Snip, snip, snip as I watch my ends fall into the bathroom sink simultaneously thinking how in the hell am I supposed to keep retaining length if I keep trimming my ends away and after pulling up site after site referencing the slightest hint about trimming and when you should trim your ends can make you a little bit stir crazy and scissor happy especially when different sites have their own set of guidelines and antics in how often you should trim to ensure healthy hair but one option you rarely see is “ cough, cough” should I dare say it…..Not Trimming Your Ends! Yes as in exactly what it means no trimming of the ends. Now I know this may sound taboo or a foreign concept for some but it is possible to retain healthy long hair without trimming your ends constant on a constant basis. Let me show you the necessary and unnecessary of it all when it comes to trimming your ends.

When Trimming is Necessary

  • Your ends are snapping off quicker than you can count to… uh got damn it there goes another one: If your ends are literally snapping off or you notice easy breakage when you detangle this is a key sign you need to  change an element of your hair routine, trim and seal more often. If your hair is of shorter length you might be more confused to actually what is breakage or simply shedding hair. An easy sign for anyone is that shedding hair has a tiny white clump on the end called the base of the hair strand or the bulb root which is not the literal hair root which is located deeply an safely within your scalp. The reason why the “bulb” or “base” of the strand is white because it has stopped producing color which is called melanin and this happens in the growth stage right before the hair sheds.
  • If you use heat frequently: Any type of frequent direct heat on your strands from tools such as hair dryers, curling/flat irons, straightening combs etc strips the sebum which are your natural oils from your strands and especially strands that are susceptible to dryness are at high risk for split ends. Checkout post “Here Today Gone Tomorrow: The Pudding & Facts of How Too Much Heat Can Affect Your Strands”  (click link).
  • Frequently wear your hair down: If your hair is at least shoulder length when you wear your hair down you up your chances for more wear and tear of your strands due to possible fraying against certain clothes you may be wearing. Now if your individual strands are thick in diameter  and of low to normal porosity you have more of a defense against the elements versa an individual like myself where the density of my hair is very thick but my strands are fine in diameter so just because of this reason alone updo styles is the name of my game.
  • Lack of sealing ends: Your ends are the oldest part of your hair and my motto has always been “treat your ends like your elders” they need a little more attention and respect especially for hanging around so long. Lack of sealing ends regularly can cause breakage and split ends. Especially for women with extremely curly and tight uniformed curls because the curlier the difficulty your sebum-natural oils from your sebaceous glands (located within the pores of your hair) has in running down your strands due to the winding curly road it has to travel versa a more easier journey for someone with wavy or straight hair. With my kinks sealing my ends are a necessity (I seal once a week) if I want to retain length. Since I have frequently been sealing my ends for the past 3 months my split ends have dropped tremendously in fact they have become so few it is hard for me to find them but since I can’t control every stray hair on my head therefore I still continue to dust my ends (if unaware of dusting click this link to view
  • Extreme Feathering: What is extreme feathering? If you grab your hair at the base or root and glide your hair down to the ends and notice the diameter of your ends is dangerously thinner than the roots of your hair then you are experiencing extreme feathering.  Feathering is the shape your hair takes when you grab sections of hair because your hair resembles a feather which naturally tapers off the closer you get to the ends of that feather. Now mostly everyone’s hair has some to very little feathering and this is natural especially if you wear your hair down all the time (and the length is at least shoulder length when out). As I mentioned before some feathering is natural but since I wear updo styles all the time feathering is not really a concern.
  • Naturally prone to Dryness: If overall your hair is prone to dryness on a consistent basis despite conditioning, moisturizing and sealing regular (which happens frequently to women with high porosity strands) trimming can be a necessary and beneficial part of your regimen.

 When Trimming is Not Necessary (when you experience or act on all of they below)

  • No breakage:
  • Few, dismal to desert like existence of split ends:
  • Little to no heat:
  • Seal ends often:
  • Some too little feathering

*Now I am in no way suggesting trimming as a bad solution or this should not be an option if you want to maintain length. If you ends need to be trimmed I am in 100% agreement that holding on to damaged ends not to sacrifice length is ludicrous but if your ends are healthy and you experience very few split ends trimming your ends is not necessary  if gaining length is your goal. Observe your ends carefully and as you become more experienced with your hair you will understand what your hair is trying to tell you and all you have to do is listen and act accordingly :)