damaged hair
Growth & Retention

Good Hair Habit #7 – Don’t Give Damage a Free Pass

damaged unhealthy hair
Damaged ends before a hair cut in 2012

Some ladies will do anything to hold on to length, including protecting unhealthy hair. I admit that at one time I was that lady just holding out hope; Hope for what though? Hope that my damaged ends would heal themselves and miraculous even out with the undamaged hair?

Why Trim Your Hair

Unfortunately, the only hope for unhealthy hair (specifically split ends) is to trim it. Broken off, damaged ends are just unattractive and you’re definitely not rocking your best hair. The only choice is to cut your hair and maintain it with periodic trims going forward.

You may be thinking, “I don’t do anything to damage my hair. I don’t straighten or heat style. I don’t use chemicals. I use all natural hair products. Heck, I don’t even use combs and brushes. I’m a strict finger detangler.”

unhealthy hair tools

Guess what? All of that is great but even hair that’s well taken care of still needs to be trimmed from time to time. That’s simply due to normal wear and tear. Your hair is a fiber and it wears out over time. Thankfully, worn out hairs are always in the process of being replaced by new hairs. About 85-90% of your hair is always in a growth phase. It’s known as the anagen phase of hair growth. (Read an article over on Naturally Curly on The Phases of Hair Growth)

Trimming your hair 2-3 times a year is a good practice to eliminate damage from normal wear and tear. If you use heat or any kinds of chemicals on your hair, you will need to trim more often to manage your ends and get rid of unhealthy hair.

A Professional Trim or Self Trim?

It’s a good idea to get a professional trim at least once a year but you can self trim by using what’s called the Search and Destroy Method throughout the rest of the year. The Search and Destroy Method is a practice of searching for split ends and damage on individual hairs, then snipping just above the damage. This is what I like to do to maintain length and thereby, I don’t disturb the healthy neighboring hairs.

When trimming your own hair just make sure you use sharp scissors specified for trimming hair and don’t use them on anything but your hair. If you have never trimmed your hair before or if it’s been a very long time, a trip to the salon for a professional trim is in order.

Trimming damage from your hair protects the healthy hairs so that they don’t get caught up on the damaged hairs, causing tangling leading to even more damage. Don’t hold on to scraggly ends just for the sake of length. If you’re not causing your hair avoidable damage, you won’t need to trim as often but you should still trim.

Long hair doesn’t always equal healthy hair. Your best hair is achieved when your ends are healthy. So, don’t give damaged, unhealthy hair a free pass. Those damaged hairs may appear longer than the rest but before long, they will cause more harm than good.

Stay tuned to Good Hair Habit #8 – Massage Your Scalp

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Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

2 Comment

  1. I stopped using heat on my hair since the beginning of my journey, but my hair got damaged by too much protein. I stopped using protein treatments and trimmed as needed until all the damaged ends were gone. I enjoyed reading this post. By the way, I was that girl, too.

    1. *sigh long gone are those days. Protein is good for the hair just not too much if you don’t need it. Some people over do it when they don’t need to. I remember using Aphogee (animal protein…very strong) when I was relaxed. It would be good for when I was having a lot of breakage but to use it just because, would cause more harm than good

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