Hey you guys! November's blog post is all about trimming your hair! What does it mean to trim? Why do we need to trim our hair? How can you tell when it's time for a trim? And, then, after being armed with all of this information, how do you do the darn thing?! All of these questions and more will be answered to the best of my ability, so keep reading!
Hair trimming, or dusting, is a process of cutting the ends from your hair, hopefully before split ends even form. Split ends are the damaged parts of the tips of your hair strand which can be caused by over-manipulation, heat damage, color damage, improper products or just general wear and tear. Split ends manifest themselves in various forms:
- one hair split into two or more
- white dots at the tip of the hair
- single strand knots
It's important to know that trimming your hair will not increase the pace at which your hair grows (the ends of your hair have nothing to do with the follicles in your scalp!); it will however help to retain length, make your hair easier to style and improve your hair's appearance.
When a split end forms, it is just getting started! That bad boy won't stop until it has split all the way up the hair shaft wreaking havoc the entire time - causing frizz, weakening the hair shaft and causing breakage. The only way to stop the madness is to cut off the split end. It's best to trim the hair before split ends even form so that less hair has to be cut - this is especially important if your goal is to retain length.
There are actually a few philosophies on this:
1 - Trim every X months. Most curlies who follow a schedule trim somewhere between every 2-4 months. The risk with this philosophy is that you may trim too early, cutting off perfectly healthy hair - a detriment to someone who is trying to grow out their hair.
2 - Search and destroy - this is a "trim as you go" method. Each day, few days, week or whenever the mood strikes you, take a few minutes and go looking for split ends. When you find them, trim them off. The risk with this method is that it is quite sporadic and you might miss some split ends that need nixing.
3 - "Listen to your hair". This method encourages you to be on high alert for signs that your hair is need of a trim and to then take action. The rationale behind this theory is that you'll prevent yourself from unnecessarily trimming your hair, sacrificing the healthy ends with the damaged ones, thus allowing your hair to retain more length. The risk here is that you'll wait too long to trim and have to trim more than you would have needed had you been following a schedule. If you choose to go this route, here are a few telltale signs that it's time for a trim:
Tangles - The ends of your hair keep getting wrapped up into one another.
Your hair's shape out of whack - Your layers are off-balance, one side of your hair is longer than the other.
You have single-strand knots - Single-strand knots or "fairy knots" form when a single hair tangles upon itself. These little devils are brutal because they invite innocent strands to the party, getting them tangled up in the mix. You'll notice more of these when it's time for a trim.
Your curls are limp - Your curls are weighed down and lack life.
Your hair is shedding more than usual - you'll find yourself pulling out perfectly healthy hairs while wrestling with the rats nest that is becoming your hair.
Your hair is just more difficult to style - enough said.
I personally employ a combination of methods 1 and 3. I have a recurring event on my calendar - every 3 months, it's time for a trim! HOWEVER if before the 3 month mark occurs, I notice some of the signs above, I may choose to trim early. Or, if I hit the 3 month mark and have noticed none of the aforementioned signs, I may choose to wait an addtional week or two.
How to Trim your Hair?
So, here's where things get interesting. In doing my research for this blog post, I found approximately 16 million methods on how to go about trimming your hair! Fortunately, they all had one piece of advice in common: Get yourself a good, sharp pair of scissors! This means, don't be tempted to venture into your junk drawer and pull out the same pair of scissors that you used last week when helping your child with his art project! Those scissors really aren't good for cutting hair, and they will actually do more harm than good - since they are not designed to cut hair, they'll leave a blunt or ragged edge that can create additional split ends! Instead, get yourself a pair of styling shears, like these from Tweezerman, which were made for cutting hair and work on both wet and dry hair:
Here are a few YouTube videos that I like that give step-by-step instructions on how to trim your hair. There are PLENTY of others out there, so if you don't like these, you'll find a plethora to choose from on the world wide web!:
Coily & Kinky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=3IPNYJpq7pU
So, hopefully, you found this post helpful and can use it to craft your own trimming philosophy! If you have any tips on trimming that you'd like to share with the curly community, please comment below!