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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Trimming & Cutting Natural Hair


As someone who has been natural for several years, I can attest to the fact that trimming and cutting your own hair can be a daunting task. It requires patience, skill, and knowledge of what works best for your specific hair type. Unfortunately, many of us make common mistakes when attempting to trim or cut our natural hair that can result in damage or unwanted results.

One theory that has been circulating in the natural hair community is that you shouldn't cut your hair at all if you want it to grow longer. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Regular trims are actually necessary for maintaining healthy hair growth. The key is knowing how much to cut and using proper techniques and tools to avoid causing damage. In this article, we'll discuss some common mistakes to avoid when trimming and cutting natural hair so that you can achieve healthy growth and maintain beautiful locks.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Invest in high-quality tools designed for natural hair, such as sharp scissors with curved blades and clippers with adjustable guards
  • Moisturizing is crucial for all hair types, especially for natural hair due to its unique texture and porosity
  • Detangling before trimming or cutting is crucial to avoid uneven cuts or breakage
  • Knowing your hair type helps in finding suitable products and techniques for healthy hair practices

Using the Wrong Tools

Don't make the mistake of using the wrong tools when trimming and cutting your natural hair - it could lead to disastrous results. Proper technique and maintenance are two aspects to consider when using the wrong tools for trimming natural hair. Using scissors or clippers that are not meant for natural hair can cause damage, such as split ends or uneven cuts.

It's important to invest in high-quality tools specifically designed for natural hair. This includes sharp scissors with curved blades, which help create precise cuts without damaging the hair. Clippers with adjustable guards are also a great option for maintaining length while avoiding breakage. By using the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a professional-looking cut without sacrificing the health of your natural hair.

Using improper tools isn't the only mistake you should avoid when trimming and cutting your natural hair. Neglecting to moisturize your locks is another common error that can lead to breakage and damage over time.

Not Moisturizing the Hair

Make sure you moisturize your hair regularly to prevent dryness and breakage. Moisturizing is crucial for all hair types, but it's especially important for natural hair because of its unique texture and porosity. Hair porosity refers to how easily your hair can absorb and retain moisture. If your hair has high porosity, it means that it absorbs moisture quickly, but it also loses it just as fast. On the other hand, low porosity hair takes longer to absorb moisture but retains it much better.

To determine your hair's porosity level, you can do a simple test by placing a strand of clean hair in a bowl of water. If the strand sinks quickly, then your hair has high porosity; if it floats on top or takes a long time to sink, then your hair has low porosity. Once you know your hair's porosity level, you can choose the best moisturizing products for natural hair that will work best for you. For high-porosity natural hair, use heavier oils like castor oil or avocado oil to lock in moisture. For low-porosity natural hair, use lighter oils like argan oil or grapeseed oil that won't weigh down the strands.

Remember that not moisturizing your natural hair can lead to dryness and breakage during trimming and cutting sessions. So make sure to incorporate regular moisturizing into your routine before attempting any trimming or cutting tasks. Moving on from this subtopic about not moisturizing enough, let's now discuss another common mistake when trimming and cutting natural hair: cutting too much off at once.

Cutting Too Much Hair

Cutting off too much hair in one go can have disastrous consequences for your locks. It's important to remember that precision cutting and gradual trimming are key when it comes to maintaining healthy natural hair. Here are some reasons why you should avoid cutting too much hair at once:

  1. Risk of unevenness: Cutting off a large amount of hair at once increases the risk of ending up with an uneven haircut, which can be difficult to fix without having to cut even more hair.
  2. Damage: Cutting off too much hair can cause damage to the remaining strands, making them weaker and more prone to breakage.
  3. Length loss: If you're trying to grow out your natural hair, cutting off too much at once can set you back significantly in terms of length.
  4. Regret: Once it's gone, there's no getting it back! Cutting off too much hair can lead to feelings of regret and frustration.

To avoid these issues, opt for precision cutting or gradual trimming instead of taking drastic measures all at once. This will help maintain the health and integrity of your natural locks while still achieving your desired look.

When it comes to maintaining healthy natural hair, neglecting to detangle the strands is another common mistake that many people make.

Neglecting to Detangle the Hair

As we continue our discussion on common mistakes to avoid when trimming and cutting natural hair, it is important to emphasize the significance of detangling before proceeding with any cutting. Neglecting this step can result in uneven cuts or even breakage. Using the right tools for detangling, such as a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush, can also make a significant difference in achieving smooth and manageable hair without causing unnecessary pulling or tugging.

Importance of Detangling Before Trimming/Cutting

Before you start trimming or cutting your natural hair, it's crucial to detangle it thoroughly to avoid potential damage and breakage that could lead to a 'hair massacre' resembling a tangled ball of yarn. Detangling is an essential step in any hair care routine, especially when dealing with thick, curly, or kinky hair. Neglecting this step can result in unnecessary stress on the strands, making them more susceptible to breakage.

Proper sectioning of the hair and preventing breakage are crucial steps when detangling before trimming or cutting. Sectioning the hair allows for easy access and ensures that every strand is properly detangled before moving on to the next section. This process also helps prevent tangling as you cut or trim each section. In addition, using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush will help ease out knots and tangles without causing additional damage. Using these tools will ensure that your natural hair is ready for its next styling session without any unwanted surprises.

Using the Right Detangling Tools

To ensure the health and manageability of your locks, it's imperative to use the appropriate detangling tools that can effectively remove knots and tangles without causing damage or breakage. Using the wrong tool can lead to unnecessary hair loss, so it's important to invest in high-quality combs and brushes specifically designed for natural hair. Wide-tooth combs are a popular choice for detangling because they glide through curls with ease and don't snag or pull at individual strands. On the other hand, boar bristle brushes are great for smoothing out hair and distributing natural oils from root to tip.

In addition to using the right tools, understanding proper detangling techniques is also crucial. One technique that can help reduce breakage is pre-pooing - applying a conditioning treatment before shampooing your hair. Pre-pooing helps soften tangled strands, making them easier to comb through during the detangling process. Another helpful technique is sectioning your hair into smaller pieces when detangling, which allows you to focus on one area at a time and prevents you from accidentally pulling or tugging on other sections of your hair. By utilizing these tips and tricks in combination with effective detangling tools, you'll be able to maintain healthy natural locks without causing unnecessary damage.

Transition: Now that we've covered the importance of using appropriate detangling tools and techniques, let's move on to discussing how avoiding pulling or tugging can prevent further harm when trimming or cutting natural hair.

Avoiding Pulling or Tugging

As we discussed in our previous subtopic, using the right detangling tools is essential when it comes to trimming natural hair. Now that your hair is tangle-free and ready for trimming, it's important to be gentle and avoid pulling or tugging. This can cause unnecessary breakage and damage to your locks.

To ensure a successful trim, use gentle trimming techniques such as small snips instead of large cuts. Additionally, proper sectioning techniques can help you avoid accidentally cutting too much hair at once. Remember to take breaks if needed and always listen to your hair's cues - if you feel any resistance or hear snapping sounds, stop immediately and reassess your technique.

In summary, taking a gentle approach when trimming natural hair is key in avoiding damage and retaining length. By incorporating proper sectioning techniques and being mindful of how much pressure you apply while cutting, you'll be able to achieve the desired results without sacrificing the health of your locks. Speaking of healthy hair practices, let's now discuss the common mistake of not knowing your hair type...

Not Knowing Your Hair Type

Knowing your hair type is crucial when it comes to trimming and cutting natural hair. Without understanding your unique hair type, you may end up using the wrong products or techniques that can cause damage and breakage. Identifying your hair type involves determining whether you have fine, medium, or coarse strands as well as identifying your curl pattern. Once you know your hair type, finding suitable products that work for you becomes much easier.

Fine hair tends to be delicate and prone to breakage, so using lightweight products that won't weigh it down is important. On the other hand, coarse hair requires heavier products to keep it moisturized and prevent frizz. Knowing your curl pattern will also help determine how often you should trim or cut your natural hair. For example, if you have tightly coiled curls, trimming every 6-8 weeks may be necessary to prevent split ends from traveling up the shaft of the hair strand. Overall, taking the time to identify your unique hair type can save you time and money in the long run by helping you choose suitable products and techniques for maintaining healthy natural locks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of tools that should not be used when trimming and cutting natural hair?

Did you know that using kitchen scissors to cut hair can cause split ends and damage? Instead, try using professional cutting shears or other scissors alternatives. Proper technique is key when trimming natural hair.

How often should natural hair be moisturized to prevent damage during trimming and cutting?

To maintain hair health, we moisturize our natural hair every 2-3 days. Moisturizing frequency is important to prevent damage during trimming and cutting. It's best to trim on wet hair for more accurate results and less breakage.

Is it better to cut natural hair in small sections or all at once?

When it comes to cutting natural hair, we recommend taking it in small sections. However, for the best results, consider the benefits of professional trimming and DIY tips for cutting. This will ensure your hair remains healthy and vibrant.

What is the best way to detangle natural hair before trimming and cutting to avoid damage?

Before trimming, we always detangle our natural hair to prevent damage. Our go-to technique is pre-trim detangling with protective styling in sections. This ensures a smooth and safe cutting process while minimizing breakage and split ends.

How can I determine my hair type and what impact does it have on trimming and cutting?

Determining hair type is essential for proper styling. It impacts the texture, thickness, and elasticity of your hair. Proper sectioning and technique are crucial for successful trimming and cutting. Consult a stylist to identify your hair type.


In conclusion, trimming and cutting natural hair can be a daunting task, but avoiding common mistakes can make it easier. Remember to use the right tools for your hair type and always keep it moisturized to prevent damage. Cutting too much hair at once can lead to regretful results, so take small steps and work gradually.

Additionally, detangling your hair before trimming or cutting will ensure an even cut and reduce breakage. And most importantly, knowing your hair type is crucial in determining the best techniques and products to use. By avoiding these mistakes and taking proper care of our natural tresses, we can achieve healthy and beautiful results. So let's embrace our unique textures with confidence, care, and caution!