What Is A Trim Haircut + 5 Benefits Of Hair Trimming

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My first client for the day just arrived. She sat on the comfy hydraulic chair, ready and excited to have her hair done.

Then when I asked her what I could do for her, she answered, “I just want a trim.”

cfopped image of attractive hairdresser trimming ends of client's hair

Now, as a seasoned hair stylist, I know exactly what a trim is in the haircut business.

But how can I tell if my client knows what she’s talking about? And how can I make sure that she gets out of the salon with a beaming, satisfied smile?

Here’s a helpful guide for both clients and hairdressers like me to find out everything you need to know about a hair trim.

What Does a Trim Mean?

A trim is cutting about ¼ to 2 inches off the ends of your hair. There will be no change in style or shape. It’s just a removal of split and frayed ends.

Simply put, this is a service that’s meant to maintain your hair and make it healthier.

The Difference Between a Trim and a Full Haircut

Some hairdressers will tell you that there’s no difference between a trim and a full haircut. The reason? These words both mean they’re going to cut off some hair.

But for hair masters, there is a difference. When you ask for a trim, we go from artists to doctors. We’ll assess your hair’s condition and work on making your hair look better.

So what we’d do is chop not more than 2 inches off from your hair’s damaged ends. We won’t be giving you a new look; we’ll just make the original style neater.

On the other hand, a full haircut means you want a drastic change. You’ll have around 3 to 5 inches cut from your hair, and it would be in a totally different style.

Let’s say you have long hair, and you want it transformed into a stacked bob. Then you’re asking for a full haircut, not a trim.

Is a Trim Cheaper than a Haircut?

Contrary to what you might think, a trim doesn’t cost less than a full haircut.

To be honest, this is really frustrating for us hairdressers.

It’s our job to cut the hair, and it doesn’t matter whether we remove a few inches or completely change the hairstyle. We’ll still charge the same price.

Besides, it’s not just about the number of cuts our scissors make. Customers are mostly paying for our 3 Ts: time, talent, and training.

Trims still involve sectioning all the hair on the entire head, precision cutting, shampooing, and blow-drying. But unlike haircuts, trims leave no room for error because you only get to cut off less than an inch to two inches max.

That means trims demand the same time, effort, and expertise that haircuts do.

4 Signs You Need a Trim

When is the right time to get a trim? Generally, I would suggest you have your hair trimmed 3 months after your last haircut. 

However, if any of the following signs are happening to your hair, then you can schedule your time for a trim much earlier.

You have visible split ends.

When your hair starts to feel rough and appear dull, look at the ends. You might notice that they’ve become dry and prone to split ends.

Split ends, as the name suggests, are tips of the hair that have split into two. This happens when the ends of your hair become dry and brittle.

Have you seen an unraveled rope? That’s what a hair strand with split ends looks like.

The common causes of split ends are the following:

  • Heat styling
  • Harsh chemicals in hair products
  • Outdoor elements like weather and pollution

If you have split ends, you need to prevent them from traveling up your hair shaft, because this will make your hair prone to breakage.

You have signs of hair breakage.

Speaking of breakage, did you notice some of your hair snap off when you’re combing or styling? That’s a sign that your hair is weak and brittle. 

Hair can be brittle for a number of reasons:

  • Heat styling
  • Poor nutrition
  • Extreme weather
  • Harmful hair products
  • Chemical treatments like keratin and hair dye

Aside from hydrating your hair, trimming can also help to prevent breakage and restore your hair’s strength.

Your hair is limp and lifeless.

Does your hair feel weighed down? It can be caused by damage.

Unhealthy hair has dry and frizzy strands that weigh the whole hair down. Plus, it’s also prone to split ends.

All of these result in weak hair strands. And when these strands break, your hair will look thin.

Regularly trimming off the damage can eventually get rid of the damage and make your hair feel lighter yet look fuller, bringing back the bounce in your locks.

Your hair gets tangled easily

Tangled hair can be annoying because detangling takes time and effort. Sometimes, it can be painful too.

If you have smooth, shiny hair, knots are the least of your concerns. But those with dry hair are more prone to tangles. 

What causes tangles? Some reasons are:

  • Dryness
  • Hair length
  • Hair scratching
  • Damage from heat, sun, or bleach
  • Split ends

If you want to get rid of tangles, restore your mane’s strength and voluminous bounce by visiting the salon and having your ends tidied up.

hairdresser cutting client's hair

5 Benefits of Getting a Trim

Now that you know when to get rid of damaged ends, it’s time to talk about why.

Is a trim really necessary?

Yes, it is. That’s why I’ve listed down how hair trimming can solve your hair problems.

It eliminates split ends.

Spoiler alert! We’ll be talking a lot more about split ends.

That’s because they’re the number 1 suspect in damaging the ends of your hair.

Plus, they’re the main reason why the hair trim technique was invented. Since split ends can’t be treated or repaired, the only way to get rid of them is to snip them off.

It promotes hair growth.

It may seem silly to think that cutting the hair can actually make it grow longer. Let me explain how that works.

But first, let’s identify the problem. Why does your hair take too long to grow?

There are different factors causing a lack of hair growth:

  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Medical conditions
  • Unhealthy hair

Unhealthy hair has, yes, split ends. And these cause the strands to break off, making your hair shorter.

Just to be clear, trimming cannot make your hair grow faster. But it does remove split ends, therefore preventing hair strands from breaking. This then paves the way for hair growth.

So trim your hair regularly if you want longer, healthier hair.

It prevents frizzy hair.

Another thing about split ends? They can lead to frizz, which makes the hair appear extremely damaged.

Regular trims are the best way to save your hair from frizz caused by frayed ends. You’ll notice that after the cut, your hair feels softer and fuller.

It makes hair more manageable.

When hair is frayed and frizzy, it can be very stubborn. The style you want just won’t hold.

What’s more, if you already have damaged strands, it’s not advisable for you to use heat-styling tools. Otherwise, you’ll be saying hello to ruined, fried hair.

What’s the solution? Of course, the good old trim.

Snip the dry ends off and your hair will become easier to manage.

brunette girl with healthy curly hair and natural make up

It lessens tangles.

Sorry, but we’re going back to talking about split ends because they’re also a factor in hair knots.

Split ends cause dead hair and other hair strands to attach to the ends and create tangles. So if you have lots of frayed ends, you are more prone to tangling.

A fresh trim can help you solve this problem.

What to Tell Your Hairstylist

If you’ve decided to get a trim, it’s time to know what to ask your trusty hairdresser.

When you go to the salon to have your hair freshened up, don’t say, “Just give me a trim.”

I suggest that you be more specific. If you have something in mind, inform your stylist.

Let them know if you want an all-over trim that will restore your healthy hair. Tell them how much hair you want to be removed and that you still want to keep your style.

To be exact, you can say, “I still want to keep this hairstyle. The ends are just dry. Can you clean it up?”

Otherwise, just trust your stylist and let them do the work. This means leaving it up to them to cut as much of the ends as needed to make your hair look good again.

What to Tell Your Client

As for hairdressers like me, here’s a tip to make your clients happy.

Most of the time, we get customers who know exactly what they want for their hair. They’ll show us a picture as inspiration, or they’d describe their preferences.

Others would say they want a trim. Now you have to consider if your clients actually know what a trim is and if it’s really what they’re looking for.

When customers use the word “trim,” we understand that they don’t want any big change.

So we ask these helpful questions:

  • When did you have your last haircut?
  • What kind of look are you going for?
  • How much hair do you want to be cut off?

Then we (the client and stylist) will agree on how much hair can be snipped off.

We can restore the hairstyle by chopping off a couple of inches from the damaged ends. 

But if there’s too much damage, a trim may not be enough. So we’d suggest a full haircut to our client and ask if that’s okay.

It’s all about communication.

beautiful young woman with long healthy hair held by the dresser

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a trim take?

A trim takes as much time as a regular haircut as this service is also in-depth.

We will still go through the following:

  • Hair consultation
  • Shampooing
  • Cutting
  • Blow drying
  • Styling

The trimming itself will take about 10 minutes. But the whole process would take about an hour.

Does short hair need trimming?

Short hair also needs trimming. In fact, it needs to be trimmed more often if you want to maintain the shape of your hair.

I recommend getting it trimmed every 4 weeks so your pixie cut or bob won’t lose its style.

How much is a trim?

A trim’s price is no different from a haircut which is $40 to $66 dollars on average.

Of course, prices can differ depending on the salon, stylist, or location. Salons in big, populated cities like New York and LA charge more.

Moreover, men’s haircuts cost less than that for women.

Get the Best Out of Your Hairstyle by Getting a Trim

Think of hair trim as hair maintenance. You’ll be cutting off the right amount of hair for it to look healthy while keeping your style.

You have to get a trim every 8-12 weeks to ensure you keep your hair’s beauty and health.

However, trim time may come earlier for those with damaged hair. As soon as split ends start to appear, consider visiting the salon.

Do you have other hair-related questions?

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  • Rachelle Velasco

    Rachelle, is a sought-after freelance hair and makeup artist, shines particularly in the world of hair color. From subtle ombres and balayages to vibrant hues and intricate root work, she crafts unique styles tailored to individual preferences. Beyond her artistic talents, Rachelle also holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, showcasing her diverse skill set and dedication to learning.

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  • Kelly Goforth

    With ten years in the beauty industry, Kelly Goforth has mastered the art of hair and makeup. Trained at The Redken Exchange in NYC and mentored by industry legends like Sam Villa and Lauren Hagan, she's a sought-after bridal specialist in Colorado Springs. From managing a Denver salon to now offering bridal hair, makeup, and airbrush spray tans, Kelly's expertise shines.

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