Your first step in the 6 months growth challenge will be to trim your hair if needed. Do not trim off healthy ends, that’s reducing length unnecessarily. The reason we trim off damaged or split ends is because
- Splits tend to travel up, so the longer you leave them the further up they go and even multiply which means you will have to trim even more hair when you finally get round to trimming. So it’s better to trim a little now and save yourself the length.
- Damaged ends do not allow your hair styles to look nice especially when you want curly styles.
- Damaged ends cause more breakage and knots.
So how do you know if your hair needs trimming?
SIGNS OF DAMAGE
1. Visible splits on individual strands of hair.
2. The ends of your hair snap off easily.
3. The ends start to knot and tangle easier than is normal for you.
4. The ends become harder to keep moisturized and start to look dull.
5. Thin, whispy looking ends.
6. Your hair generally looks thinner.
7. Your ends don’t curl right. For example when you do styles like twists, coils or rod sets the ends fray out instead of curling uniformly.
8. Hair becomes harder to detangle and has a lot more single strand knots.
9. Hair does not shrink-this is most likely an indicator of heat damage. Whenever water hits your hair it should curl up and shrink. That’s what healthy natural hair does.
10. Your curl pattern becomes wonky ie looser and even straight in some areas. This is typical of heat or colour damage.
11. The hair shaft tapers off. It should be the same length from top to bottom.
NB: Get into the habit of checking your shed hair. You will be able to catch things like split ends, a wonky curl pattern and increased single strand knots that way.
If your hair has heat damage you can choose to trim all the heat damaged hair at once or just do trim a little periodically until it is all gone. If your hair is long it is easy to see the split ends yourself but if it’s still short you may need some help from another person.
You have options when it comes to trimming. You can either do it yourself or have a stylist do it for you. You can choose to do it on straightened hair or trim without straightening. The benefits of seeing a stylist is that it is easier for them to see exactly where to trim. Also, since they tend to trim on heat straightened hair, they will get a more even result. However, you need to see a stylist who knows exactly what they are doing, otherwise you run the risk of getting heat damage since most can only trim heat straightened hair. Heat damage will set you back several steps back from your length goals so you want to avoid that at all costs.
If you choose to do it yourself you must make sure that you have a sharp pair of scissors that you keep specifically for that purpose. Do not use them to cut paper, nails, cloth or any other thing except your hair. Blunt scissors do more harm than good. You can choose to have your hair heat straightened before by someone who understands natural hair and how to straighten it without damage or do it without heat straightening. Personally I prefer the latter. To do it without heat straightening do small twists or plaits (matutas) then trim off the tapering ends. The beauty or this is that you can wear the twists or matutas as a style afterwards or do a twist out or braid out. The disadvantage of trimming your own hair is that you may trim off more or less than is needed and your hair is in all likelihood going to be uneven. The advantage is that you aren’t likely to get heat damage especially if you aren’t heat straightening it. You also save money.