Reader Question: I Haven’t Trimmed My Hair in Years

I got a reader question over the weekend that I thought was a great one to share!

Ambrosia hair trim

Source: Ambrosia’s How To | Trimming Natural Hair
Q: I’m planning on trimming my hair soon because I’ve been having a major problem with breakage and length retention. My hair has been natural my whole life, but for the past two years it’s been stuck at around armpit length. I have never cut or trimmed my hair before, so I figured the breakage issue must have something to do with the split ends that my hair has been accumulating for the past 19 years. I’m probably going to cut the hair myself, so I was wondering if you have any tips based on your past experiences? I have heard different things like there’s a specific type of scissors that I should use and I wasn’t sure whether it’s best to cut the hair when it’s wet or dry… I’m totally out of my element here, so any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks, and sorry for the long message!

A: First off, I don’t know how you have any hair after not trimming for 19 years but you need to be sharing your hair regimen! The main consideration for cutting your hair on your own is that you should try to find hair scissors rather than regular scissors. The wet/dry debate is not as important for you – you really just need to cut those split ends one way or another. However, for kinky textured hair, I think that cutting on dry and stretched hair allows you to cut more evenly. When I go to salons, they blow dry my hair and then cut it, and when I do it on my own, I two strand twist mostly dry hair and then cut based on where the twist thins out. All that said, I actually think you should go to a pro for your first major cut (I anticipate that it will  be a cut, and not a trim), let them really assess the health of your hair and take off whatever needs to go. Then you can do maintenance on your own throughout the year – as someone who doesn’t like to trim often, I aim for four times a year. Hope this is helpful!

Do you agree with my advice? How do you think she should approach her first trim in 19 years?

Share your thoughts...

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  1. Woah. This sounds exactly like me I’m 19 and have had natural hair my whole life. My hair is about armpit length. I didn’t know it had to be trimmed. I can’t afford to go to a “pro” though. I’ll figure it out.

    1. No dear you have to go! It’s really important for your hair health!! There has to be some hairdresser near you who’s knowledgable about natural hair and not super expensive

  2. Yep, totally agree with your advice. Nineteen years is a long time and I share your feelings of surprise that she has as much hair as she does. The professional touch is definitely needed for this first go ’round. Having hair that long, she may want to hold on to hair that may need to go for the sake of length. This first one is sure to be a cut, as you said, but she may even need a pro for the next one or two trims being that she spent so long without one, just to be safe.

  3. A professional cut, after finding someone recommended to you by another natural who’s hair/regimen you like, will be a good starting point. By just sitting in the chair and watching how they handle your hair gives you an idea of what you may or may not have thought would work, but actually wont.