This Is How Often You Really Need to Cut Your Hair

Katie Berohn

From Good Housekeeping

Some people get their hair cut every few weeks, while others wait a year (or more!). To make your hair the healthiest, strongest, and yes, even longest it can be, they key is getting your hair cut on a regular basis. "Hair is keratinized protein," says Philip B, a celebrity hair treatment expert. "Any natural living byproduct of the body does wear out in time."

Philip B emphasizes that it's important to get hair cut regularly. For your best-looking hair, there are some general guidelines based on your current haircut, texture, and thickness. Here are the basics to make sure that your hair will always look its best in between trims:

How often to trim your hair for hair growth

Every six to eight weeks. Want to grow hair long, fast? It may seem counterintuitive, but getting your hair cut more frequently will likely result in longer hair since you prevent the hair cuticle from splitting at the end. "When the split goes up the hair shaft, it becomes so thin that it breaks," warns Meri Kate O'Connor, senior colorist and educator at Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City. "Once you split your hair there's no way to repair it," which inevitably means a more drastic cut the longer you wait.

If have very fine or very coarse hair, or frequently dye or heat style your hair, you might need more frequent trims since these hair types are prone to breakage.

Warning signs it’s time for a trim, no matter your length or texture

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There are signs that you can be on the lookout for regardless of whether your hair is long, short, curly, or stick-straight. "Truthfully, it is best to give you hair a trim before these signs because once you see them there is already damage done," says Philip B. "If you can get in front of it, your hair will always appear its healthiest, shiniest and retain the most moisture, bounce, and body." Sometimes it's not possible to stop damage before it starts, so here are telltale signs that you need a haircut:

  • You notice split ends.
  • Your hair tangles easily and snags at the bottom.
  • The ends of your hair have a sticky, almost gummy texture.
  • Your curl patterns start losing or changing their shape.
  • The ends of your hair start fraying and breaking off into many splits.
  • Split ends are traveling up your hair shaft.

The absolute maximum amount of time that he would wait for a hair cut? Six months. "After a certain amount of time, no matter how well you treat your hair, your very tips tend to get almost a gumminess to them," he says. "If you go too long, what you’ll notice is your tips will almost snag together."

Now, for the specifics:

When to trim short hair

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Every two to four weeks. "People with short hair tend to like to do every two weeks to four weeks just to keep it tight and looking good," says Philip B. At two weeks, short hair still holds its shape, but by four weeks, it starts to look overgrown.

When you should trim mid-length hair

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Every eight to twelve weeks. "Mid length can be very here nor there, and when it goes nor there, you usually throw it in a ponytail," he says. "It’s nice when the edges are shaped."

How often to cut long hair

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Every six months. Longer hair requires much less maintenance when it comes to getting a hair cut. "It’s far more forgiving." Philip B says that many people with long hair simply want minimal trims, so they tend to get their hair cut less often so as not to lose length.

This comes with a caveat: While long hairstyles may adapt better to longer times between trims, long hair can also be more susceptible to breakage, since it's older than shorter hair. If you're noticing split ends or more frequent snags, it's time to get a trim. When you should get a trim also depends on your hair texture: Thicker long hair can go longer between trims, while you might want to get more frequent trims for thinner hair.

How often thick hair needs to be trimmed

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Every six months. Like long hair, "thick hair tends to be more forgiving," says Philip B, so you can wait up to six months between trims.

How often you should cut curly hair

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Every six months. "With curlier hair you can go longer because you can style it, you can do things to it," says Philip B. Being able to style your hair can stretch out time between cuts. "There are so many types of curls and curl patterns, but the commonality for cutting usually is that the curl definition or pattern changes and loses its shape," he explains. If your curls start looking lackluster, it's likely time for a trim.

When fine hair should be trimmed

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Every four to six weeks. Finer hair tends to show every cut and can grow out less than ideally. You'll want to get this type of hair cut frequently. Philip B. says fine hair is more susceptible to damage from hot tools and body building products than other hair types, so frequent trims are key.

How often to trim your straight hair

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Every four to eight weeks. "Straighter hair can grow out really shabby looking." Try getting it cut every month or two, particularly if your hair is both fine and straight.

How often to cut your natural hair

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Every three to four months. Keeping your ends hydrated is key to making sure your natural hair looks its best. If your natural hair is chemically treated, however, aim for eight weeks, since Philip B says, "Trimming is needed more often with the use of chemicals and relaxers."

When to get layered hair cut

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Every eight to twelve weeks. Tons of layers require more maintenance. "After a month, you can really look sexy. After about two months, time to reshape," says Philip B. That's because layered hair doesn’t grow evenly. "Every follicle grows at its own frequency, so you have a lot of different lengths going on." Longer layered styles can stretch a bit longer between trims.

How often to trim your bangs

Monthly. Bangs should be a monthly trim, but you can go longer if you have lower-maintenance styles like wispy bangs or curtain bangs. For styles that land "just below the brow," Philip B. says that after a month, "You’re going to get a half an inch of regrowth, and a half an inch of regrowth is going to be touching your eyelashes."

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