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Curly Nikki

Trimming Your Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202127 Comments

by Juli-Anne of ThreeNaturals

It is vitally important to trim your natural hair from time to time. Because your hair is dead by the time it emerges from your scalp, you can’t regenerate or repair it, and if you don’t keep split ends trimmed, the damaged hairs can tangle on adjacent ones exacerbating the issue. The frequency of your trims will depend on your particular hair, but generally speaking, no matter how careful you are about caring for your hair, damage is sometimes inevitable.

There is always the temptation to avoid trimming to retain length, but in the long run, for the health and length of your hair, ’tis better to trim than not to trim.

There is a lot of information out there on the best way to trim natural hair, but as mamma always says “There’s more than one way to skin a cat!” (I don’t know why anyone would want to skin a cat). As with all things concerning your natural hair, you ultimately need to find what works for you.

The trimming issue boils down to making sure that your hair is stretched when you do trim. You need to make sure that your hair is in a stretched state (stretched is a fancy natural hair term that just means that your curls are “pulled out” and not coiled up in their natural curl pattern). You can achieve a stretched state with the aid of heat (blow drying or flat ironing) or with water (wetting your hair and manually stretching each section as you go).

Here are a few videos from YouTube-ers who show the various methods of trimming your hair.

How do you trim your natural hair?

CN Says:
Once a month I micro trim the tips of my twists and when anxious or bored, I do search and destroys in good lighting.


  • Shanay says:

    When I first went naural I trim my hair every3 months. Now that my hair is fully natural, I only trim it every 6 months or when my ends starts to look a little messy.

  • KK says:

    My stylists blow dries and flat irons my hair every 3 months or so to trim. I'm concerned about the amount of heat. Is it necessary to get the hair so straight in order to trim? I'm concerned this may cause heat damage.

  • Karen Ivory says:

    My stylist

  • Megan M. says:

    I haven't trimmed my hair since I've been completely natural (since May). I have to buy some new scissors since I left the ones my mom gave me at home (back in Austin for school). Hopefully I can get a new pair soon so that I can trim! I have no money to afford to go to a salon right now lol

  • Anonymous says:

    I just trimmed 🙁

  • Jami says:

    Loved MsVCharles' def of what makes hair "dead": Cannot heal (or revert back) to a healthy state after being damaged. Thanks.

    Anon @ 10:22 pm (dec 6): I only cringed at 2:14.


  • Anonymous says:

    I was so happy when I found Naptural85's youtube channel a few months ago. I saw her trimming method just in time. There isn't anybody in my small town that I trust to handle natural hair so I trimmed mine myself. It didn't look terrible, but I just knew that the next time I needed a trim I was going to have to travel out of town to get it done by a place/person I trusted to handle my hair. Then I found Naptural and her trimming video and wow! What a difference it made when I followed her method. Everybody has their own way of doing it, but her way is best for me.

  • Dalora says:

    This was right on time. I was going to go to the local dominican salon but this post inspired me to use the regimen I used when I was newly natural. I combed out a dry wash-n-go in tiny sections and clipped 1/2 inch off of the ends. This left me with a Chaka-Khan like look (my hair is bsl). This allows me to then see the overall shape and I went back and carved in some layers around the face. On my wash-n-go the next day I had that perfect round shape that I love so much. I have had my hair trimmed any way that it can be done. Sometimes I clip the ends off of twists, sometimes I have it done at the salon after a blow out or while wet. It all works the same for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    It did seem BlackOnyx was kinda ruff with the stuff. Lawd. I haven't trimmed in about 5 months and my ends are thinning. Guess I will get to it next weekend. I like the wetting the hair method. I will try that.

  • Linda says:

    depending on length and weather, I have wavy to curly to kinky hair (sometimes all at once!), and have been cutting my own hair for years. I have found that the best way to do this is: on dry hair, determine how much I want to cut off – is it a trim or a BC, section off hair in several sections (these change with the "look" I am going for – no bangs or long bangs, etc), then I twist the section that I am working on and cut off the predetermined length. I have found that by giving the section a couple of twists, any variations on length are less noticeable, and the revived curls help hide any imperfections!

  • ms moe says:

    HHHHelpp I need it bad,my hair and scalp is horrible shape my scalp icth all the time I have stracthed my hair out my hair is growing on the left side breaking off on the right it looks find went I leave the house hours later it shrinks.I co-wash twice a week deep con. once a week nothing I do changes can anyone out there help this newly natural

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair is mid back to my bra strap. I trim my hair when I flat iron it. I put my hair in a ponytail and use several scuncis "no damage elastics" along the length to keep it in place and just clip the ends. I then clip the front so it can frame my face a little. No stress. I don't have to worry about getting a haircut when all I need is a trim.

  • Anonymous says:

    I flat ironed my hair last week to trim my hair for the first time since being natural (15 months)

  • ~J. Free~ says:

    I just trimmed last weekend. I usually only trim twice a year (due to laziness, not lack of need) but have decided if I am going to get anywhere with this ridiculous amount of hair, I will need to trim 3-4 times a year. Deep conditioned, rinsed, sectioned, trimmed, bantu knotted them up. Done. I realized that I am not getting all the hair since the sections were so large, some ends were "hidden". I plan to trim again in Jan/Feb and then use smaller sections. I should probably.

    And Smallfro, I have straight ends mixed in with the kinky curly hairs. lol…so my head just looks frizzy all the time. Stretching when I trim doesnt really effect my outcome, though.

  • Charmed Muggle says:

    Those who flat iron their curly hair or wear it straight often, 'stretching' & flat ironing the hair to trim is a good idea. Those who wear their hair curly, should cut their hair while in its curly state. Many naturals have different types of curls on their head & each type shrinks, curls & coils differently, thus it only makes sense to cut curly hair while it is curly.

    Check out Devachan's YouTube video to understand this 'logic'. Many manufacturers, who are also stylists, of natural hair care products do this as well. It will be nice when the natural hair community ceases to use stretched & flat ironed hair as the standard of length.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just BC'd a few days ago after a 16 & a half month transition so this post was right on time. Trimming was not an issue while I was transitioning but the thought of it was a little intimidating now that I'm completely natural. So thanks for the vids. They definitely helped!

  • Discovery says:

    I just straightened and trimmed my hair Thanksgiving weekend and the splits were ridiculous! My hair definitely feels better now, though.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lol at Jami!

  • Jami says:

    Concerning your "skin a cat" reference (lol; I've wondered the same thing) I surfed the 'net and I found this link: and I read (fiction or real, i don't know) somewhere else how at times a cook would pose a cat as a possum on the dinner table (yeh, i know).. peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or did it seem that BlackOnyx was rough with her comb and brush. I winced everytime she pulled them through her hair.

  • Chocolate Mom aka Blupoetres says:

    Just had my final chop…and looking for feedback – Please!

  • Smallfro says:

    I trim my hair when the ends start to be extra tangly and feel rough. It is about every 3-4 months. Be careful at PhenomallyME, I have one area of my hair I keep trimming due to straight ends and realized that that is the one section of my hair that is not kinky. It just has to grow longer before it curls. The section is only 1×1 inch and in the middle of my head, go figure.

  • PhenomenallyMe says:

    This post as well as watching more youtube videos encouraged me to trim my hair. I twisted my hair and trimmed that way. It was actually easy to do it that way for me!

    I didn't know whether or not it really needed it but I wanted to be safe than sorry! As I trimmed my hair, I noticed I still had some straight hair attached. So it was a win! I rid my hair of relaxed end 4 months ago but I knew I had some extra. Thanks for the post! I learned plenty!

  • Cassandra says:

    I recently purchased a Split-Ender and have noticed a drastic change in the growth of my hair. I BC in June and wanted to grow my hair out asap so I didn't trim as often, but once I started using the Split-Ender, my hair has grown alot.

  • Anonymous says:

    I recently purchased the Split-Ender and trim my split ends every 4-6 weeks or when I notice the ends looking weird. This has really help my hair to grow since I straightened my hair rarely and helps maintain my haircut.

  • Anonymous says:

    I started with a professional cut. Then, every 3 months since then, I divide my hair into even sections (separated equally from each other). I trim approx 1/4 of an inch off with shears (which I only use for trimming my hair).
    This process has allowed me to maintain the Devachan cut I got and prevents me from having to pay for it again! It also has helped with overall hair health and length retention.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just dusted this weekend…I put my hair in small braids and trimmed off the tips. Because I've been manipulating it a lot lately, I no longer trim on an every-8-weeks schedule; I will get out the scissors if the ends feel weird. It really does make sense in a weird way when it comes to retaining length: Healthy ends mean fewer snags and breakage (in my experience).

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