Trimming Natural Hair: Do I really need to trim my ends?

Yes. No…well, maybe. As a young girl with relaxed hair, I was told that my ends must be trimmed about every 8 weeks, or after every perm, which at the time made sense because I had split ends and I didn’t want my hair to continue to split and my hair to be damaged and break! Whew! There was also a great myth held that if you trimmed your hair, it would grow…now let’s take a few steps back and think about this: cutting away hair can stimulate growth? I don’t think so. So then what are the main reasons for a trim, when should it be done and how?

The main reason to do a trim is to cut away damaged ends, which is sometimes difficult to detect on natural hair. My trim indicator is when I begin to experience a lot of single strand knots, tangles or when my ends feel extremely dry and brittle, no matter how much I moisturize.

Trimming hair has more to do with it’s health and appearance, and less to do with how many weeks or months it’s been since the last trim. For natural hair, a trim does not need to be done every 8 weeks. It’s one of those things you play by ear..or by hair 😀  When my reasons as stated above begin to become very apparent, I trim. Typically about about every 3 to 4 months. Now this timing will vary depending on several factors such as daily hair care, how often hair tangles, how well the ends are protected, whether it’s damaged by products or heat, etc.

Now the biggest question is HOW? In the past, I have straightened my hair to trim. But what I have learned from  Davis-Sivasothy, author of  The Science of Black Hair, is that trimming hair straightened may not be the best option because when it is trimmed, it will look nice and even. But once you decide to wear it in its natural shrunken state, your “used to be even” afro may begin to appear choppy, I have experienced this first hand.  A great suggestion she gives is to trim hair in the style that you mostly wear. So if you usually straighten your natural hair, trim it straightened. If you usually wear wash-n-go’s, twist outs, and braid outs, then trim it in that state. When hair is worn in more natural styles, the goal for trimming is to keep the ends from tangling and to cut away single strand knots. When natural hair is worn mostly straight, the goal for trimming is usually to make hair even and cut away split ends.

Have you ever trimmed your hair while it was wet? If so, you may be doing more damage than you think. Davis-Sivasothy describes cutting hair wet like cutting a piece of paper while it is wet. Try to envision this…that sheet of paper is not going to have a clean cut and it will be easier to damage.  The same happens to hair when it is trimmed in this way.

Well ladies, hope you learned a bit about trimming. If you never trimmed your own hair before, give it a shot! I’ve posted a video(link below) on how I trim my hair. Some may even call it “dusting,” which is trimming such a minute amount of hair, that it looks like dust! So let me leave you with two important tips for trimming:

1. Use ONLY hair shears! Make sure they are sharp so you can have a clean cut.(only use them on human hair so they don’t get dull)…I got mine from Sally’s Beauty Supply


For and even deeper discussion on trimming hair, check out The Science of Black Hair!

Thanks for reading and check out my video!!!  ***   ***


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