We've all heard that we should regularly get a haircut if we want our hair to grow strong and healthy, but how do we know when right time is? In theory, a six-week visit to the hairstylist is fine, but there may have some exceptions to the rule depending on the hair texture and your go-to haircut.
To know exactly how long you should wait before you cut your hair, we decided to get to the bottom of things. As intense as this conversation can be, we talked to five experts to get all the possible tips and ways on how long a style can hold up if infrequent trimmings take a toll on your hair's health and if there's a one-size-fits-all rule for everyone to follow. Keep reading to learn how often you should be cutting your hair.
Meet the Expert
- Paul Norton is not only Demi Lovato's hairstylist but also counts Gina Rodriguez, Hannah Simone, and Dianna Agron among his clients as well. He is the founder of Leo by Paul Norton, a beauty salon in West Hollywood.
- Tanya Abriol is a celebrity hair colorist whose client roster includes Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Vernon François is an internationally-acclaimed celebrity hairstylist and founder of the Vernon François Collection, a prestige brand of hair care and styling products specialized in textured hair.
General Rule of Thumb
When it comes to how often you should cut your hair in general, there's no one answer. But depending on your hair and what your end goal is, there might be a sweet spot. "Two key factors when wondering [if it's] time for a cut are as basic as this: 1) Can you no longer achieve the styles you desire? And 2) are the ends of your hair visibly damaged?" Norton says. Around a month after your last haircut, start asking yourself those questions. If you answer yes to either one, head to the salon.
The experts say between every three and seven weeks for shorter cuts and bobs. According to celebrity hairstylist Richard Collins, if you have a specific style, like an Anna Wintour bob with bangs, then you probably need to get your haircut every three weeks to keep the look precise and polished. "This is based on the fact that your hair usually grows about half an inch per month," he adds.
Norton agrees that more frequent trims are a must to maintain the style and shape of a shorter' do. But if you're more relaxed about your look, then you may be able to stretch that to four to seven weeks.
The pros say that getting a trim about three or four times a year should suffice. "If you generally have healthy hair that isn't damaged and you're keeping it mid-length to long, you need to cut it less," Collins says. "I recommend only three to four times a year just to dust the ends and touch up layers.”
Even for long, healthy styles, Abriol says you need to base your decision on how good you want your hair to look. “When you like to have your hair longer than your shoulders, layered or not, and it’s been longer than three months, your shape has completely grown out, and you’re ready for a new one.”
And it's important to remember that long hair is very old. Like anything that ages, the older your hair gets, the more fragile it is. Long hair is typically more susceptible to breakage, split ends, and to appearing thinner, especially if it has been chemically treated. The experts recommend visiting the salon every eight weeks.
Apply argan oil to ends of hair to help treat and camouflage split ends in between trims.
Argan oil is a plant oil extracted from the kernels of the fruit pit of the argan tree (aka Argania spinosa) which grows in Morocco. The ingredient is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids. It also provides anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits.
Hairstylists specializing in natural texture recommend at most 12 weeks between cuts. "Ideally," François, explains, "I would recommend six to 12 weeks for anyone with wavy or curly hair, while coil-y, tight curls and kinky patterns could wait as long as two months for a trim. If your hair is colored or heat damaged, I would advise checking if the hair needs cutting every time you are having it colored to avoid over-processing the ends."
“Textured hair tends to be quite dry naturally and craves moisture,” François adds. As such, he recommends 12 weeks between cuts but stresses the importance of time between washes: “The best number of days will vary from person to person, but every two to three days might be good for wavy hair; every three to seven days good for curly hair; and every seven days or possibly longer for coil-y and kinky hair.”
“If your hair is more prone to split ends or you have a lot of chemical treatments done, trimming every eight weeks will help keep your hair healthy,” adds Creighton Bowman, a L.A.-based hairstylist with a vast clientele that includes Winona Ryder, Kate Beckinsale, and Laura Dern. Collins agrees, suggesting a trim every eight weeks if your hair is chemically damaged, especially fine, or frayed at the ends. More frequent haircuts can help prevent over-drying and breakage.
Do Frequent Trims Boost Hair Growth?
Yes and no. Cutting your hair may help it grow longer and faster, but not the way you're thinking. Trimming the tips doesn't affect the root (which is where it grows from), but it does prevent your hair from suffering the breakage and split ends that make it look like it's growing slowly.
Besides these timing tips, it's also important to read the signs your hair needs a trim. Split ends, layers losing shape and hair that tangles easily (especially at the bottom) are some of these signs. No matter what, experts agree that you shouldn't wait more than six months for a haircut.
Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450