Regular trims help your hair grow faster... or do they?

Image: iStock.

If you’ve ever been desperate to grow out your hair, there’s one disagreement you’ve probably had with your hairdresser: to trim regularly, or not to.

When mermaid hair is your goal, having ‘a little off the ends’ feels like undoing all your good work. “A trim will make it shorter! Every millimetre counts!” you’ll despair.

Yet stylists often insist that frequent trims, even miniscule ones, make all the difference when it comes to hair growth.

I’ve always believed this to sound legit, if a little illogical, but I was stopped in my tracks last week by a quote from a celebrity hairdresser. John Ruggiero told Self: “I have so many clients who believe that cutting their hair helps it it grow. For every few inches you’re trimming, you’re actually adding months to your growing time.”

Um… excuse me? Have we, the clients, been right about this all along?

What’s the story here?

“Lots of people have different opinions on this topic,” says three-time Hairdresser of the Year and ELEVEN Australia co-Creative Director Joey Scandizzo.

“My theory is that while trimming your hair at the ends will not stimulate hair to grow from the roots … [it’s] the way to go. This is because as the hair grows, it gets thinner towards the ends and tapers off to wispy split ends and you are left with no bulk.” Mia Freedman had a bit more than a trim recently — check out the result here. (Post continues after video.)

JOICO Guest Artist Kerrie DiMattia agrees, but concedes the idea itself “sounds crazy”.

“Of course, if you cut your hair it will be shorter but — and it’s a big ‘but’ — having your hair cut on a regular basis reduces the amount of split ends and prevents them from splitting further up the hair shaft, kind of like a ladder in your tights,” she says. (Post continues after gallery.)

Essentially, if your ends are unhealthy and ratty (sorry) this can jeopardise the quality of your overall hair growth.

“People often complain to me that their hair doesn’t seem to grow. However, on average hair grows about ¼ – ½ inch per month, so if you aren’t seeing this growth in length that tells me your ends are breaking away,” DiMattia explains.


Plus, there’s the aesthetic factor; shearing off those split ends will make your hair look fuller (read: longer) and it’ll be easier to maintain.

“You don’t want to spend all that time growing hair that is split and unhealthy, so when you stop getting hair cuts and let your hair go it will not result in long, healthy hair that looks good,” Scandizzo adds.

The takeaway is: no, a trim isn’t your golden ticket to speedy hair growth, but neither is going without one.

Don't shy away from a trim.

What can I do, then?

If long hair is the name of your game there are some good habits you can embrace.

"To maximise the rate your hair grows you need to stimulate the scalp and get the blood to the surface by vigorously brushing your hair and scalp regularly. Massaging is also a good idea to get the blood to the surface and loosen your scalp," Scandizzo says.

However, be careful combing or brushing your hair when it's wet — if you go in too strong, you could cause some breakage.

DiMattia recommends shifting your focus from hair length to hair health. "If your hair is well nourished and treated kindly then long luscious locks will eventually follow. Healthy hair starts internally, so eating well, taking vitamins and looking after your body can promote healthy hair in a serious way," she says. (Post continues after gallery.)

She also advises using a treatment like JOICO’s K-Pak Hydrator once a week to strengthen and moisturise the hair and help stop breakage. There are also products available that specifically target split ends.

"Use a hair oil or spilt end mender, these products will help stop any split ends and give the hair elasticity," DiMattia says.

As for John Ruggiero, the Hollywood stylist mentioned earlier, he suggests "fewer washings, less heated styling and blowdrying, and more deep conditioning." There you go.

How often do you go in for a trim?