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How Often Should You Cut Your Hair to Keep It Healthy?

A cute black woman with long hair on a 3C hair texture is posing for a photo showing off her thick hair type.

Most people know that haircuts and trims play an essential role in keeping your hair healthy. But what you might not know is how often you’re supposed to get them.

So, how often should you cut your hair to keep it healthy? Whether you want to keep your hairstyle looking fresh or are just trying to keep your strands healthy, this is the article for you!

Today, we’re going to help you figure out how often you need to get a haircut. We’ll also answer some of your other haircut-related questions, so stick around until the end!

How Often Should You Cut Your Hair

How often you cut your hair should depend on your goals. You’ll need frequent haircuts (or regular trims) to maintain your hair’s current length and shape.

But if you’re after length, you’ll probably want to cut your hair less often. Still, have questions? We’ll break things down further below. 

A light-skinned black girl with fine hair in a medium-length, wash-n-go hairstyle after getting her hair trimmed.

To Keep It the Same Length

Regular haircuts are essential if you prefer to keep your hair the same length. To retain your current length, cut your hair once every six to eight weeks.

Your hair grows at a rate of around half an inch each month.

And since trims typically remove about an inch of hair or less, you’ll essentially cancel out the new growth. Keep in mind that the frequency we recommended before is for long to medium-length hair.

The shorter your hair is, the more your new growth shows.

Short haircuts get overgrown quickly, which can alter your cut’s overall shape. If you have short hair (e.g., chin length or shorter), you’ll have to get your hair cut every three to four weeks instead. 

A black girl with medium hair about half an inch past her collarbone wearing her naturally coarse hair fluffy style.

To Grow It Out

Although it’s tempting to skip the trims when growing your hair out, doing so can make it harder to reach your length goals. Health-related trims are less frequent since the priority is on removing damage rather than maintaining the same length.

That way, your hair stays healthy as it grows. 

So, if you want to grow your hair out, cut it every eight to twelve weeks. You can cut your hair a little less often if your hair is healthy and you avoid heat, chemical, and mechanical damage. However, you should never go more than 16 weeks without getting a trim. 

A black lady with a great smile is wearing a curly bra-strap hair length style often worn by celebrity hairstylists.

Is Hair Healthier After Cutting?

After a thorough haircut, you’ll probably notice that your hair feels and looks fantastic. That’s because your hair is much healthier after a haircut. Haircuts remove the very ends of your hair.

And because your ends are the oldest part of your hair, they are significantly more vulnerable. As they get damaged, the ends of your hair start to split

They also develop rough, jagged cuticles that can get caught on each other and form knots and tangles.

You’ll also notice that your hair feels stiff and dry since your hair isn’t able to hold onto moisture. Fortunately, haircuts remove the existing damage and help lessen the chances of damage in the future. 

A woman with coily hair wearing her natural texture gets more frequent haircuts to maintain a specific shape.

What Happens if You Don’t Cut Your Hair for a Year?

Even if you have a healthy, well-planned haircare routine, some damage is inevitable. Just the acts of washing, styling, and going outside can damage your hair. So after a year of skipping trims, you’ll probably see a ton of breakage and split ends.

Your hair may look duller and have difficulty holding a style. 

You might also see a ton of knots if you have naturally curly or wavy hair. Additionally, the longer you go without a haircut, the more hair you’ll lose when you inevitably get that trim. So, for the best results, get your hair cut throughout the year. 

A beautiful black female with long hair and curly bangs on her type 3a and 3b hair types showing off new hair growth.

Can Cutting Your Hair Help It Grow?

There’s a common misconception that trims help your hair grow faster. Cutting your hair won’t impact your growth rate. However, it can make it easier to grow out your hair.

As you now know, damage may start at the ends of your hair, but it doesn’t stop there. 

And as the breakage moves upwards, your locks will get shorter and thinner. That can make growing your hair out impossible since all of your progress is being undone.

The good news is that trims and haircuts keep the ends of your hair strong. And since your hair isn’t breaking off, you’ll retain all your new hair growth

How to Tell When You Need a Haircut

One of the easiest ways to determine how often you need a haircut is to pay attention to your hair. Your hair will give you several indications that it’s time for a haircut. Want to know what they are? Here are some signs that you need a haircut. 

African American female that is wondering how often to cut curly hair during a normal hair care maintenance regimen.

It’s Getting Harder to Style Your Hair

Damaged, broken hair is weak. It also loses volume and is more prone to frizz. And as a result, it’ll take longer to style your hair.

Your hairstyle is also less likely to last, and you may have to pile on more and more styling products to get the look. Fortunately, getting the damage cut off will help restore your locks and make your hair easier to manage. 

You Have More Knots and Tangles

While some tangling is to be expected, a sudden increase is a sign that something is wrong. Damaged hair is significantly more tangle-prone than healthy locks.

And as you keep detangling your hair, you’ll end up damaging it further. So, if you find that your detangling sessions are taking longer and longer, it might be time to schedule a trim. 

A joyful black female with dry hair just scheduled weekly salon visits for more maintenance to repair hair shaft damage.

Your Hair Feels Dry, Rough, or Stiff

One of the easiest ways to tell if you need a trim is to run your fingers through your hair. Healthy hair feels soft, hydrated, and smooth. This is because the outermost layer of hair, called a hair cuticle, creates a watertight seal that locks in moisture.

But when your cuticles are damaged, water can flow freely into and out of your strands. That causes them to dry out and become dry, brittle, and stiff. 

You’ve Been Stuck at the Same Length

Have you ever had those months where it feels like your hair has just stopped growing? We’re here to tell you that it might not be all in your head.

Since split ends move upwards and chip away at your length, they can ruin your growth progress or even result in a setback.

If your hair is breaking off at the same rate as it is growing, it can feel like it has stopped growing altogether. While it may feel counterintuitive, regular haircuts are often what your hair needs to grow long and strong. 

A cute black girl wearing an ombre hairstyle on her type 3a and 3b hair types is talking on her mobile phone.

The Ends of Your Hair Taper Off

As your hair grows, your ends naturally start to thin out. Your hair takes on a subtle “V” shape since your ends show signs of wear and tear the most.

But if your ends are thin, scraggly, and see-through, it’s time to schedule a trim immediately. Healthy hair is around the same thickness from root to end. So, for the best results, trim your hair just above where it starts to thin. 

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As you can see, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how often you need to cut your hair!

You can cut it more often to maintain your length or gradually go shorter. Or, stretch out the time between haircuts to keep your strands healthy while you grow them out.

And if you’re ever in doubt, just pay attention to how your hair looks and feels. Either way, we hope that the information we’ve gone over today is just what you were looking for.