Length retention can be a big part of the natural hair journey. In addition to deep conditioning, maintaining moisture and sealing your ends, trimming your hair every couple of months will contribute to growth. Depending on your hair type, a trim can be something you do every quarter or every 6 months. Professional hair stylist Kamilah, better known as Ms. Hair and Humor, says, “I always tell my clients a good rule of thumb is to trim their hair with the seasons. That’s a minimum of 4 times a year.” Regardless of when it’s done, know that every time you cut off dead hair, you promote a strong, healthy mane.

Your hair will let you know when it’s time for a trim and if we’re paying attention to the signs, we’ll follow suit. When we’re not paying attention, having a good stylist on deck will help you figure it out. I know we all grow weary of going to a stylist, requesting a trim, receiving a cut, and feeling completely unsatisfied by our unintentional new hairdo. “Hairstylists are not on attack on length but the average client doesn’t trim their hair enough. Then it becomes a drastic cut,” says Kamilah. If you’re not sure what to look for, here are 5 ways to know it’s time to cut the dead weight from your hair.

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Fairy Knots

Fairy knots occur when single strands of your hair knot together and create bigger knots. Once your hair knots, it can make it difficult to comb through or detangle, thus breaking your hair during the process of daily manipulation. If you start to develop fairy knots, do yourself a favor and grab the scizors. Not only will a trim get rid of your knots, it will serve as a solution to breakage.

Thicker Hair Thins at the Bottom

If your hair is long and thinning on the end, then it’s time to trim to a length that is visibly thicker. Harshly combing or detangling your hair with the wrong tools can result in thinning ends. If you’re able to see your shirt or skin through your hair, that is a good indicator that your ends are thinning. Twist-outs with thicker roots and frail ends can also mean it’s time for a trim.

Split/ Rough Ends

There are so many reasons why the ends of our hair split or become rough. Too much heat, not sealing your twists or braids, not enough hydration, excessive chemical manipulation and much more. Split ends create thin ends and actually restrict the hair from growing to its fullest potential. When your hair loses moisture, your ends tend to suffer. “Most of the time when women say my hair feels dry, it’s their ends they’re talking about and don’t realize it,” Kamilah says.

Loss of Shape or Definition

Has your hair ever grown to a certain length and suddenly loses shape or definition? Sometimes your curl pattern thrives at a certain length that results in a lot of volume. Once it surpasses that length, it falls flat, and loses shape. It’s important to take note when that happens. Might be time for a trim!

Excessive Shedding

I’m sure you’re tired of combing or styling you hair, only to find lots of it on the bathroom floor. A little shedding in normal, but when it becomes excessive, that’s a good indicator that your hair is not thriving at its current length. Constant shedding is also evident in hair that has endured breakage. Trimming your ends can aid shedding and eliminate breakage.

It may seem illogical to trim your hair in order to see growth. The truth is, routine trims go beyond length retention. It is one of the best ways to keep your hair strong and healthy. Although there are many ways to tell your hair may need to lose an inch or two, these 5 hair symptoms are major red flags that your hair can thrive once you let go of dead ends.

Check out this article on trimming your curls as well!