The Right Way to Trim Natural Hair for Maximum Length Retention

If you’ve been in the natural hair community long enough, I’m sure you already know the benefits of trimming. Trimming your hair is very important if you must have healthy hair and healthy hair results in long hair over time. Despite the fact that trimming is good, it can yield unwanted results if not done the right way. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing the basics of trimming and the things you need to have in mind if you’re new to the art of trimming.
                                                                                How Often Should I Trim?

Different people recommend different time intervals between trims. Some say 4-6 weeks, others say every four months. In my opinion, there’s no perfect interval that must be followed. Just like most regimens are supposed to be personal, this isn’t any different. Natural A could trim every four weeks and B every six months and both would still reap the benefits of trimming. Factors to consider when setting intervals for trims are lifestyle, length of hair cut during each trim and growth rate. If you wear your hair out all the time, you may need to trim more often than someone who’s always on protective styles. Also, except you’re trying to maintain your hair at a particular length, you shouldn’t trim as frequently as your growth rate. So if your hair grows at the rate of 1/4 inch per month, you shouldn’t trim up to 1/4 inch of hair every month. Similary, you shouldn’t trim up to one inch every four months as this would mean that you’re cutting off all the hair that you’re growing. The purpose of trimming is to get rid of damaged ends before they do more damage to your entire hair. What I recommend is this; cut any split ends, single strand knots or heat damage as soon as you notice them. That way, you won’t need to cut too much hair whenever you decide to do a detailed trim.

Kinds of Trim

I like to think that there’s are two kinds of trims; what I call the major trim and the maintenance trim. If you haven’t had a trim in a year or longer, there’s a high chance that your ends are damaged. What you’ll need is a major trim. This could be cutting up to two inches of hair or more. It could also be a mini bigchop depending on how far the damage has gone up through your hair shaft. The trick here is to cut off all the hair that is damaged because if you don’t, it’ll eventually damage your entire hair.

After doing the major trim, you should regularly follow up with maintenance trims. The frequency could vary depending on your lifestyle. What you should bear in mind when doing maintenance trims is to ensure that you get rid of any damages as soon as you notice them. If you do this right, you’ll have healthy ends and the total length of hair you’ll loose to trims in a year could be as little as one inch. 

                                                                            General Tips for Trimming.

The first thing to bear in mind when doing trims is the nature of scissors to use. Make sure that your pair of scissors is sharp and only used for hair. Preferably, get a pair of hair shears rather than a regular scissors. It is also advisable to trim when your hair is dry because natural hair shrinks when wet and shrinkage can make it difficult to see the point to cut. In addition, hair should be trimmed when it is stretched and properly detangled. You do not need to do a blow out or silk press; a bantu knot out, braid out or stretching using the African threading or banding methods should do. Lastly, for best results, it is advisable to trim small sections at a time. This will help reduce the chances of having uneven ends after a trim. If you find it difficult trimming your own hair, ask a friend to help you or visit a professional hair stylist.

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Also visit my YouTube channel for tutorials on how to style your natural hair at


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