The Long and Short of Regular Hair Trims

Hair is more than just something to keep our heads warm in the winter. In nature, the fur or plumage a creature is sporting often sends any number of messages to other birds and animals, from “stay back I’m dangerous!” to “I’m ready for romance.” In humans the same is absolutely true. Ever since the beginning of human civilization, the way people wear their hair has signaled their status, their profession, certainly their gender, and even their emotional state.

These days, an accepted part of regular hair care is getting a trim. Generally considered as a maintenance step in between actual haircuts, a trim is just that; either the owner of the hair, or a barber or hair stylist trims the ends off of your hair. The belief is that trimming your hair in between haircuts helps to keep it healthy, but exactly how is up for debate. Some people claim it makes it stronger, some believe it makes your hair grow faster, but in either case, the consensus is that it’s just the smart thing to do. But does trimming your hair really help it be healthier?

Split ends

One theory of why trims can help improve the quality and health of your hair relates to the well-known phenomenon of the split end. Split ends happen when the outer keratin sheath on each hair, made of thousands of cuticles each (yes, just like your nails), splits and begins to expose the soft inner core of the hair. This inner core is supposed to hold moisture and keep your hair flexible, which can prevent breakage. Additionally, the sheath itself can begin to flake and curl which leads to frizz and more fly-aways, preventing you from getting that perfect sleek blowout. Since hair isn’t alive, it won’t repair itself, and once the hair end is split there’s no turning back.

Making sure to keep your hair trimmed regularly, even when you aren’t planning on changing your look, helps to eliminate those split ends before they get out of control, and helps prevent moisture loss across the length of the hair. Since the hair cannot repair itself, this is the only option to eliminate split ends, besides costly protein treatments which create an artificial barrier around each hair and mimics the properties of the hair sheath where it may have begun to split.

Hair growth

The evidence behind this one is a little bit less clear. The average person’s hair grows by a few centimeters a month, on average. Some conditions, like pregnancy or certain genetic disorders, can lead to accelerated hair growth of inches or more. For many years, common advice has been to keep your hair trimmed regularly as it promotes hair growth. But is this really the case?

The only factors which can affect how fast hair grows at a physiological level are internal to your body. Vitamin-rich diet, medical conditions, how much sun you get, and how much water you drink can definitely all have an effect on your hair growth. Trimming your hair may make it look healthier by eliminating frizz, but cutting off the keratin growth that makes up your hair isn’t going to influence how fast your hair follicle pushes that keratin out.

The origins of this belief may go back to the fact that trimming your hair gets rid of split ends. When a split end happens to an individual hair, if the split end isn’t addressed, it can travel up the hair, leading to brittle ends on each individual strand. During normal hair washing and brushing, these ends can break off, shortening your hair by a small amount. Each individual bit of breakage may not be very much in terms of length, but it can add up over the weeks or months, resulting in hair which appears to grow slower, as the ends of the hair are breaking off and negating new growth.

When you get regular trims, the split ends don’t have a chance to travel, and your overall hair length is preserved. This can lead to the appearance of faster growing hair, especially if you had previously not been getting regular trims.

Splitting hairs about hair trims

Of course, all of these factors depend a lot on individual circumstances. We’ve all been to hair appointments where we ask for an inch off the bottom and end up with our hair up by our ears (or a very close cut, for the men in the audience). Hair stylists need to understand the growth pattern of hair to appropriately address any concerns you may have about your individual hair health. For any individual person who has concerns about the health of their hair, the best option is always to develop a relationship with a good hair stylist, who will have the knowledge and skills to give you the best advice for your hair and lifestyle.

The last word on trims

Hair trimming is probably a good idea, and it does offer some benefits in terms of the physical health of your hair, but the most important effect of regular hair trims may just be knowing that your hair looks exactly the way you want it to. Expressing control over your physical appearance can lead to more confidence and a better self image, so go out there and seize the trim, and promise yourself a better hair future.

Win! xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Straightener

There is a bit of a fallacy about hair straighteners that they are only useful for people who have curly, or at least wavy hair. But that is simply not the case.Hair Straighteners and flat irons are brilliant for all sorts of shoulder length and long hair types and can add so much in terms of styling, shine and removing static to give us a lovely looking, glossy mane.

The xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Straightener is an affordable (less than £30) Professional Flat Iron with Tourmaline Ceramic Plates. It uses infrared heat technology which causes less damage to your hair – very important if you straighten your hair on a regular basis, and takes just 90 seconds to heat up, which again is important if you are short on time, or want to straighten your hair before you leave for work in the mornings.

The xtava Pr-Satin straightener is very easy to use, the plates are not too heavy which can make your arm ache to use them, and the swivel cord means you are not trying to stay in one position to straighten your locks, you can twist and turn as you need. I love the factIthat the plates are wide, it does mean I can straighten a lot more hair in one go, making these fast and efficient to use.

Another great selling point about these tongs are that they come in their own travel bag that is a foiled, zipped pocket. This makes them ideal for putting in your suitcase for some time away. The foiled pocket means that you don’t have to wait until they have totally cooled until you put them away, and of course gives you a space saving storage option.

I have straight hair, but use straighteners to tame the static. flyaway issues that my hair suffers with, particularly just after washing. I find that the xtava straigheners quickly leave my hair looking shiny and sleek, meaning I am set to go without needing a trip to a salon.

These would make a great Christmas gift and are currently on sale at Amazon for £29.99, but you can win your own set by entering the competition below.

 

 

Win the xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Straightener #3

Luscious Locks: How to Protect Your Hair When You Straighten It Every Day

Does your go-to hairdo require straightening every day? A lot of women (and men, too) prefer hairstyles that entail a bit of maintenance. If you love to wear a hairstyle that you flat-iron daily, be sure you don’t wreck your tresses in the process. Read on to learn how to protect your hair from heat damage and chemical harm.

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Thank heredity for your hair

The manner in which a strand of hair behaves is based on a number of factors. One of the biggest influences is genetic. If the genes you inherit from your parents point to waves and curl, that’s likely the sort of hair you will have.

According to Popular Science magazine, DNA explains roughly 90 percent of curly hair. The other ten percent involves the shape of the follicle from which a living hair emerges. If the follicle is symmetrical, the hair that comes from it tends to be round and straight. If the follicle is asymmetrical, the hair that emerges will be oval shaped and therefore curly. Distribution of keratin and other proteins also contributes to the way an individual hair is shaped. Frizz is a day-by-day occurrence and may be influenced by humidity, hormones, medications, and other temporary conditions.

 

You’re not stuck with the hair you were born with

The science of hair genetics would be fine and dandy, if everyone was content to walk around all the time, every day, all week, forever, with the shape of hair that they were born with. The thing is, people like to switch things up, follow fashion trends, and generally have fun with their hair, clothes, and overall appearance. For this reason, implements, tools, and hair products have been devised that can take a lady’s locks from bone-straight to wildly curly, and vice versa.

If you were born with naturally curly hair and want to wear it straight for the day or night, expect to invest a bit of time. Start by washing your hair and giving it a good conditioning to prep your hair for the assault of heat straightening, advise beauty pros at Livestrong magazine. Don’t use a blow dryer on hair, but do use your fingertips to work a few dabs of heat protective product throughout damp locks to the ends. Some women prefer a spray-on heat protector; some like a gel or cream. It really doesn’t matter, just as long as you shield your tresses from the heat you’ll use to straighten your hair.

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Amazing argan oil

If you choose to use a professional flat iron, argan oil could be your hair’s best friend. Obtained from a nut that’s native to Morocco, argan oil contributes to strength, moisture, and luster to hair, especially hair that is subjected to the rigors of heat straightening or curling. Safe enough to eat, culinary grade argan oil has been enjoyed as a breakfast food in northern Africa for eons. Today, women around the globe are catching on to the beauty benefits of hair and skin care products fortified with natural Moroccan argan oil. Where argan trees are indigenous, they provide shelter, food, medicine, and erosion protection. Ecologically sound and sustainable, argan oil does no harm to the tree nor to the land where nuts are grown and harvested for beauty and hair care oil.

Argan oil provides beneficial amounts of numerous essential fatty acids, including oleic acid, linoleic, and palmitic fatty acid. Argan oil also offers a significant amount of vitamin E and other hair- and skin-friendly nutrients. If you’re like many folks who try argan enriched hair care products, you may find that a regimen comprising shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatment, and smoothing mask makes your hair look and feel its best, no matter how many times you straighten or curl. Be sure to use an argan oil enriched thermal protection spray before you fire up your flat iron, as well.

If you want your curly hair to behave and stay straight when you iron it, be sure not to shampoo too often or too much. Curly hair is naturally dry, say beauty editors at Bustle. Shampoo no more than thrice a week, and when you do, focus the foam at the roots.

Argan oil is a good hair conditioner, but you don’t want your hair to ‘get used to’ one specific product. For this reason, be sure to alternate argan with other soothing hair care oils, including coconut, avocado, shea nut butter, and palm oil.

 

Jay Bell is a hair stylist who loves to gossip and discuss hair and beauty secrets with clients. He is now sharing his tip tips around the internet with his hair and beauty articles. Aside from work, Jay lives with his partner by the ocean and dotes on his 2 small dogs.