Tips for Trimming Hair

.....Category: Natural Hair Articles
Tips for Trimming Hair

Are you tired of leaving the salon with a haircut instead of a trim? Hopefully these tips will help you learn to trim your hair yourself! Not trimming your hair just to save length, won’t work if your ends are split. The damage will only move upward until much of the strands become damaged and you’ll end up needing a major haircut by a professional in the end.

Split ends are formed when the cortex (the inside of the hair), splits at the ends and continue up the shaft unless it’s trimmed off.

Beyond popular belief, there is nothing that will permanently fix or repair split ends. Conditioners, leave-in conditioners, oils, along with other hair treatments will only temporarily put them back together. I never wear my hair straight, so I don’t need to have my ends totally straight. If you wear your hair straight often, your best bet is to see a professional.

Hair grows back, so don’t be afraid of trims – your hair will thank you! I trim 1/2 inch off every eight weeks. This may seem like a lot but I prefer to take preventative measures and it works for me. Plus my hair behaves so much better with frequent trims (less tangling and knots which leads to less breakage). Even though hair may never be 100% free of split ends, I hope this information helps you take care of your ends.

Some causes of split ends:

Intense heat caused from excessive use of curling irons, blow dryers, and pressing combs etc. Stress on the hair. Don’t overuse combs or brushes. Switch up your hairstyles as well. Tight ponytails can cause breakage too. Chemicals such as relaxing, perming and permanent color can damage the cuticle and the cortex. This weakens the hair strands and can cause damage which leads to split ends & breakage.Rough bobby pins and barrettes.

* Make sure you purchase bobby pins, they have rubber on the tips. If the rubber comes off, discard them right away. They can rip some of your hair strands out once you try to remove them.Friction from coats, jackets and shirts and even rubbing your hair too hard with a towel.


*Lastly hard water (chlorine) and water from the swimming pool can cause damage if overused. I’ve discussed the problems and possible solutions on the ‘Summer Hair Tips’ and the ‘Hair Myths’ page respectively.


This is how a damaged hair strand look under a microscope caused from heat damage and the chemical breakdown from using relaxers. Photo courtesy of

Ways to avoid spilt ends:

  • Avoid excessive heat. I sit under a dryer when I deep condition and I only about blow dry twice a year for something different. These are the only times heat touched my hair. Try wearing styles that don’t require heat such as rollersets, strawsets, buns etc.
  • Keep your ends oiled. Some great products to use includes shea butter, pure coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil or plain ole school grease. If you’re feeling creative, try mixing oils together and make your own concoction. Remember, dry ends leads to split ends.
  • Wear protected styles: Try “leave-it-alone” styles like updos, cornrows and twists to help keep split ends to a minimum.
  • Take preventative measures. Once your hair has been trimmed, still take care and pay attention to them – this is the oldest part of your hair and they need you to look after them. :) Oil the ends, give yourself deep conditioning treatments, and don’t handle your hair rough. 
  • Do not expose your hair to extreme temperatures. The hot summer sun (ultraviolet rays) is very harmful to the hair. If you’re going to be out in the sun for a while, try putting a leave-in conditioner or a mixture of a leave-in conditioner and sunscreen on your hair.
  • Avoid using rubber bands. Try using terry cloth holders or Goody’s Ouchless Ponytail Holders as an alternative.
  • Even if your ends are in great shape, try “dusting” your ends every month or so. Dusting means slightly trimming about 1/8 of the ends.

Three easy ways to trim your own hair:

  • Twist & Snip: This process involves twisting your hair into small or medium sized twists all over, let it air-dry completely, then snipping the ends as needed. I hold my scissors at slight angle and proceed to trim. This is a very effective way to judge how my hair to trim off.
  • Straightening then trim: Blowdry then press or flat-iron your hair, then take sections of you hair and trim the ends. What you want to do is grab about a small section of hair, brush to the ends. Hold the last two inches of your hair them trim the damaged hair. Repeat this process all over your head. This technique works great when wearing straight hair. 
  • Trimming each curl: This technique is a bit more tedious and should only be used if you have visible curls (not coils since they curl 360 degrees) and have lots of patience. Here’s what I do: on soaking wet hair and shake the excess water out to separate my curls (w/o products on my hair). After my hair completely dries, I snip the ends of each curl. I can only do this on a few sections of my hair that’s not coily. I am very satisfied with the results with this technique. I was able to shape my hair to the way it naturally falls in that area of my hair.

Other helpful tips:

  • Invest in a pair of professional hair cutting scissors. They aren’t expensive either. You can buy a decent pair at Sally’s or a regular beauty supply store between $7-$15. Using scissors that aren’t sharp will do damage and you can actually cause more splitting. Hide this pair and only use it for your hair. This is very important.
  Here is an example of a pair of sharp hair cutting scissors.
  • Use a double-sided mirror to help you see the back of your hair. ” Trim wet or dry? Opinions varies on this subject. Personally I’d rather trim on dry hair so I can see my ends. When my hair is wet, any split ends seems to be more disguised because of the wetness of the hair. I’d leave trimming with damp hair to the professionals.
  • Trim very slowly with precision until you feel more comfortable with trimming.
  • Sit up and keep your head straight. If you don’t this, you can end up with an uneven cut once your finished. If your hair is shorter, have someone you trust help you to trim the back. I had my mom help me in the back when my hair was shorter and I couldn’t see back there. Since it’s longer, I can see my twists by pulling them in front of my face.
  • Trim when there are no distractions in your home. You wouldn’t want any surprises while cutting or trimming your hair!
  • How often should you trim? You’ll have to judge for yourself. Many factors come into play. How fast does your hair grow? Does your hair seem a bit uneven? How much heat do you use on your hair? When you twist or braid, does your ends look really ragged? You maybe in need of a good trim – and it will make a world of difference! Don’t forget it is much harder to detect split ends on textured hair than on straight strands. If your hair is long enough, grab a few sections and evaluate the ends.
  • Lastly, if you have split ends, they must get trimmed off. Remember, hair does indeed grow back! So go on ahead and trim off those damaged ends – your hair will thank you and it will be much easier to handle! 

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