Ask a hairdresser how often you should cut your hair and they’ll probably say, ‘every few weeks.’ No shade, but this makes great business sense for hairdressers (the more you cut the more you’ll visit) but is it the right advice for you?  Look, in some cases this is spot on, but the answer to the question: how often should you cut your hair? comes down to several factors and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Here’s why:

We Are all Different.

That’s right, the hair that grows out of our heads, the amount of time we spend taking care of it, the length of hair we are aspiring to, our genetics…the list goes on and on.  It’s true that trimming your hair is key to preventing split ends, it helps when growing longer hair and keeping your hair healthy from tip to root. But how often you trim or cut it depends on so much more: it requires research and self-analysis.

Cropped shot of hairdresser

Before you book your appointment at the hairdressers or grab your scissors for a DIY job, you may want to ask yourself the following questions first.

How Often to Cut Hair? Well, that all depends…

  • Do I actually have split ends to cut off? If you are cutting your hair to improve its health, try not to cut too much too soon and lose out on having the length of hair that you want. When you get split ends, the split will run up the hair shaft and sure, if you don’t snip it the damage could travel all the way up to your roots. But you really need to check your hair for split ends before just assuming you have them. If you are doing a DIY job, look for a change in texture (coarser or more prone to tangles and tiny knots) towards the end of the hair shaft, and ONLY trim what is damaged.
  • What type of hair do I have? This is important, although hair grows out of our heads at about the same speed (approximately a half inch every month), once it’s out all bets are off. Some hair is just more delicate and prone to damage. Fine hair is more likely to break, and curly or afro hair can need more moisture to avoid drying out, becoming brittle and breaking off. You could find yourself needing more regular trims if this is your hair type, but again you need to check your own hair to find out what is needed.
  • What is my haircare routine? You have researched and implemented a killer haircare routine, your hair is flourishing, and you are seeing growth and thickness – why in the world are you cutting it off? Unless you are trying to maintain a style, cutting your hair does nothing if you don’t have damage. Continue with your routine, reap the rewards and keep an eye on when you actually DO have damage, then be ready to snip it off.
  • Have I had a chemical process done to my hair? Chemically processed hair can be healthy and look great, but it can be weaker. Be aware that any permanent changes made to the hair shaft will require more care and maintenance – this includes being stricter about when to cut hair. In short, having chemically processed hair may see you trimming more often than before.
  • Do I heat style my hair? Whether you use a hair dryer, straighteners, curling irons or any heated tool, you are going to cause stress and put tension on the hair. Of course, there are safer ways to dry and style your hair that can cause less damage, but the truth is most of us want things done as quick and easily as possible. The problem with quick and easy is that it can lead to damage over time. If you use heat on your hair more than once a week, chances are you will need to cut your damaged ends more often.
  • Should I cut my long hair? Be honest, if you are desperate to keep the length of your hair, then cutting is going to be counterproductive. It’s true, the longer you leave it the more potential damage is done to your hair IF you have split ends. However, if you have the length you want but you also have split-ends, don’t be afraid to ask for a light dusting rather than a full blown cut. Gradual trimming of your ends can be very effective and will still leave you with a bit of length to play with!

Does Cutting Your Hair Make it Grow Longer?

This is one of the most asked hair cutting questions of all time! The best time to cut hair to make it grow is when it needs it. The hair that grows out of your head grows at pretty much the same as everyone else’s. Cutting off the damage helps you to better retain that length. Cutting prevents damage from spreading up the hair shaft from tip to root.

How Often Should You Cut Your Hair

So, let’s get down to it. For those of you who are considering cutting your hair but not sure when and how often, there is no hard and fast rule. BUT, if you want a rough guide then check out our list of suggestions below. Remember, all hair should be analysed on a case-by-case basis:

Short hair – Every 6 – 12 weeks to maintain a style, as and when needed for maintaining good hair health. This is a shorter amount of time as damage can be more noticeable on short hair.

Medium hair –. Damage can be more noticeable on shorter hair, but it can also be pretty visible on longer hair too! If the damage is easy to spot it’s time to get rid. We would suggest 8-14 weeks if you are not trying to strictly maintain style.

Long hair – If you have long hair and you are often putting it in a bun you could be missing the damage. That said, bunning the hair can be great at protecting your delicate ends from the elements, this includes friction. If you have no damage, focus more on protection. If you have split ends and want to keep the length, get hair trimmed every 6 weeks until most of the damage is gone.

Layers – Maintaining layers requires cutting more regularly, but the frequency depends on the length of the layers. Shorter layers will need to be maintained more regularly (6-8 weeks) as the style change will be more noticeable as it grows out. Longer layers are often easier to disguise (8-14 weeks or more).

Thick hair – Some would say that thick hair is the most forgiving when it comes to hiding damage. If you are ok with having a little damage because it is not easy to spot, you can wait up to 6 months for a trim.

Thin hair – Thin hair is more prone to damage as it is more delicate. If you are fighting to preserve the strands you have, take care of them and get rid of damage as soon as possible: haircut time will be every 6-8 weeks.

Young woman and hairdresser

How Often Should I Get a Haircut: Straight vs Curly

How often to trim your straight hair – Straight hair can look pretty bad as the ends begin to thin from shedding and breakage, try and keep them looking neat with a more regular trim.

How often you should cut curly hair – Curly hair can hide damage, but at some point those ends will need to come off. You may not need to trim as often as those with straight hair but don’t get carried away and leave yourself with extremely damaged strands.

How often to cut your natural hair – If your hair is in its natural state, particularly those with afro hair, waiting a little longer is ok but we wouldn’t recommends going any longer than 6 – 8 months.

How often to trim your bangs? – If you have cut some bangs into your hair, it probably means that your damage has been cropped off too. Keeping them neat and at the right length should only require a trim every few weeks.

How often should you get it cut if you use hot tools and chemical treatments? – Heat damage is irreparable, there is no product that can save hair that has been damaged by heat. Cutting off is pretty much the only option – so go carefully with those hair tools. You may want to visit your salon more regularly if your style requires daily or even weekly heat. Check your ends every few weeks and follow up with salon visits as soon as you spot damage.