This week, we're investigating the theory that regular trims lead to hair growth. Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City who has been studying hair and scalp health for over 22 years, breaks it down for us.
In the world of beauty, it's ever-so-easy for fiction to become fact. These so-called "secrets" are passed down among generations, traded at beauty shops, touted on the pages of women's magazines ... but are they true? Of course we've all heard that drinking eight glasses of water will hydrate your skin, but according to whom? And then there's the old tale that toothpaste will get rid of pimples. Or that washing your hair less makes it more healthy. In our column Beauty Myths? we've enlisted the help of pros to help demystify and debunk some of the more popular advice out there.
We girls have heard that regular trims will actually make our hair grow faster since the day we were born. We've probably even dispensed the advice ourselves at some point, but based on what? Is there actually any science behind it? "Cutting the hair will have no influence on its rate of growth," says Cunnane Phillips, "that is something that is predetermined genetically."
So while haircuts may not make our hair grow faster, there are a few other factors to consider. "The rate of growth can be influenced by any number of variables, including general health, dietary habits, and endocrine function including thyroid, low iron or anemia," says Cunnane Phillips. "All of these have the capacity to influence hair growth and loss cycles."
But those routine salon visits are not for naught. "The benefits of regular trims are many and varied," notes Cunnane Phillips. "They will aid in keeping the ends from splitting and looking frayed, thereby giving the appearance of healthier and longer hair. When ends split and are severely damaged, they can cause breakage and that breakage travels up the hair shaft, which leads to playing catch-up." It can be easy to skip hair cuts when the only goal in sight is long hair, but this is when we should actually be on top of it. "Many people make the classic mistake of forgoing trims because they are growing their hair longer," says Cunnane Phillips. "This is in fact the time to be most attentive to the care of the hair, and that should include a trim every six (perfect world) to eight weeks."
The conclusion: False. Ultimately regular trims do not make hair grow faster (health and diet factors play heavily here), but if you want length without the damage, stick to routine salon visits to get your longest, healthiest hair. Cunnane Phillips tells us that "on average, hair grows approximately half an inch per month, so by trimming a quarter inch every eight weeks or so there is the potential for a net gain of four and a half inches per year."
Ok guys, be honest: How often are you all actually getting regular trims? And what's the longest you've gone between cuts in an effort to grow your hair out? Tell us in the comments.
Also, if you need any long-hair inspiration, check out our gallery below.