How to avoid split ends on curly hair

How to avoid split ends: The hair trimming techniques you should know

Say bye-bye to dry and damaged ends...

Be honest now: when was the last time you went for a trim? Five, six months ago? More even? The reality is, most of us dislike going for trims because we don’t want to lose our beautiful length. And, without a doubt, we all have a horror story or two about going in for a “trim”, then leaving with several inches lobbed off! But what if we told you there was a way to avoid split ends and retain length?

Too good to be true, right? Well, not really. All this time you’ve been asking for a trim, but what you really needed wasn’t a trim at all. Confused? Don’t be, just read below to find out everything you need to know about some rather revolutionary hair trimming techniques!

Trimming tips and tricks to avoid split ends


Blonde woman getting her hair dusted
Do you want a trim or a ‘dusting’?

Get regular trims

So, let’s get down to business. As you’ll know, traditional hair trimming involves using scissors to cut off the split ends at the bottom of the hair shaft. And while most of us think that a trim is roughly 1-2 inches (which is already a sizeable length), this can vary on how damaged the ends of your tresses actually are.

Working in regular trims (around every 3-4 months) can help minimise the amount of damage you do to your hair. Sadly though, since most of us put off going to the salon in a desperate bid to retain our length for a bit longer, the split ends often further travel up the hair shaft, which means more hair has to be cut off to get rid off the damage completely.

‘Dust’ your hair in between trims

Want to avoid split ends but don’t want to lose all that hard-earned length? Enter: dusting. Dusting is a trimming technique favoured by those with curly and natural hair, because it allows you to trim the hair without removing lots of length or needing to wet/straighten it beforehand. Why is it called dusting? Well, it’s aptly named because the hair cut is so small and fine, that the cuttings look like dust!

Simply ask your stylist to ‘dust’ your mane, or if you have longer hair (and are confident), you can even do it yourself! Dividing your hair equally into 1-2 inch sections, twist and pin each section using bobby pins. Release one of your sections and tightly twist the entire section of hair. Then, using scissors, trim any stray hairs that are sticking out. Repeat this process on each of your small sections, until you’ve completed your entire head of hair.

If you have curly hair, try ‘search and destroy’

Another amazing trimming technique to help avoid split ends is the ominously-named ‘search and destroy’. Don’t be alarmed by its fierce title – the name comes from the action of carefully inspecting the ends of your hair and trimming off any damage. It’s generally favoured by naturalistas and used as an extra maintenance method in between trims/dusting.

The main goal of this technique is to get rid of single strand knots (AKA fairy knots, or trichonodosis – its technical name). As anyone with curly or afro hair will tell you, coily and kinky hair types are more prone to this type of split end damage. And although seemingly harmless, these knots can wreak havoc, causing other strands to get tangled and making detangling even harder work.

Pick the right trimming tools

Going to see a hair professional should always be the first choice when getting your hair trimmed (since at home hair accidents can be hard to recover from)! However, if you’re planning to trim your own hair, do make sure to invest in a pair of scissors that are specifically designed for cutting hair. Avoid using scissors that you’ve used to cut other materials, as these shears can bend/damage the hair rather than cutting it cleanly. The last thing you need is an uneven haircut – unless that’s the look you want, of course!

So, now you know how to avoid split ends, there are no more excuses. And don’t forget to check out our natural hair care pages to pick up more tips and tricks!

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