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Trimming & Dusting - How Often and How Much?

August 20 2003 at 3:41 AM

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Trimming & Dusting - How Often and How Much?
By Long Hair Loom Contributor, Equestrian

The debate continues on whether trimming often is best while growing out your hair. Sometimes trimming too often can lead to frustration because of lack of growth. On the other hand, trimming too infrequently can lead to splits and breakage which can also lead to lack of overall growth, an unhealthy hemline appearance, and leave you wearing your hair up more often simply because you don't like the way your hair looks down anymore.

Loom contributor, Equestrian has written an article based upon her experiences with trims and dustings. If you've ever seen Equestrian's hair, it's a vision of health and vitality. In our Loom Quiz her hair was voted "most admired." How can you argue with that! I am sure you will enjoy reading about her trimming methods and results.


I have been getting my hair trimmed every 8 weeks for many years, trimming the ends in addition to any split ends found up through the length. The amount I have trimmed/dusted off depends on whether I am maintaining a certain length or growing my length out. Frequent trims keep my ends very thick, healthy, strong and quite forgiving, allowing me to wear my hair down as much as I would like.

The key to growing your hair long while you are on a frequent trimming and split end trim schedule is for the trims to remove only TINY amounts of length... Just the VERY tips. This type of trim is called a dusting and literally leaves only dust on the ground after the trim is completed. It is important for very sharp scissors to be used whenever the hair is trimmed.

If I am overdue for a trim I notice my ends can get more "snaggy-tangly", but generally, if I do a dusting and split end trim every 8 weeks, my ends feel and look good. When I go too far past 8-10 weeks, I definitely notice I am overdue for a trim because of the way my ends feel... it is a very subtle difference in how the ends feel, but there is a slight difference in feel. Not necessarily dry, because I keep my hair very moisturized... more of a "less-smooth" or slightly "worn" feel to the ends. If I go way too long in between dustings (12-16 weeks or longer), then,YES, my ends feel dry... I have also noticed that with regular dustings, I have virtually no tangling. My hair doesn't seem to "catch" on itself when it is dusted regularly.

It would probably be safe to say my average total amount of growth per year is very close to 6 & 1/2 inches per year if you figure in the slight growth fluctuations I experience & my average rate of growth over the last few years. If I get my hair dusted every 8 weeks all year (6 dustings per year) I lose approximately 1 & 1/2 inches to dusting trims. I know (from past experimentation over the years) if I were to space out the dustings/split end trims to where I only get 2-4 trims a year, my ends would require larger trims rather than small dustings. I would acquire fewer inches in length at the end of the year due to weak, dry, split/thinning ends & the more substantial trims they would require. The key to quickly acquiring length for me is frequent small dustings & split end trims.

In my opinion, there is a huge difference between "trims" and "dustings"... in my experience, "dustings" remove a tiny amount of hair and serve to keep the ends strong and neat to allow the hair to grow out without breakage/splitting/thinning. "Trims" remove length and serve only to trim length or remove damaged length.

When I have my hair dusted & the split ends trimmed every 8 weeks, I have NO breakage and very few split ends. Over the years, I have experimented with the span of time in between trims, and I have found that if I go too long in between trims, my ends become (substantially) more fragile, I have an increased amount of split ends and my ends become thin. The split ends and fragile ends take their toll and eat away at my growth. So, even though I am sure my growth rate doesn't fluctuate too much, it appears to slow if I go too long in between dustings due to the fragility, breakage & thinning on the ends. If I slack off on my trims and go too long in between trims, my rate of growth in length is ultimately diminished. When I get trims every 8 weeks, every bit of growth I acquire is supported by strong ends, which allows every bit of growth to be obvious due to the fact that NONE of it is breaking or splitting off or thinning out.

For me, frequent tiny dustings are much more useful than infrequent larger trims. I realize this frequent dusting schedule is definitely NOT for everyone - some hair types may stay strong and thick on the ends with only 2 trims per year... I have experimented enough to figure out that I can be pretty hard on my very fine hair and it is quite forgiving as long as I get frequent dustings and split end trims and use jojoba oil regularly.

For more information on Equestrian's glossing gel and oiling routine, please read: How do I Oil My Hair?

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