By Terez Howard

Trimming natural hair can be a bit of a challenge. It’s not only physically awkward but can be mentally taxing because you probably feel like your cutting away your growth. You have to accept that trimming natural hair must NEVER be avoided. The benefits far outweigh any disadvantages. The general rule is to trim loose natural hair every 6 to 8 weeks with sharp scissors, preferably hair trimming scissors. (Locs are a different story).

Here’s what you can expect if you do not trim regularly:

– Split ends galore. Inside each strand is the cortex (the second layer found in a strand). This cortex loses moisture and  unravels like a rope. The split ends will continue up the entire strand unless they are cut off. A few split ends are not going to hurt, but more than a few necessitate a trim.

– Tangles, tangles and more tangles. Split ends produce tangles. Black hair naturally twists and coils around itself. Now imagine one strand breaking into a web of 3 to 5 more strands at its tip. Those strands reach onto other split ends, making your detangling session last forever.

– Breakage. Those tangles can produce breakage. You might get impatient as you detangle tangled split ends and pull and snap strands of fragile hair. Now, your natural hair is ridden with breakage.

– Lifeless hair. I know that hair is dead anyways, but who says that your natural hair has to look lifeless? Trimmed hair has beautiful body and volume that untrimmed hair lacks. Once again, those split ends are to blame for frizz and overall unkempt-looking hair.

Ways to Trim Your Own Natural Hair

I have listed four ways for trimming natural hair at home.  Depending on your hair type and personal preferences, you can decide which method will work for you.

Two strand twists.  Trimming natural hair by twisting your hair is my favorite.  You put small two strand twists all over your head and then let the hair dry completely.  Either unravel the twists for a more defined trim, or keep them in.  Then, trim the ends of your hair.

Braids.  You can use braids to trim your natural hair the same as you would do with twists.  I suggest always unraveling the braids before you trim.

Straightening.  If you primarily wear your hair straight, then trimming natural hair this way is the best method.  Use more indirect heat (hooded dryer) than direct heat (flat iron, pressing comb, etc.) when you straighten your hair.  After it’s straightened, you can trim your ends.

Stretch and trim.  If you have more curls than coils, this can work.  You look at each individual curl when dampened and trim the ends.  You don’t always have to stretch the curl out, either.  You can just look and snip.  This method can be done on coils, too, but it takes a lot of patience and a good eye.  If you have more coils than curls, you must stretch to trim.

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