Trimming scissors placed on a towel

Trimming natural hair for growth? | Find out all you need to know about trimming natural hair!

If you’re like me, you may have looked up if you need to trim your natural hair and were secretly hoping to hear NO. Well, I hate having to be the bearer of bad news but, the answer is yes. You have to trim your hair. I know it’s tempting to go without trimming your ends especially if you’re growing your natural hair. You may even be wondering, how trimming your natural hair for growth helps. Let me tell you why you should trim your natural hair by showing you the benefits.

Does trimming help with hair growth?

Does trimming hair promote hair growth?

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The question is if trimming your natural hair helps it to grow. Well, the short answer is no. Trimming your natural hair is not going to make your hair grow any faster or longer. So, why would you still trim your hair? Even though trimming doesn’t help to grow hair, it helps you to retain length. But before you go chopping off chunks of hair, let’s take a step back to understand how.

Why should we trim our hair?

Your ends are the oldest part of your hair, something you may have been told quite a few times.
Another thing that you should know is that hair is dead, so trimming your hair is not just removing the dead ends. I know that must be confusing but let’s go into further detail.

What is hair?

When you look at your head, you may see lots of dots on your scalp. But there is more to our hair than the visible part that we can perceive with our eyes. Well, inside those dots is what is called the hair follicle which is not only found on your scalp by the way.

Theirs is a lot going on in the hair follicle but, we are not going to delve into all of that. We are going to focus on the strands that grow out of it. The visible part is what we are interested in, the hair shaft. More specifically, we are interested in the structure of the hair shaft.

The hair shaft is made up of 3 layers:

  • The cuticle
  • The cortex
  • The medulla

The cuticle

The cuticle layer serves to protect the hair. It’s a protective layer is made of overlapping cells. A visual comparison would be fish scales. The scales of a fish are there to protect it, which is also the case with our cuticles. When it’s healthy the cuticle will lay smooth and flat.

The cuticle doesn’t only protect the hair, it also keeps moisture from going in and out of the hair. You can imagine how important this is for our naturally dry hair. That’s why a healthy hair cuticle looks shiny and feels moisturized.

The cortex

The cortex is found in between the cortex and the medulla. There you can find the protein named keratin which is bound together by disulphide and hydrogen bonds. It also contains melanin giving you your hair colour.

The medulla

Not everyone has this particular layer in their hair, which is located in the centre of the hair shaft. It’s usually found in thicker hair types and is made up of cells and air bubbles.

Wear and tear of natural hair

Now that we know more about the structure of our hair, it may help us to understand how this plays a role in the cycle of our hair. We just went over the function of the protective layer called the cuticle. It would be great if the cuticle was indestructible however, this isn’t the case.

Our hair goes through a lot of things. Some are in our control and some are out of our control.
Because of the practices that we do to our hair, it leads to damage to the cuticle.

What are the causes that lead to damage to the protective layer?

  • Excessive brushing of hair
  • Too much washing of your hair
  • Tight hairstyles
  • Tight rubber bands and hair ties
  • Chemical treatments
  • Towel drying hair
  • Heat styling
  • Overly manipulating hair
  • Etc

Can you avoid all damage?

Black woman holding a blow dryer to her natural hair

No, some damage just naturally occurs due to friction with your hair. Something as simple as a hard wind pulling your hair in different directions will do the trick. Your hair could get stuck on your jewellery or even get damaged by rubbing against your clothing. Even the UV rays from the sun are not in your favour. So, as you can see there’s nothing you can do to avoid you from getting any damage. Unless you find a way to leave you’re hair untouched 100% of the time.

Split ends

When the cuticle of your is damaged, it leaves the inner parts of your hair exposed. This will result in split ends. Contrary to what many may think, the hair is not split evenly. There are different types of split ends.

Split ends in natural hair

How are split ends correlated to our type 4 hair? Our tighter hair type makes our strands more prone to knots due to our strands locking together. Because of the hair knots present in our natural hair, the breakage that occurs at the knot usually leads to split ends.

As you already know, our hair type is also dryer than other hair types. I’m sure you can already fill in what comes next. Breakage! Which again, can cause split ends.

Can you get rid of split ends?

Now that you understand what split ends are and how they come about, you may wonder how to get rid of these split ends. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to get rid of split ends. If you have split ends, the only thing you can do is trim them off. Don’t fall for these marketing gimmicks trying to sell you hair products claiming to get rid of split ends.

Once the hair is split, it can’t be glued back together. At best the hair products will temporarily fix the split, reducing the appearance of the split ends.

The benefits of trimming natural hair

Trimming your natural hair is not only great to get on top of split ends and hair damage. There are also other benefits attached to regular hair trims.

  1. Healthier hair
  2. Your hair will look better
  3. A better detangling experience
A darkskin woman with Healthy Natural type 4 hair

Healthy hair

Getting rid of split ends and damage will naturally contribute to the overall health of your hair. You will experience less breakage and a better look and feel of your hair. This brings me to the next point.

Better looking hair

After a good trim, your hair will appear thicker and fuller. This is because you are getting rid of thinning, rough and damaged ends. This improves the appearance of your hair. Not only does it look better, but it also feels better.

A better detangling experience

This benefit is amazing. You will instantly notice a huge difference on the first wash day after a trim. It’s much easier to detangle your hair without knots and tangles at the ends of your hair.

What about hair growth?

Obviously, if you’re trying to grow your hair, overly trimming your hair kind of beats the purpose of it all. As mentioned earlier, you will retain more length because you are getting rid of the damage and split ends. This contributes to the overall health of your hair resulting in better length retention. However, as mentioned earlier. Your hair won’t grow any faster because of a trim. Also, keep in mind that a trim is not the same as a haircut!


I hope I’ve been able to help you understand the importance of trimming your natural hair. It contributes to a healthy hair journey and I believe that is what we want. Healthy and often times long hair.