Byrdie April 22, 2024



8 Signs Your Hair Needs a Trim ASAP


Once you've decided that you're ready to grow your hair out, few things can deter you from reaching the finish line. Whether it's hot temperatures that leaves your head sweaty, the longer-than-usual styling time, or the fact that you're going through products at a speedier rate—nothing can stand in your way. We shouldn't even mention seeing a stylist to get your hair trimmed consistently, right? After all, it feels counterintuitive to take a scissor to your hair when your goal is to achieve length...

However, a trim isn't the same as a proper haircut. The purpose of a hair trim to keep your hair healthy by preventing split ends and damage that could ultimately lead to hair breakage and therefore, shorter hair that physically can't grow past a certain point. There's no reason to grow out your hair if it's going to look and feel damaged—right? Trimming your hair can actually help you achieve long, healthy hair when done regularly. So, we tapped three professional hairstylists to share their insights into trims, cuts, and hair growth.

Below, discover how often you really need a trim, the telltale signs that you need one, how to stretch out the time between your visits, and more.


Owen Gould is a celebrity hairstylist in LA and a Garnier brand ambassador.

Devin Toth is a hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City.

Amy Abramite is a creative director, salon educator, and stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


What Defines a Trim?

A trim typically involves removing only a small amount of hair at the ends, usually to maintain the current style or to get rid of split ends. "It's often done to keep the hair looking healthy and neat without making any significant changes to the length or overall shape of the hairstyle," says celebrity hairstylist Owen Gould. Furthermore, hairstylist Devin Toth says that trims are often done to maintain the shape of your previous haircut—not a drastic, huge change. For certain cuts with blunt ends or angles, someone might go as often as weekly to keep their style from looking messy or unstructured.

What Defines a Haircut?

Unlike a trim, a proper haircut involves snipping off more length once your previous cut has grown out. "It can involve cutting off a substantial amount of hair, creating layers, adding bangs, or even completely changing your hairstyle," explains Gould. "Haircuts are more transformative and can give you a new look or help you achieve a specific style." 

How Often Should You Get Your Hair Trimmed?

This time frame for how often on may need a trim can vary from person to person, depending on their hair style, texture, and regular maintenance. Hairstylist Amy Abramite explains: "If someone is heavy-handed on heat styling with a curling iron or receiving a high-lift color service, split ends can happen as quickly as four weeks. For others who naturally air-dry their hair and refrain from damaging beauty habits, 12 weeks is acceptable for a trim."

What Does a Hair Trim Cost?

The cost of a haircut—no matter how much length you're getting taken off—can range from $25 to $300 (or more). Even if you're just looking to have a small amount of hair taken off, a trim typically doesn't cost less than a more drastic haircut, as the stylist still has to spend the same amount of time and expertise to make sure they get the look right. Remember: What you pay is also based on the location, the stylist, the salon, and any add-ons you may get during your trim, like a blowout, color, or chemical treatment. If you have any questions regarding pricing, it's best to speak with a stylist prior to booking an appointment. That way you won't be surprised when it comes time to pay.

How to Prolong Your Style Between Trims

In addition to skipping regular trims, using the incorrect hair products can speed up hair damage, so make sure to use ones that can help you prolong your most recent cut with some simple steps. In fact, doing so can help keep you from going to the hair salon every six to eight weeks.

Using the right products for your hair type is a given, and this includes your shampoo and conditioner. Think about using moisturizing and sulfate-free products in the shower, like Love Beauty and Planet's Hope & Repair Shampoo ($9) and Conditioner ($9). Post-shower, consider using a bond repair hair oil as a leave-in treatment—Olaplex's No.7 Bonding Oil ($30) or Ouidad Unbreakable Bonds Weightless Bonding Oil ($38) is ideal for strengthening tips. Lastly, regular deep conditioning can help prevent extreme dryness, which leads to split ends and, eventually, breakage. We love Christophe Robin's Regenerating Mask with Prickly Pear Oil ($69), which works overtime to repair damage and revive dull hair color, Act+Acre Restorative Deep Conditioning Hair Mask ($38) to treat breakage, and Garnier's Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repair Mask ($8), which harnesses the power of acacia honey and sustainably-sourced beeswax to nourish and seal in moisture.

Signs That Your Hair Needs a Trim

Stylists say that there are a couple of ways to tell if you're due for a hair trim, including the following:

You Have Split Ends

As much as we may want one, there is no magic cure that will truly repair split ends. All you can do is prolong the inevitable with a trim or cut. While there are products on the market designed to hold your ends together temporarily, the longer you wait to rid your hair of these unsightly ends, the higher the likelihood that split ends will turn into split hair strands that are even more damaged. Split ends are one of the most obvious signs that you need a trim. "The cuticle will look damaged and feel rough to the touch, be difficult to comb through, and tangle easily," says Abramite.

Once you notice you have split ends, don't ignore them. "Leaving them untreated can cause the splits to travel up the hair shaft, leading to more damage," explains Gould. And whatever you do, don't start splitting the hair apart yourself because that can really mess with the health–and ultimately, the length–of your hair.

Your Ends Snap Off

If your hair's tips break off with ease or feel crunchy and hard, that's a sign that your ends are excessively dry and lack elasticity. If you catch yourself unintentionally picking at your ends without realizing it, Toth says you probably need to have a professional cut them off.

Your Tips Are Lighter

Another physical trait to look out for is ends appearing lighter in color than the rest of the hair. Abramite explains that this discoloration can be due to wear and tear from heat styling, environmental factors like sun exposure, or chemical services such as highlighting. 

You Have Tangled Hair

"Split ends and damaged hair can lead to knots and tangles, making it challenging to comb or style your hair," explains Gould. As such, he says that trimming away the damaged ends can make your hair more manageable, easier to detangle, and healthier-looking.

It's Been Over Three Months Since Your Last Trim

Abramite says that how often you need to get your hair trimmed can vary from person to person and depends on your beauty routine. But, in general, if it's been three months or more since your last trim, you could probably benefit from going in for a dusting, which is essentially a micro trim, removing only the split ends.

Excessive Frizz and Flyaways

If you experience a lot of flyaway strands or you have to put more time in to get your style just right, it could be another sign you need a trim. "When the ends of your hair are frayed or dry, they become more prone to frizz and flyaways," explains Gould. "Trimming off the damaged ends can help reduce frizz and restore a smoother appearance to your hair."

Your Hair Lacks Shape

We know that trims are necessary to maintain the shape of your previous haircut, so if you notice that your shape is lost, it's time to go back to your hairstylist.

Your Hair Looks Limp and Lifeless

"When your hair lacks bounce, volume, or looks flat, it may be time for a trim," says Gould. "Split ends and damaged hair can weigh down your hair, making it appear lifeless and lacking in volume." Trimming off the damaged ends can revitalize your hair and restore its natural vitality.