Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Twist Series: Growth & Length Retention I

TRIMMING.  More answers to your "Growth & Length Retention" questions coming soon ...

  • thanks for being so charitable as to provide this info for us thirsty readers! here's my query: since taking down my 10 year old locs, i have "dusted" my ends but not gone for a professional trim. i've worn my hair in some form of natural for 15 years now, but this is my first time really on a "length" journey, so i'm trying to familiarize myself with all the new products, info, and various strategies. As such, I am wondering how crucial regular trimming has been for you.

Regular trimming is very crucial for length retention because it removes damaged ends (e.g, split ends, single-strand knots, etc.).  However, how you trim can determine whether you are actually retaining length or cutting away progress.  I only trim my ends when needed as opposed to following a set schedule.  For more details, on trimming for length retention, here is a repost:

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Freeze! Drop the scissors! Put your hands up! Stop cutting!

Excessive trimming can hinder length retention. If your hair grows six inches a year and you trim half an inch every month, then you are essentially cutting off all your growth progress. In order to retain length, you have to (1) be healthy from the inside out, (2) treat your hair right, and (3) pick up the scissors only when necessary. There is a time to trim that is not dictated by the calendar on the wall but by the health of the ends of your hair.

{May 2009}
TO THE RIGHT: A photo of hair that has not been trimmed in over a year. The ends are not blunt, but they are also not damaged. Trimming for style is your choice, but if you want maximum length retention, then only trim when needed -- when the ends are damaged.

HEALTHY VS DAMAGED ENDS:
Healthy ends are free from splits and other damage. Splits are an indicator of damage to the cuticle and come in all shapes and sizes. Some occur at the very ends of the hair while others form in the middle of a strand. The hair may be appear to be split into two pieces or more. It is a myth that split ends can be repaired; some products may temporarily make them less visible, but splits cannot "heal" themselves and will exist until cut off. If you are taking great care of your hair, you will see fewer splits. Fewer splits = healthier hair. Healthier hair = fewer trims.

CUTTING DAMAGED ENDS:
Even if you've determined that your ends are damaged, a full-on trim may not be required. Search and destroy is a method for only cutting the strands that have splits or other visible damage. Dusting is a method of trimming a very small fraction of hair -- about 1/4 of an inch or less. Search and destroy and dusting are ideal for hair that exhibits a small amount of damaged ends. A full-on trim is needed when a large portion of the hair's ends are damaged.

MORE READS:
MINIMIZING SPLIT ENDS (great article btw)
SEARCH & DESTROY AND DUSTING

For other posts in the Twist Series, check this label.
If you have questions you would like to be answered in the Twist Series, comment below.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for answering my question. I actually had to go get my first trim yesterday since I noticed I was getting MAJOR breakage for the first time in my little 6 month loose hair journey. i was afraid it was gonna be dramatic, but she said my hair wasn't nearly in as bad shape as i'd feared. though she i definitely need to get a little more off, it wasn't a life or death situation and i could wait til it grew out some to search and destroy the other troubled-looking ends.

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  2. @Camille Acey: You're welcome! It's good to hear that the trim wasn't dramatic. Healthy hair in 2011!

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  3. Nice article! I dust 1/2 inch twice a year or so and it works well for me. I agree that hanging your air gently and low manipulatioon are the key to length retention.

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