Are You Keeping Your “Denial Length”? Here’s Why You Should Trim Your Hair

Trimmed hair is healthy hair.


Cut it, cut it, cut it, cut it… yo split ends way too long you need to cut itttt.

Like many ladies, there were few things I used to hate more than cutting my hair. Prior to transitioning, I would spend what felt like all year growing my hair out 2-3 inches just to lose what little new growth I gained after my bi-annual trim. I would go back and forth with my hairstylist, asking her just to "dust the ends" or to "keep as much length as possible," but in reality, those ends needed to go. Period.

As DeeJa B mentions in her Instagram video, many of us are trying to keep our "denial length" – barely trimming our hair and keeping dead length because we are in "denial" that our ends are damaged and that trimming them will truly lead to healthier hair. You know who you are. Let those ends go, sis.

Per collaboration with Houston-based stylist and owner of Shay BeYOUty, Shayna Matthews, most ladies pursuing healthy hair should trim their ends every 4-6 weeks depending on heat and color damage, protective styling frequency, chemical treatment, natural hair product usage, thickness, and overall growth speed. Note: these trims do not need to be drastic, a snip here and a snip there. But split ends become progressively worse the longer you wait to trim them off. For some, lightly trimming your hair earlier on and more consistently can help you keep the length that would need to be all cut off by stalling your trim for 10+ months.

Go green! My natural hair is silk pressed using Chi Silk Infusion.

To combat damage, Shay recommends that "trims and treatments should go hand in hand. Often what is causing your ends to split is the overall lack of moisture and resulting dryness that comes from daily manipulation – especially if you're using chemicals and heat."

Whether you are all natural or rocking a relaxer, Shay recommends that ladies are religious about their deep conditioning to replenish the moisture our hair desperately needs.

I, for one, can say that I've traditionally been pretty bad about keeping up with my trims – maybe 1 or 2 times a year. But I can now say that I have seen a noticeable progression in my hair health and length over the last year since working to keep my ends clipped and hair moisturized. After making excuses at my last few appointments, I promised myself that at my next visit, I would get a trim all the way up to the green line (as illustrated in the picture above) and not slide by with a trim only to the red or yellow line.

And this time around, I did. Although seeing my new growth was so satisfying, I knew that my dead ends had to go. Healthy hair is trimmed hair.

Are you waiting too long to trim your dead ends? Chances are that you might be. Check out the tips below for different hair textures and treatment levels in order to keep your hair trimmed and healthy.

Color-Treated Hair

Dyed hair is particularly fragile and the chemicals can be harsh, both on your ends and roots. When highlighting hair, it strips a layer off the hair strand, the lipid layer, which is responsible for lubricating the membrane, ultimately causing more porous hair, texture changes, and increased breakage and dryness if color is applied too frequently and without moisture replacement. To keep your hair from getting to the point of breakage, aim for a trim every 4-6 weeks and frequent conditioning treatments.

Relaxed & Chemical-Treated Hair

Like dyed hair, relaxed and chemical treated hair are also very fragile. To keep your hair from getting too damaged, which happens easily with relaxed hair, try to trim every 4-6 weeks depending on your hair texture and growth speed. If you are combining chemical treatments, like a relaxer and color, frequent moisturizing should be your top priority to avoid damage.

Natural Hair (with semi-frequent heat usage)

From blow-outs to silk presses, semi-frequent heat usage on your natural hair isn't inherently a bad thing but should always follow with the use of a good heat protectant (my favorite is Redken Smooth Lock Heat Glide!) Since heat can weaken the ends of our hair and cause dryness if heat is applied too frequently, it is recommended that ladies with natural hair also get more frequent trims and stay moisturized. Depending on your hair length, density, and growth speed, trims every 4-6 weeks might be a good option. If your hair grows more slowly, opt for every 2-3 months.

Natural Hair (without heat usage)

Trimming natural hair comes down to knowing your texture and overall hair growth speed. Some ladies will only gain 2 inches all year and it will be completely healthy, while others gain 4+ inches a year but are manipulating it a lot with a number of products and high-tension hairstyles. Even natural hair styling can be rough on your ends if you are constantly doing twist-outs, and some products are so thick that they can suffocate your hair. That being said, for some, trimming every 3-4 months may help maintain length and health, while for others, trimming every 1-2 months is a better option.

Protective Styles

Whether you consistently rock braids or wigs, your hair underneath still needs a trim or it can get damaged despite the new growth. High tension styles like cornrows and weaves can be rough on your ends and edges, so don't put off your trims for too long. Like natural hair with less frequent heat usage, depending on your hair length, density, and growth speed, try to trim your hair every 4-8 weeks. If your hair grows more slowly, trim your hair every 2-3 months.

All images provided by Lydia Anglin; Featured image via Giphy

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