Natural Hair: To Trim or Not To Trim for Length Retention


A reader weighs in on whether one should trim or not trim for hair length retention:

This is Queen, owner of Queen’s Hair Design.  I was reading your post about hair retention and trimming of the ends. From my experience as a hair stylist for 29 years, I NEVER tell a client trimming is not recommended on a regular bases (6-8) weeks. When the ends of the hair are not properly trimmed they become split whether natural or treating your tresses with a chemical. This is just something that hair does. If the ends are not removed the split continues up the hair shaft creating dry, hard and brittle hair. Even though the hair will continue to grow from the scalp, the ends will shed off therefore no length can be achieved.

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An example is clients that have chemicals and never want a regular trim: they have enough new growth for a retouch but may ask why they never see the growth. The shedding they complain about is the loss of the ends due to not trimming, abuse and the natural shedding process. So yes they have growth but they are losing the length sometimes due to not trimming the ends and they shed more than normal. Even with natural hair. I am natural now and I have some clients who started the natural journey around the same time and they ask me why my hair has more length than they do when they started before me. I tell them that I trim at least every 8 weeks (sometimes 6 depending on the styles that I have worn in between). My hair does not feel dry even when wet like I feel with a lot of natural clients.

If you keep your tresses up and not exposed to the elements then of course you won’t need to trim as much. Once the hair is taken down there will be more hair than normal in comb or brush because the hair that sheds naturally has nowhere to go when not taken down for days, weeks or months at a time. You will still have shedding as this is a natural process that NO ONE can avoid. I like to tell my clients to think about the trees and plants. In the fall the trees start to shed their leaves (some trees shed all their leaves), we prune back our plants and shrubs. But when the spring comes those same trees produce much more healthy and fuller leaves where they were once bare in the winter. Flowers and shrubs come back much fuller and produce more flowers that are full and beautiful. So trimming (pruning) our tresses create the same thing. It’s just a part of nature. Get rid of the old to make room for the new. I just wanted to see if I could help bring some clarity to this issue. I hear and see the issue of retention a lot in magazines and natural websites, so once I saw it on your blog I thought maybe I could give some insight about this issue.

God Bless and Be Natural
Opinion from The Queen

Good read!! While I don’t think it is absolutely necessary for me personally to trim my ends every 6-8 weeks, I will not argue that trimming is necessary for maintenance.  As previously stated, one has to get rid of split ends, single strand knots and any other damage that may occur at the ends of their hair to have a healthy growth process.
Weigh in!  What are your thoughts?
  • Great read with excellent points! I personally am TOO scissor happy though I’m making an effort to put the scissors DOWN lol

  • Kay

    Ms. Queen sounds like a true stylist lol I also don’t think mandatory trimming for the heck of it is necessary. The author makes it seem as if split ends are unavoidable so hair must be trimmed as a preventative measure. I disagree. I think ends should be trimmed on an as-needed basis or for aesthetics, as some prefer the look of clean-cut hair and lines.