Trimming Natural Hair – Is It Necessary?

A friend of mine once asked me this question, does natural hair need trimming? And my answer to this is yes, but not for the reasons most people trim their hair.

Let me explain myself.

For most of us trimming is more of a ritual we perform to reap the benefits of longer healthier hair. But through all the research i’ve done on taking care of natural hair one thing has been a consistent theme. Trimming does not grow long hair.

This is what most of us have been told through hairdressers and i guess is what everyone believes to be common knowledge but the ends of the hair strand has absolutely no communication with the roots. So trimming our hair to make it grow longer is actually NOT true. It will not make our roots grow any faster or cause it to grow more so than if we did not trim.

However, trimming hair is essential for MAINTAINING healthy hair and it is this maintenance that will help retain hair length.

So understanding the reasons why we trim will help us to determine how often.

The Right Reasons To Trim

Split ends is a term that everyone is familiar with. Due to chemicals, rough handling, harsh weather conditions and time, the ends of our hair become damaged. Once the shaft is split, there is nothing that can repair it. The only solution is to cut it off. If the damaged ends are not removed the split can travel further up the hair damaging more of the shaft. So it is very necessary to trim our hair to remove the damaged ends.

On this note i conclude that trimming the hair to remove damaged ends is absolutely necessary for maintaining healthy hair. And this along with other good hair care practices will see longer, healthier hair as a result.

The only time i can see the need to trim or cut your hair on a timely basis is to maintain a certain length or style, i.e a bob, or if you have reached your desired hair goal and want to keep it at that length.

How Often Should I Trim?

So now we have the RIGHT reasons for trimming, ascertaining how often we trim should be a lot easier.

I cannot give a definitive recommendation as to how often you should trim but my advice is this. CHECK YOUR ENDS REGULARLY. When and if you see some damage then trim it. If you do not, however, see any damage then there is no need to trim. It’s that simple really. So no, i’m not advocating getting your hair trimmed every six to eight weeks just for the sake of it. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If within that time period some damaged ends emerge then yes it’s fine to trim but if there is no damage then why trim? You will just be throwing away length.

The less you mess with your hair and the more care you take over it the less you find it needing to be trimmed. But if you constantly use heat, chemicals, dry comb, do ambitious hairstyle after hairstyle, use hair dyes and just abuse your tresses then you might find that you will need to trim much more regularly than someone who does, say, more protective styling and uses little to no heat.

How Should I Trim?

Full Ends Trim

I have come across many different ways to trim your hair. Most of us are familiar with the full ends trim (that’s what i call it). Where you section your hair and trim off the ends of that entire section, moving from the back to front, section after section until the whole head has been trimmed.


There are other ways to trim the hair that i have come across. One being called ‘Dusting’. This is where you take a section and twist it one direction. Then you take your scissors and skim the entire surface area of the twisted hair. The scissors will trim off any hairs that stick out of the twist. The reason for this is that not all of our hair is the same length and just trimming the ends neglects all the other hair that does not reach the same length. Dusting trims all the hair irrespective of length.

Search and Destroy

This is where you don’t actually do a full trim, like the first example but you search your ends for damaged hair. If you find a split end then you trim that off. So this is more of a single strand trim. The advantages of this are that you will only be cutting off damaged ends and not disturbing the healthy. Full end trims don’t discriminate and all the ends are trimmed, the healthy and the damaged. But with this method you are more likely to save your healthy ends and grow your hair longer, quicker. The disadvantage, however, is that it is rather time consuming to sit there and examine all the ends of the hair.

Goal Length Trim

I read here about this technique which i thought was quite interesting. Firstly, you determine your hair length goal, for example shoulder blade length. Then when you are ready for a trim you only trim off the ends that that are passed your goal length. Eventually, over time as your hair grows and you trim at you goal length line you will find that your ends even out at this length and will soon become healthy and full and you will have achieved your hair length goal at the same time.

There are more ways to trim out there, i’m sure, but these are the ones that stuck out at me. If you want visual examples you can search through the videos on YouTube.


  • Trimming hair does not make your roots grow any quicker or any more so than if you did not trim, as your ends have no communication with your roots. Once your hair has left your scalp it is considered dead.
  • Trimming hair is good practice for maintaining healthy hair as part of a well rounded hair care regime.
  • There isn’t much need to trim hair on a timely scale as this can just cause you to lose unnecessary length (unless that’s what you want!).
  • Check your ends regularly. If damaged then trim, if not then LEAVE IT ALONE.
  • When necessary, determine how you wish to trim your hair and stay consistent with it.
  • Treat your natural hair with care. Moisturise often, Wash, co-wash and deep condition regularly. Minimise dry-combing and protect your ends. Caring for your hair properly will minimise the damage and the necessity to trim too often and will result in better length retention.
  • If you find that you need to trim your ends often then i would advise re-evaluating your hair care practices as something you are doing is causing more damage to your ends than just natural wear and tear.


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