Jan 27, 2012

TLC For Your Curls: Part 1 - Trimming your ends

The good news: Winter has been pretty mild and rainy so far.

The other good news: Now is the PERFECT time to give your hair some special care. I've decided to do a three-part post on maintenance for natural hair. Part one involves something that nearly everyone knows is necessary, but a lot of us fail to do.

Trim split ends and single strand knots: It is easy to forget how fragile the ends of natural hair can be. The ends of the hair grew out of the scalp first, which means they have been exposed to environmental damages for the longest amount of time.  When this happens the ends can split and cause difficulty styling and eventually breakage. How do you avoid split ends and single-strand knots? I’m glad you asked:
  • Keep hair moisturized with water and oil. 
  • Be gentle when styling.
  • Reduce heat damage by wearing heat-less styles that keep the ends tucked away. 
Just know that when you have weathered ends already, you can’t “unsplit” hairs. If you have a knot on a strand, you can’t unknot it. Buy a pair of hair shears, and trim them off. Do not use regular scissors, because they can cut the hair shaft unevenly and cause more breakage. It’s not necessary to cut every single strand of hair. Just go section by section, feeling and examining strands. If you feel a knot, clip it off. If you see a split hair, cut above the split. This process can take hours.
One strand... 3 knots.
The good news is, this doesn't have to be done all at once. You can do a section each day. The key is taking your time. Cutting a half centimeter or two centimeters of one strand won’t make your hair terribly uneven. And it can save you a loss of 2 inches of 10 strands. Knots and splits cause larger knots and tangles with healthy hair. You will notice that your hair will curl better and the detangling process will become much easier.

And the final benefit: when you trim your hair as needed instead of becoming Edward Scissorhands, you avoid unnecessary hair loss. You also avoid going to the notoriously scissor happy hair stylist. However, if 80% of your strands are damaged, go to a professional. Remember, caring for your ends is essential. Spend quality time managing the ends of your hair to keep strands healthy and maintain length. Your hair will thank you.
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