How to Know When It’s Time to Trim Your Natural Hair

Hair scientists, stylists, and bloggers debate on how often one should trim their natural hair, but one thing is for certain: healthy ends are essential to having healthy hair! Regardless of how often you plan to trim your hair, there are a few signs that you should bring out the hair shears sooner rather than later — coming from someone who’s had to deviate from her trim schedule twice in the past six months!

Detangling is a Nightmare

This is the main sign that trips me off, and this happened a few weeks ago while I was trying to braid up my hair before bed. It was a serious uphill battle to part and then detangle my hair because the ends just continued to knot up on one another. If your hair is properly moisturized and your detangling session is abnormally inconvenient, you may need to snip a little to give your hair the boost that it needs with some fresh ends.

Your Twistout Looks Raggedy

Replace twist out with braid out or bantu knot out or wash and go… whatever style is your standard go-to will look a little off if your ends aren’t in good shape. For me, when my hair is in need of a trim, my twist outs will be uncharacteristically frizzy, or my ends will stick out quite a bit. If your ends are significantly thinner than the rest of your hair, it’s hard to achieve that voluminous look that natural hair often privileges us to.

Can you spot the times I needed a trim?
Your Ends Won’t Curl Up

Particularly after doing the most with heat, you might notice that your ends don’t curl or kink up like they used to, and you’re forced to roll them or disguise them to blend with the rest of your hair. Most likely my dear, you have heat damage, and unfortunately, it’s an irreversible condition. Sulk for all of five minutes but then get right to trimming! Holding onto heat damaged ends makes it difficult for styles to really flourish, so you’ll continue having to braid and curl or twist and curl your ends to try to get them to not straight. Save yourself the struggle and just let the heat damaged hair go, a half inch or inch at a time if need be.

You’re About to Do Protective Styling Long-term

If you’re planning on putting your hair away in braids, twists, or weaves for a considerable amount of time – say three months or more – you should get a trim before you protective style. Split, knotted, or unhealthy ends will not get any better just because they are put away, so whatever growth you’re hoping to obtain and retain with your protective style will be nullified by ends in poor condition. If you’re averse to trimming because you’re worried about losing length, trimming right before protective styling is a great way to avoid the “my hair is so much shorter” post-trim or cut dilemma.

So… How Do I Actually Trim My Hair?

Now that you know the signs for when to trim your hair, you’re probably wondering how to go about doing it! Since I don’t straighten or blow dry my hair that often, I 1. can’t be waiting until I straighten to trim, and 2. don’t exactly care about having perfectly even ends. Therefore, it’s easier for me to trim while my hair is in it’s kinky state, although stretched in twists. I made a video about my trim process last year and nothing has changed, except the amount that I cut off varies depending on how healthy and thick my ends are. Peep it below!

What signs does your hair give you that it’s time for some snip action? Share below!

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  1. I trim my 3c hair on a quarterly basis. I am 40 and have no issues on hair loss. I read somewhere that a 2-3 weeks interval is okay. But at my age is that still okay??

  2. Off topic, but where did you get your glasses? They’re adorable and I’ve been looking for frames like that

  3. Question: I have a TWA that’s still fairly short (only two months long)but long enough to be put into Marley twists or braids. I wanted to braid up for summer as I live in the desert and don’t want to argue with that 120-degree heat. Do I still need to trim if I don’t have a lot of growth?

    1. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my natural hair journey was thinking that I didn’t have to trim because my hair was short. I didn’t trim my first 8 or so months of being fully natural and had to cut off nearly 2 inches 🙁 So you shouldn’t base your decision on whether or not to trim on your length, but rather, whether or not your ends are healthy!

      1. Just now seeing this! That makes perfect sense. I’m going to make my trim appointment this evening for next month. I did the marley twists and they were too tight at the edges, so I took them out. I don’t notice a lot of splits but my ssks have become a little too frequent so trim time it is.Thank you for the advice!