Hair trimming should never be a scary experience, yet some of us still avoid it like the plague. Maybe you’re scared of cutting off too much. Or perhaps you simply don’t know how to do it. Regardless of your reasoning, maintaining optimal hair health requires it. And since we’re still on our New Year high, there’s no better time than now for a quick refresher on how to do it. It’s certainly not rocket science, but there are a few key things to keep in mind before grabbing the shears, especially if you plan on doing it yourself.
If you’re trimming for the first time in awhile, knowing when to do it is a no-brainer. According to Head & Shoulders Celebrity Stylist Sunnie Brook Jones, “your hair is hard to manage – lifeless, doesn’t hold a style or your curls lack bounce and body.”
She also says, “If you’re having to put much more effort into making your hair look good, then your cut has probably lost its shape or your damaged ends are weighing your hair down.”
And according to celebrity hairstylist and Co-Founder of Society Salons, Sam DiVine, textural changes, overall dryness and split ends are other culprits to keep an eye on. However, keep in mind that the latter is almost impossible to reverse without a trim since it fractures the internal hair shaft.
“There are treatments that can repair the interior structure of the hair and help repair split ends, but you have to make a habit of using them to see success,” says Jones. “I use Head & Shoulders Repair & Protect Shampoo and Conditioner in the shower to repair my hair from heat damage, making it stronger and less likely to have split ends which lead to breakage.”
DiVine’s go-to product for preventing the damage that precedes a trim is Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue. “A pump or two (depending on your length and density) will not only heal the hair from the inside out, but it will give a protective layer between your hair and the elements.”
Another important factor of hair trimming is knowing when to do it. Different experts will give you varying options, but anywhere from 6-10 weeks is the general rule of thumb.
“Get regular trims with your hairdresser every 6-8 weeks and your hair will be healthy,” says Jones. “The drier your hair gets, the more likely it is to split. Think of a piece of frayed yarn…it is more likely to unravel and become more and more fuzzy if the end isn’t trimmed Health ends equal growth!”
If you’re growing out your hair, see a stylist every 10-12 weeks instead. And if you bleach and tone, have heavy highlights or get frequent blowouts, DiVine says you can adhere to the 6-8 week rule or consult with your stylist for a custom schedule. The texture of your hair also factors into how often you cut your ends. Typically, those with coarser hair don’t need to do it as frequently as those with finer strands.
How to Trim
One of the biggest mistakes we make when trimming is not doing it enough. Avoiding the process will only lead to more damage and in-turn, force you to cut more than you’d like once you actually do cave-in.
DiVine says, “After trims are a part of your routine, they can be switched to dustings, a borderline microscopic haircut that only dusts the ends leaving hair healthy and fresh. I find that most women aren’t doing trims often enough, causing them to get a little more off at a time.”
And although every stylist has his or her own method, Jones says that trimming hair while it’s wet is a surefire way to set your hair up for failure.
“I prefer to cut on dry hair because I believe ‘wet hair lies,'” she says. “When your hair is wet, it stretches more and the water molecules can make the hair appear to be more hydrated than it really is. When the hair is dry, you can see every single strand in its truest form and assess the situation in more detail, which allows you to deliver a more customized trim.”
An easy hack for keeping yourself on a healthy schedule is to work with a stylist instead of doing it at home and pre-book your appointments in advance.
“I’m a big proponent of developing relationships with stylists. Many of us have gotten a haircut in the past that makes us reach for the shears ourselves, but the result of a beautiful haircut crafted specifically for you is magic,” says DiVine. “The goal is to find the right stylist. Research Instagram for work you like, set up multiple consultations with different stylists and ask plenty of questions to start building a relationship with the right person for you.”
On the other hand, if you’d rather do it on your own, Jones says to start by purchasing a proper pair of trimming shears from the beauty supply store. “Twist the ends of your hair and cut into the strands–not across,” she says. “This will give you a soft finish on your ends and also easily trim off the areas that are dry and split that may lead to damage.”
Keep these tips in mind before your next appointment; they’ll make or break the health or your hair.