Avoiding Setbacks | Trimming for retention

Healthy Hair
I'm claiming 2014 as the year of retention!  So far we've learned a ton about tips in our "Happy Endings" posts.  Today we're merging "happy endings" with "avoiding setbacks."  This year I experienced a transformation in thinking which I hope will lead to great progress in the months to come. I'd like to share that mind shift with you.

It all goes back to July of 2013.  We were midway through the year and, for the better part of the year, I was violating rule one of avoiding setbacks.  I allowed my busy schedule to become an excuse for not conducting regular deep conditioning treatments.  I wore my hair in a daily bun which allowed for neglect to occur as I placed my focus mainly on my skin care journey.  Put all those factors together and you have a recipe for a setback.

Since July was my birthday month, I wanted to treat myself to a visit to see Marie. As always, she had my hair laid.  But after straightening, she had to trim a couple of inches of hair to address the damaged ends.  When I left the salon, my hair was blunt cut, reaching the bottom of my brastrap.  I cursed myself silently for letting the damage get this far.  But by the end of the year, my hair began to make a miraculous comeback.

Then I started thinking.......It seems like after every mini chop, I'm likely to retain length.  Another thing I noticed is just after my trim, the hair could better withstand manipulation from styling without excessive breakage. That's when the breakthrough happened.  What if I utilized trimming as a part of my retention strategy versus a last resort to combat damage?

What would happen if I trimmed regularly every 6 months? 3 months? Monthly?   What if I used trimming, not as a way of addressing damage, but as a part of my damage prevention/length retention strategy?  After having that thought, I had to let it sink in just a little.  Normally, I see trimming as a bad thing.  I have to do it because something bad happened.  Once I'm done, I've "lost length" which is also a bad thing.

No longer will I look at trimming as something I should try to avoid.

My new strategy for trimming will look something like this:
  • Make sure I have a pair of quality scissions (DONE)
  • Trim off any obvious split/thin ends (DONE)
  • Trim after every chemical treatment.
  • Trim in sections, not just the ends of my longest layers.
This is a very different system than I used before.  Before, trimming was a last resort to prevent further damage. Now it'll be my way to help achieve my length goals. I maintain my old way of doing things, trimming to cut off excessive damage, I am being reactive.  In the long run, this type of action doesn't serve me. 

Not to mention how great my hair looks and feel after a decent trim.  Sure, I may have lost a couple of inches but I get healthier looking hair in return and additional retention in the long run.


  1. Great post, thank you for the tips they will definitely help me on my hair journey.

  2. how come you never show picture of your own hair?when you do its always in a bun. would love to see pics of your hair down! Love your blog by the way:)

  3. I normally trim every 4 months for those exact reasons. I find I'm retaining length much better because of it!

    Courtnea of Finally Growing!

  4. Waiting to trim never worked for me. Dusting every TU or every other TU helps me retain best.
    Divachyk @Relaxed Thairapy

  5. I need to keep up with this, I don't even have good quality scissors!


  6. Hi Anon,
    A bun is my lazy style since I travel so much and rarely have time to enjoy my hair like I used to.


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