How To Trim Your Natural Hair

hair shears

Trimming is one hair care routine that many naturals avoid but that is necessary for overall healthy hair.

In this article, I will be discussing with you everything you need to know about trimming your natural hair, so continue reading!

What Does it Mean to Trim Your Natural Hair?

Trimming is the process of getting rid of unwanted hair by using a special tool — a pair of hair shears — with the end goal of promoting overall healthy hair.

Reasons Naturals Don't Trim Their Natural Hair

There are two major reasons naturals don't trim their hair and these include:

1. You're afraid of losing length

If you're aiming for a certain hair length, it's valid if you fear that trimming your hair will reduce your chances of reaching that length. But is that the truth? Our natural hair grows about ½ an inch every month and in six months, your hair can grow about three inches long. Trimming your hair every four to six months will only take away less than an inch of hair so that you retain most of your hair length. However, if you don't trim your hair, you won't retain length, i. e. you'll just find out your hair does not grow beyond a particular length. This is because, without a trim, your hair may experience split ends and breakage which could lead to you losing two inches or more of your hair.

2. You are a lazy natural

Don't be embarrassed, sis, it's something we naturals can relate to. Sitting down and having to go through the process of trimming your natural hair can be a bit exhausting, it could take hours and you have to make sure you don’t trim more than you should. However, you have to remember that one of the secrets to healthy natural hair is through trimming.

When Should You Get A Trim For Your Natural Hair?

You should get a trim for your natural hair when you are experiencing any of the following:

1. Fairy Knots

You know those tiny balls of tangled hair that form at the shaft or tips of your natural hair, which make it difficult for you to comb all the way through? Yeap, those are fairy knots, alright. When you get these often, then it is time for a trim.

2. Split Ends

When your hair is often exposed to harsh weather conditions, the use of heat tools (curling irons, flat irons, blow dryers, etc), too much manipulation, etc, you get split ends. Split ends are the damaged tips or oldest parts of a your hair. If you do not take care of split ends, they could continue to split all the way up to your hair shaft and damage the rest of your hair. When you notice you have split ends, then it is time for a trim.

3. Frizzy Ends

Frizzy hair is hair that stand out from the main body of your hair, giving your hair a messy and unkempt look. If you notice you have frizzy ends, then it is time for a trim.

4. Excessive Breakage

While a little breakage is completely normal as you comb or style your natural hair, when small curly clumps of hair begin to fall out excessively, then it's time to get that trim, girl!

What are the Benefits of Trimming Natural Hair?

1. To help retain length

Yep! Like I mentioned earlier, trimming your hair will not stop it from growing. Rather, it will help you get rid of split or dead ends that prevent you from growing out and retaining new length. When you trim away damaged hair, you create space for the good hair to grow and thrive!

2. To get rid of split ends

Split ends happen as a result of a natural wear and tear on your hair due to combing, styling, over manipulating, using heat styling tools on your hair often, among others. While it is completely natural for split ends to happen, if you don't get rid of them as soon as possible, they can continue to travel all the way to your hair shafts, cause your hair to thin out and give your hair a rough, untidy look. Trimming your hair will help get rid of these split ends and ensures your hair grows out healthy.

3. To correct hair damage

If your hair has been damaged by exposure to heat (hair straighteners, curling irons, blow dryers, hot rollers, etc), poor handling of your hair by a stylist, or even products, one of the safest ways you can correct this is by trimming. You can either choose to cut off all the affected ends at once or trim it monthly until you get rid of the damaged parts.

4. To promote overall healthy hair

Trimming your hair promotes overall healthy hair. When you trim your hair, you'll find out that it becomes easier for you to detangle, comb, and style! You'll also notice that your hair feels fuller and thicker from roots to ends.

How Often Should You Trim Your Natural Hair?

While trimming your natural hair is necessary for a healthy head of hair, it is advisable that you trim every four to six months and about half an inch. However, if you are trying to get rid of damaged hair, I advise that you trim it monthly.

Different Ways to Trim Your Natural Hair

These include:

1. Two-strand twists:

Putting your hair in twists makes it easier for you to trim your hair as opposed to trimming the hair as it is. Also, when your hair is in twists, you can easily identify the split ends twist by twist.

2. Curl by curl:

If you have type 3A to 3C hair, you can trim your hair curl by curl.

3. “Search and destroy”:

As this term implies, you will have to search out split or dead ends and trim them off when you identify them. However, this method is more stressful and time-consuming. And, you may not end up with unequally-trimmed hair as well.

Dos and Don'ts of Trimming Natural Hair

  1. DON'T trim your hair with any other pair of scissors such as kitchen scissors, sewing scissors, office scissors, etc. These types of scissors will leave your hair with crooked ends and may further complicate your split ends and damage your hair. You should only trim your hair with a pair of professional hair shears. Also, make sure you stick to using your hair shears on your hair ONLY. Using them for other purposes besides your hair will only lead to blunt ends.
  2. DON'T cut wet or dry hair. Wet or dry hair is at its weakest state and cutting hair in such states can lead to breakage and hair damage. Instead, trim only damp and well-moisturized hair.
  3. DON'T rush when trimming. Take your time. When you rush the trimming process, you may make mistakes such as cutting more than the necessary hair length or even hurt yourself with the sharp edges of the hair shears. But when you take your time, you will be able to get rid of the damaged ends so the good hair has space to flourish.

How to Trim Natural Hair: DIY Step-by-step Method

You can choose to trim your hair at the salon of a professional stylist or you can save costs by doing it yourself. To learn how to trim your natural hair at home, this helpful video tutorial by Naptural85 is a great guide.

What you need

  • Professional hair shears
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Detangling brush
  • Fine tooth comb

Step 1: Wash and detangle your hair

detangling hair
  • Always start with freshly-washed and detangled moisturized hair. Even though you may have detangled your hair during washing, you still have to make sure there are no knots or tangles in them.
  • To detangle, part your hair into sections so it can be easier for you to work with. Then, take out one section of your hair and use your wide tooth comb to detangle it from ends to roots.

Step 2: Use your detangling brush to detangle

second detangling
  • Next, run your detangling brush through the section of hair to ensure it is smooth and properly detangled.

Step 3: Do a final detangle with a fine tooth comb

detangling a third time
  • Finally, use your fine-tooth comb for a final detangle. Using this fine-tooth comb will help you identify the ends of your hair that need to be trimmed. You will feel constant resistance in some parts of your ends as you comb through. This should be between a quarter to half an inch of hair.

Step 4: Identify hair that should be trimmed

identifying hair to be trimmed
  • With your fine-tooth comb at the ends of your hair, place your forefinger and middle finger in between the ends. Then gently remove the fine-tooth comb.

Step 5: Trim off split ends

trimming split ends
  • With your fingers pointing upwards in a straight position, use your hair shears to trim off the ends. Make sure you make a mental note of the length of hair you trimmed off. If you trimmed a quarter off, make sure you do the same for the rest of the hair.

Step 5: Repeat

putting hair in twists
  • Repeat the process for the other sections of hair and voila! You have successfully trimmed your hair. Make sure you moisturize after trimming so your hair can stay hydrated.