People tend to fall into one of two categories: those who religiously have their hair cut every few weeks and those who walk on the wilder side of life.
You know, the ones who freely admit they haven’t cut their hair in 2 years and are all the happier for it.
But letting your hair grow and grow and grow can end up doing more harm than good.
When you cut it depends on a few things. The two biggest factors involve:
- keeping your hair in good condition
- maintaining a certain style
Of course, many people are concerned with both.
Here’s everything you need to know about trimming times.
You probably grew up thinking that split ends were the one sign to look for. But split ends are actually a sign that you’ve waited too long.
Before the splitting, the ends of your hair may feel dry and brittle. You may also find that it’s getting difficult to brush or comb your hair all the way through.
Styling may also prove to be more time-consuming, and your overall hair may seem lifeless compared to normal.
For those with hair, “every 6 to 8 weeks” is likely ingrained in your memory.
But hairstylists have a different view. Michael Fuzailov, owner of Poiz Beauty Salon, says the average time frame between cuts is “every 3 to 4 months.”
Hairstylist Lisa Huff recommends trimming between a quarter to half an inch off the hair every 12 weeks if growing it out.
Doing it more often won’t make your hair grow any quicker. Strands only grow approximately a half inch every month, per the American Academy of Dermatology.
You may also need more off if breakage has moved from the ends further up the hair.
“Find a stylist you trust and allow them to cut off what is needed,” says Huff.
If you like your bangs to look just so, you may need to have them trimmed as regularly as every 2 weeks.
But most people tend to book appointments every 3 to 4 weeks to avoid the hair-in-eyes look.
This is typically the point where bangs feel overgrown, notes Huff.
Whether you have a pixie cut, bowl cut, or a contemporary crop, you’ll probably need to maintain it every month or so. (Some people can stretch to 6 weeks.)
“Short cuts look overgrown faster than hair past the shoulder because of the way they frame the face,” Huff states.
In other words, they lose their distinctiveness pretty quickly. Regular trims will help keep things looking sharp.
Those with long bobs (also known as lobs), tousled shags, or layered shoulder length styles all fall into the medium length category.
Sharper styles tend to grow out better, meaning you can wait a little longer for a trim.
If you want to keep your hair at the same length, get it cut every 6 to 8 weeks.
But if you want to grow it a little longer, cut it every 8 to 12 weeks.
“Long hair can go much longer, especially if [you] don’t color or use heat on it,” says Huff.
Between 3 and 6 months is usually recommended, depending on the shape of your style, which can range from braids and sleek and straight looks to beach waves and voluminous curls.
However, it’s worth noting that long hair can seem thinner and break easier. So pay attention to your hair to see when the time is right for a trim.
Layers that frame the face between the cheekbones and jawline will probably need cutting every 6 to 8 weeks to prevent an overgrown feel.
But people with lots of choppy layers may need to reduce that period to just 6 weeks if they don’t want things to appear crooked.
Those with thick hair can often go a few months without visiting a salon.
On one hand, they may not need a refresh quite so often. But on the other hand, thick-haired people know all too well how unruly strands can become without regular maintenance.
Thinner hair types may find their style begins to look lackluster after a couple of months.
Plus, there’s the potential breakage to consider.
Just like thick hair types, those with coarse hair can usually delay their trim for a few months.
Again, it’s all about recognizing when your style needs a quick refresh.
“Typically, ultra-fine hair breaks easier than coarse hair, so [these people] usually need trims more often,” says Huff.
This may be as early as every 6 weeks and will often be nothing more than a speedy trim to keep the length.
Straight or wavy hair
Straight- and wavy-haired individuals can usually stick to the average waiting period, so around every 10 to 12 weeks.
But if you have particularly fine strands, you may need to book that cut a couple of weeks earlier.
Kinky or curly hair
Curly hair can wait longer because even when it grows, it doesn’t seem to look much different.
Some people, particularly those who want their hair to grow, can restrict cuts to twice a year, while others may stick to quarterly cuts.
If you look after your coils, hair can wait around 12 weeks before needing a trim.
But this hair type tends to experience dryness more often than others.
So if you fall into that fragile category, you’ll probably need cuts more often.
Just remember not to cut too much off — you know how much it bounces up afterward.
Hair that’s exposed to constant heat, whether via straightening, drying, or curling, needs to be cut more often, notes Fuzailov.
This is because heat damages hair, and the easiest way to get rid of said damage is to cut it off.
It doesn’t mean you have to shave off inches, but getting your hair cut every few weeks will increase its health over time.
The same goes for chemically processed or dyed hair.
“Color causes hair
It’s almost a given that your hair will tick more than one of the above boxes.
So whether your hair is thick, short, and curly, or fine, dyed, and layered, the best route is to seek professional advice.
Failing that, try to get your hair trimmed every couple of months to keep things as healthy as can be.
Healthy and trimmed hair, Fuzailov says, “will grow faster and looks more radiant.”
Knowing what your hair needs and sticking to it is the best way to keep your style looking salon fresh.
And don’t forget to invest in the correct hair care products.
The likes of a deep conditioner and heat protection spray can reduce damage and dryness, allowing you to (slightly) prolong those all-important cutting sessions.
Lauren Sharkey is a journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.