OK sooooo… I confess, I haven’t washed my hair (as in a full-on wash day) for perhaps slightly over a month. Partly because I’ve been being lazy about it, partly because… well, no, that’s pretty much it. What finally lit a fire under me was the idea of a month’s worth of shedding and the cherry knots formulating at some of my ends in the back from stretching my twist-n-blow. Surprisingly, detangling wasn’t tough at all, not after I grabbed my Denman. After a month without detangling or washing, I had the nerve to pick up a comb first like it was really gon do sum’m. I detangled a quarter of my hair (mostly the looser sections in the front, mind you) before finally realizing that that one little row of widely spaced teeth was simply not going to cut it without me being in the shower all night and still missing smaller knots wide-tooth combs often miss.
Anyway, while I was washing and observing my curl pattern, I thought about how long it had been since my last trim and whether I really even needed one. At a recent point in my journey, I became somewhat obsessed with eliminating split ends and incomplete splits. Every time I saw one, I broke out the scissors and cut about 3/4 in. I was trimming faster than I was growing, which of course wasn’t at all conducive length retention. Obviously. It has been said numerous times that one should cut their hair every four to six months, but that time frame doesn’t seem to account for variables, such as manipulation, dye jobs, or general care of the hair as factors in the frequency of trimming. I had to stop and think, “Is it even possible to completely do away with split ends?” I say no, and I try not to worry too much about them when I see them now, but while washing I began to wonder, “When SHOULD I trim if split ends are unavoidable and completely obliterating them is a pipe dream?” So I did some research and decided to share what I found for those who may be wondering the same thing.
You may need a trim if…
You use a lot of heat. When you use direct heat on your hair, such as a blow dryer or flat iron frequently, your hair is stripped of the natural sebum, which makes it more prone to dryness, breakage, and splits. High heat settings can also heat up the moisture in your hair to the boiling point and cause cuticles to melt or burst, leaving behind much breakage and incomplete splits. The damage done to the cuticles during use of heat styling tools also can also cause a loss of curl pattern with serious damage or an unwanted elongation with milder damage. In the most severe cases, excessive direct heat can completely melt your hair off. Please be careful about the settings on your heat styling tools and ALWAYS use a heat protectant.
Your hair is breaking and/or you see an abundance of splits. If your ends are snapping off left and right, you definitely need to trim to keep your ends healthy. The points where your hair breaks are weakened and the cuticle coverage is uneven and unable to hold together well enough to properly lock in moisture in order to keep the strand healthy. The ends must be cleanly trimmed above the damage, moisturized, and sealed in order to preserve them.
You wear your hair out/down often or use towels to dry your hair. The friction of your hair against your clothing and exposure to the elements causes drying and fraying. It’s the same case with using towels to dry your hair. The fibers cause more friction against your hair and can lead to breakage. Use a silk or satin scarf to keep your ends from brushing against your clothing and instead of wearing your hair out, try utilizing styles that hide your ends. Bypass the towel and use a cotton T-shirt to gently squeeze the water out of your hair. Do not rub or tousle your hair, only squeeze the excess water out to prevent unnecessary friction.
You color treat your hair with chemicals. Chemical coloring increases the porosity of hair, which if not properly tended to can result in a ton of breakage. It is important to trim and use a protein treatment after coloring and to be exceptionally diligent in treating the area colored with extra moisture and making certain that moisture is sealed with an oil.
You don’t seal your ends. Hair is dead and the ends of your hair are the oldest part so they must be carefully preserved by retaining moisture and protecting them as much as possible or they will become damaged and break. Moisturizing and sealing your hair with an oil to prevent the loss of that moisture keeps your ends from drying out and becoming frail and brittle. As an extra precautionary measure, rinse your hair with cold water after conditioning. This causes the cuticles to lie flat and tighten, effectively sealing in the moisture within the strand and decreasing the likelihood of breakage, particularly at the points where the strand curls.
Your ends are severely feathered. Take your index and middle finger, grab a small section, and smooth the hair from the roots to just above the ends. Do they look uneven or start off thick then drastically taper? Can you clearly see through the gathering of your ends? Do your ends fail to curl even after wetting them? If so, your ends are damaged and you need a trim. A little tapering is normal, but extremely thin, uneven tapering are cause for concern and should be properly trimmed up to the healthy portion of hair.
After getting the answers I needed, it is indeed time for a trim. I’ve been being naughty and wearing my hair out or down a LOT lately. I’m off to wash, trim, and protective style. Peace & Love
P.S. WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE MORE FEATURED NATURALS OF ALL HAIR TYPES! IF INTERESTED, PLEASE CLICK THE “Be Featured” LINK TO YOUR LEFT FOR MORE INFORMATION.