess of it. Every time I think about cutting my hair, I put some butter on my hair and leave it alone.
Me and my straggly looking ends are riding this stubborn train to Winter of ’17.
I literally “WAH”ed out loud in empathy when I read your story. Like rappers of great wealth, we forget the struggle that got us here and end up with disaster.
And although I’m not an Anchorman fan, I loved your use of the gifs!

Kathleen Smith

Iam 61, ended menpause at 48, ( 15 long years of it), and my hair is waistlength. I do no frying, dyeing or laying tocthe side. I have very few gray hairs, and I am all natural.


@Kathleen Smith – Wow very few grays hairs at 61? Incredible! Other than it being hereditary, having a healthy mind, body and applying proper hair care practices, do you think it also has something to do with diet? Are there specific foods to eat or avoid in order to minimize gray hair?


Yep, earlier this year…I was so sad and disappointed. I was about to start a long distance protective style that would last 2-3 months only to grow out my mistake of cutting way too much. 4 months later and I’m still pissed.

Araina Schreckengost

I think you can rest assure that your hair will grow back but I can only imagine the horror you felt not having the extra hair that you used to. You have been on this hair journey for so long (8-years) that you should know that with proper handling of your hair you will have your length once again if not more.