Fact: Every time I sit down in my hairstylist’s chair, I find out that I’ve (once again) let too much time pass between trims. As a result, more of my length ends up being lopped off, and what started as a routine trim practically ends with a bob. Okay, perhaps I’m being dramatic, but so is my haircut due to all of the split, dried-out ends I’ve let go by the wayside.
Depending on your hair type and how often you tend to color and heat-style it, how often you need to book regular trims tends to vary, which is why we asked Jeff Chastain, celebrity hairstylist and founder of MASC haircare, to clear things up once and for all. Keep reading to see how often you should trim your strands, broken down by hair type.
To keep coily and uber-tight curls at their best health, Chastain advises cutting hair every 10 to 12 weeks, and being very particular with how much is trimmed so as to not compromise the overall length. “I know if you cut even an eighth of an inch shorter, it can bounce up a full inch shorter. Where it actually pulls up and falls is different for everyone, so it’s good to start small,” he explains. “I try to be conservative with the length at first, then we can adjust from there. I’ll err on the side of having to cut the lengths twice so that they don’t up too much.”
Curls have a similar trimming timeframe, and again, the less-is-more rule applies in terms of how much to chop. “If you’re not someone who does heat styling on it and you wear it curly most of the time, every 10 to 12 weeks is ideal. If you have it cut, don’t take off more than half an inch at a time,” Chastain says. “As curls grow out, they can get exposed to heat styling or just dry out over time, especially if you’re doing highlights or single process color. That can start to straighten out your curls, even if you’re only doing a little bit.” To err on the side of caution, no more than half an inch should be cut to maintain your curly hair’s shape—more than half an inch could cause your ringlet to spring up, making your overall style appear shorter than it is.
Thick, wavy or straight hair
In Chastain’s experience (and your author’s own personal journey as someone with this hair type), those with thick hair with a wavy texture tend to do a fair amount of heat-styling, so trimming every eight to 10 weeks will help to keep split ends at bay.
And like thicker waves, thicker straight hair should also ideally be trimmed every eight to 10 weeks for maintenance. “Unless they’re doing heavy highlighting, it’s usually in pretty good shape,” Chastain says. “Those with medium-textured, straight hair usually don’t have to finish their ends as much, unless they’re a flat-iron devotee, but this timeframe is ideal to maintain hair that isn’t split or dry.”
To keep the shape of your style and prevent your strands from appearing thin, Chastain suggests trimming fine, straight hair every month. “You can do as little as an eighth of an inch to keep it looking fuller at the bottom,” he explains. “As long as you keep that line looking really fresh, it will make your density better. Although the trims are more frequent, you’re cutting small amounts before they have the chance to split.” Even if you’re attempting to grow out your hair, the same rule applies—cut small amounts off the ends to keep them clean so that the rest of your layers can grow without the risk of splitting and breaking.
The all-too-common struggle with bangs? Neglecting to trim them and ultimately choosing to let them embark on the transformative journey from blunt bangs, to eventual side-swept varieties, to the point that they ultimately blend in with your layers. If you’re holding tight to your position on team blunt bangs, Chastain advises having more regular trims to keep your fringe at the correct length.
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