Come you-know-what or high water, Southern women like to have their hair done—which makes it pretty wild to think that at any given moment, most of us are only a couple weeks away from showing our true hair color. It’s not a bad thing, per se. Just the truth, Ruth.
Luckily we can at least make a fresh haircut last much longer than that, with the grace of anti-breakage hair masks and heat damage-reversing serums, as well as with the help of an at-home trim during times when we just can’t make it to the hair salon.
While deep down we all know that a haircut is best left to the professionals, sometimes a girl just has to take things into her own hands, whether due to unforeseen circumstances or just old-fashioned Southern stubbornness. The more split ends you have, the more damage can travel up your hair shaft as each split end moves farther up, which is why getting rid of them altogether is oh-so tempting. Keeping your split ends at bay means that your hair will grow longer, thicker, and look way healthier.
If you’re currently contemplating how to trim your own hair at home, here are the best tips and tricks to read before grabbing those shears.
How to Cut Split Ends
Firstly, you’ll probably want to have salon-worthy scissors (like these $5 ones from Target) to get the job done. Odds are the dull scissors you use in the kitchen or for crafts aren’t going to cut it, literally. Second, consider dampening your strands in order to start with a more tamed, manageable base for your at-home hair trim. Use a spray bottle for best results, but you can make-do with dry hair if desired.
Now before making any moves, heed these words: You will want to go full-on Edward Scissorhands scissor-happy with your strands. Resist the urge! Don’t keep taking off more length to “try to even it out,” unless you want to end up with a lopsided bob and baby bangs. Just move slowly and carefully, only removing the tiniest amount from the tippety-bottom of each strand. The goal is to remove individual split ends, not a ton of length.
We even found an easy and effective method you can follow for how to trim your own split ends, courtesy one of our longtime hair gurus and all-time braid queen, Kayley Melissa. The technique involves starting with your ends—we’re talking the bottom millimeters of hair, people—and then moving onto the mid-shaft split ends by twisting your hair. Check out her instructional video here. (At 3:45, you’ll find her genius hack for singling out mid-shaft split ends. Game-changer.)
How to Trim Bangs
For all the fringe-loving sisters out there, you can even trim your signature bangs at home, with a couple tips from Texas-based stylist Chris Jones: "Always trim your bangs dry and styled as you wear them. If you like to round brush your bangs so they have a little lift, round brush them before you trim them. This will help to prevent them from getting too short.”
Additionally, he recommends to "point cut into the bang rather than cutting a straight line," in order to avoid making your bangs look too blunt and to give you more control.
How to Prevent Split Ends
Okay, we're not going to sugarcoat this. The best way to keep split ends at bay is to take it easy. No heat tools. No color treatments. No yanking a hair brush through those tangly strands without using a gentle Wet Brush and (if needed) a detangler.
If you're not going to give up hair color or heat tools, you should be using hair masks. Doing a hair mask twice a week will help keep your hair cuticle sealed and healthy, as well as split ends from creeping up your strands. These are our favorites for all of your concerns.
When using heat tools, use a heat protectant spray like Bumble and bumble's beloved Hairdresser's Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer. If you suffer from color-treated damage, you will not—and we cannot stress this enough—find a better damage control hair treatment than Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3. Period. (Just ask the nearly 2,000 five-star reviews on Sephora alone.) Other than that, try to use a strengthening, anti-breakage shampoo and conditioner set like our favorite drugstore recommendation, the OGX Anti-Breakage + Keratin Oil set.
So next time you’re left without a hair appointment, know you can do it yourself with a little courage, attention to detail, and maybe a sip of rosé. Just not a whole glass, because, you know, drinking and cutting is a recipe for disaster.