When was the last time you got a haircut? Whether you book your trim like clockwork or wait until split ends start to form before cleaning them up—we’re all eventually in need of a haircut. And regardless if you’re rocking an on-trend short, sassy haircut or want to grow your locks as long as possible, the start of the new year is the perfect time to ask: How often should you trim your hair?
The answer is different for everyone, so we tapped Pepper Pastor, an Austin-based master stylist and cutting expert, for all the details on exactly how often you should trim your hair. We also rounded up nine at-home hair care tips and low-maintenance haircuts if a #SoftLife upkeep routine is more your vibe. Read on for everything you need to know.
How often should you trim your hair?
Pastor says how often you need your hair trimmed depends on your hair goals, type, and texture. For example, thicker, curly, and long hair generally needs to be cut “about twice a year for health and to maintain shape,” according to Pastor. Well, that sounds easy enough!
That rule, however, certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. It’s all about your cut and style, too. Pastor explains that someone with finer hair wearing a shorter, shaggy style (or anything more tailored or complicated) should get a cut about every six weeks.
“The thicker hair you have and the longer it is, the less you need to cut,” Pastor explains.
Sorry, short hair lovin’ guys and gals! The maintenance requires more attention if you have hair above your collarbone or thin to fine hair that you wear in a specific shape or cut.
If a trip to the salon plus a wash, cut, and blow-dry every six to eight weeks sounds like a bit much for you, don’t worry! Pastor offers a less time-consuming and more cost-effective option for proper hair maintenance—a dry cut.
“This service is half the cost of a normal haircut [since] the hair is not shampooed or styled,” Pastor says.
Pastor says this service is ideal for giving shape and cleaning up damaged ends. She also recommends proper and frequent brushing of your mane.
“Brushing hair is also a great way to keep your hair healthy between haircuts,” she explains. “Find a soft bristle brush and get in 20 strokes at least once a day from roots to ends.”
What happens if you don’t trim your hair regularly?
Even if you’re trying to grow out your locks, you still need a proper trim schedule. Skipping trims in the name of length can actually be counterintuitive. Contrary to popular belief, missing trims can make your hair more prone to split ends that travel up the hair shaft and cause breakage, resulting in less length overall. What’s more, if split ends get too out of hand, you may even need a shorter haircut to remove them.
“If you have very fine hair and are keeping it long, your hair can tangle more easily and become very frayed when you skip a regular trim,” Pastor adds. “If your hair is extremely thick or curly, skipping your trimming sesh will result in a larger shape and volume, as well as a heavy ponytail (if you wear your hair up), which can be pretty cumbersome for most.”
So if your hair starts knotting more often or your go-to styles aren’t coming out the way they used to, it may be a sign to reserve your spot in the salon chair.
How often should you trim your hair if you want it to grow?
While trimming your hair does not make it grow faster, eliminating dead ends can make your mane appear thicker and healthier overall. If maximum length is your goal, ask your stylist for a dusting. This technique involves snipping off just the tips of damaged hair (about a quarter of an inch) without impacting your length. It’s worth noting that a dusting won’t refresh the lines of your haircut—only an actual trim can do that.
When it comes to hair growth, the amount that hair grows varies from person to person. On average, Pastor says that hair grows from about a quarter to half an inch each month, though this can fluctuate based on hormones, supplements, and certain medical conditions.
Another lesser-known factor for hair growth? Seasons! You may be surprised to learn that temperature can affect how much your hair grows.
“Warmer weather stimulates hair follicles, and hair grows faster,” Pastor explains.
What causes split ends?
Besides not keeping up with trim appointments, many factors can contribute to split ends, including dryness, frequent heat styling, bleaching, brushing your hair incorrectly, chemical services, and environmental factors like harsh weather.
Can you fix split ends?
While the only way to get rid of split ends is to snip them off, there are a few ways to manage them and make your hair look healthier between salon appointments. Below, we’ve rounded up the tips and products you need to know about to care for your split ends the right way.
4 Ways to Manage Split Ends
Seal your split ends between trims.
As we said before, getting rid of split ends entirely will require a haircut appointment. In the meantime, however, opt for a system that acts as a liquid bandaid for damaged hair, like Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate. The line’s Bonding Care Complex reinforces hair’s weakened bonds to help damaged hair become more resilient against future breakage. In fact, when using the Intensive Treatment alongside the shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in, you may notice up to a 63 percent reduction in breakage.
Bleached or lightened hair may be especially plagued with brittleness that results in frayed ends. If that’s the case, we recommend picking up Redken’s Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment. This product is formulated to penetrate deep into bleached hair to reduce porosity, aid in softness and texture, fight breakage and frizz, and repair dryness.
Hydrate your hair.
Is dryness the leading cause of your split ends? Add a hair mask like Biolage Hydra Source Deep Treatment Multi-Use Hair Pack to your hair care routine. This formula for dry hair creates more manageable, hydrated, and softer-feeling hair while strengthening and reducing breakage by 70 percent.
Those who prefer leave-in treatments need to look no further than Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner or the brand’s 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream. Both formulas are made with coconut oil, which is renowned for its moisturizing properties, and are suitable for all hair types and textures.
Look for strengthening products.
Dealing with brittle, weakened hair? Try using a protein treatment mask like L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Masque. This cream-to-gel product helps create shinier, softer hair while helping correct damaged ends, nourishing, reducing frizz, and softening hair texture.
Rethink your sleep habits.
It may be called beauty sleep, but sometimes, waking up with bedhead is anything but! One thing that may be standing between you and the hair of your dreams is your cotton pillowcase. The coarser fabric tends to rough up the hair fiber whenever you toss and turn, potentially leading to hair breakage, frizz, and damage. That’s why so many stylists recommend sleeping on silk or satin pillowcases. Unlike traditional cotton pillowcases, the smoothness of these materials helps minimize friction whenever you move about. Not to mention, silk and satin are less absorbent than cotton, so if you’re worried about dry hair, they may be worth investing in.
Five Low-Maintenance Haircuts to Try
Have hair trimming commitment issues? We’ve all been there. Here are five of our favorite looks that can help you get away with postponing that upkeep appointment—just promise us you won’t wait too long.
Thanks to their internal movement, long layers trick the eye into not knowing where each layer begins or ends. That’s great news for those who aren’t great at maintaining their length.
Choppy Layered Bob
Layers aren’t just for long, wavy hair! If you’re searching for a breezy cut that will eliminate some weight from your curls so you can go longer between trims, you’ll love a layered bob. When it’s time to style, tousle hair with a gel such as L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Curl Expression Definition Activator Gel for beautiful curl definition.
Asymmetrical haircuts are purposely chaotic and ‘overgrown’ by nature, making them a top contender if you trim your hair about as frequently as you visit the dentist.
If you want to make your cut more on-trend, ask your colorist to dye your hair a fun and vibrant color. After all, just because your cut is low-maintenance doesn’t mean your color has to be! If you choose a vivid fantasy shade, use a system designed to preserve high-maintenance hair color, such as Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo + Conditioner Duo.
The salon maintenance required for bangs may be the most off-putting thing about them, but that’s where curtain bangs come in. While shorter, blunter bangs must be trimmed every four to six weeks, longer curtain fringe will blend in with the rest of your mane as it grows out, making them super low-key.
The Big Chop
Cutting off all of your hair may sound pretty dramatic, but a big chop can nix any severely damaged strands and give hair a fresh slate. Not to mention, it’ll make your hair routine as low-maintenance as possible.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of your hair type, length, and style, we all need haircuts at least twice a year. Knowing how often your specific hairstyle needs a trim is essential to maintaining the style you want and love and your overall hair health. If you have any questions, consult your professional stylist for personalized recommendations.
Find more haircut advice, inspiration, and professional styling products on Hair.com.