I’m in the process of growing out my hair, just for the heck of it, just to see if I can get it past my waistline without wanting to pull it all out. As a result, my patient and sweet hairstylist has gotten used to hearing the words, “Please, just an inch. No, half an inch. No! A centimeter,” and she responds by snipping the inch it actually needs while distracting me with a smile and sparkling conversation.
If you aren’t a fan of hair cuts either, you may be wondering how long you can really get away with allowing your hair to grow without coming into contact with a scissor. We know regular snips are crucial in helping us keep split ends at bay, but why? And what, exactly, is “regular?”
“Getting your hair trimmed on a consistent and regular basis can mean the difference between having long, healthy hair, and short hair that is breaking and unhealthy,” says hair expert Carly Bowers of Latest-Hairstyles.com. “When your hair becomes dry and brittle on the ends, it often indicates that you have split ends. There is no ‘fix’ for split ends. A deep conditioning treatment won’t heal them, nor will the avocado, mayo, egg mixture that you read about on Pinterest. The only way to ‘cure’ split ends is to trim them off. If you don’t trim them, your split ends will continue to split further up your hair strand, ultimately leaving you with a lot of breakage and short hair.”
The best course of action to prevent split ends so that you don’t wind up having to chop off three or more inches than you intended, is to get yourself on a hair cut schedule, similar to the one you’d maintain when tending to your roots or highlights. The number of times per year you succumb to a cut really just depends on what you put your hair through. In other words: if you like to experiment with dye, bleach, or unique styles that require heat and loads of product, you have to be willing to snip more often.
“Frequency depends on the individual, and particularly on the health of your hair,” says Gina Capano at LuxeBar. “The driving factors are the type of style or cut you are trying to maintain or the length of your hair, and the general health of your hair. If someone has a precise or more structured style, they may need a cut more often, or as little as three weeks apart. This is typically the case with shorter hair.”
Bowers agrees: “If you have relatively healthy hair, that you don’t over-process with color or continuously abuse with a flat iron, getting a trim every 10-12 weeks is probably sufficient for you. If you color your hair regularly, bleach it and/or use heat on it frequently, you will want to consider getting a trim every 6-8 weeks, depending on the specific condition and texture of your hair. You hairstylist can advise you based on your unique situation.”
For more beauty tips, check out the best (and worst) fabrics to wear when it’s really, really hot and 9 secrets of women with great teeth.