Your styling habits and desired style also play a role in figuring out how often you should cut your hair.
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woman with curly hair getting hair cut at a beauty salon
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With an ever-growing to-do list, it's easy to put off a haircut appointment and convince yourself that the decision won't have negative consequences. And while the Earth will certainly continue to spin on its axis, spacing your haircuts too far apart could end up hindering the health of your hair more than you might realize.

Snipping your strands — albeit an approach that sounds counterproductive — can in fact help you retain length in the long run, according to Jay Small, hairstylist and co-founder of hair-care brand Arey. But that's just the start. Here's why regular haircuts are beneficial, plus exactly how often to schedule them based on your hair.

Why Does It Matter How Often You Cut Your Hair?

Quick refresher: A hair trim is a maintenance cut that takes away about 1/2 inch of hair and isn't meant to give your strands a new shape or add volume, explains Small. On the other hand, a haircut creates a new hairstyle or shape and involves removing more hair than a trim. A third option for maintaining your locks is to "dust" your ends, which refers to cutting the slightest bit (usually around 1/4 inch) of your ends where needed (i.e. in specific areas with damage). Since your hair grows at a rate of about 1/2 inch per month, a trim may be all you need — provided you've been keeping up with your appointments every few weeks.

Even if you have no intention of switching up your hairstyle and plan on growing your hair out, regular cuts or trims are essential for overall hair health, according to Small. While they won't actually change the rate at which hair grows from your head, regular haircuts can help you maintain healthy strands, particularly healthy ends, which are the oldest and the most fragile part of your hair.

"Trimming [your hair] takes away the weak ends that splinter or split over time," says Small. "This splitting can cause weakness or breakage [along the hair shaft], which can take away your hair length. Cutting off the ends of your hair will limit breakage and help keep hair looking polished with less styling and make you feel fresh."

Truth is, getting regular haircuts won't result in sudden, extreme hair growth. However, it will allow you to retain length and maintain overall hair health. By holding onto split ends, you're doing your hair more harm than good in the long run. (Related: The 2022 Haircut Trends to Bookmark Now)

So, How Often Should You Cut Your Hair?

While many stylists provide a blanket recommendation to schedule haircuts every six to eight weeks, your hair texture, styling habits, and desired cut all play a part in exactly how often you should cut your hair, says Small.

When used frequently, heat and other styling tools (e.g. brushes, combs) can wreak havoc on your locks, particularly the fragile ends. Both the tension from brushing your hair and the high temperatures from hot tools can wear down the hair cuticle (the outermost layer), making your strands brittle and prone to breakage, explains Small. So, if you style your hair often, visit your stylist more frequently (on the shorter end of the ranges specified below), advises Small. (For example, people with straight hair can wait eight to 12 weeks, and those who also style their hair a lot should go with eight weeks.)

As a general rule, it's probably time to see your stylist if you're having difficulty styling your hair (e.g. your brush is getting caught in the ends of your hair or your hair has been looking lifeless or flat after styling). Split and damaged ends tend to act like velcro toward other strands, resulting in tangles and knots — another telltale sign that you're due for an appointment, says Small.

Not noticing any damage? Here's how long you should wait between appointments, based on your hair type and length, according to Small.

How Often to Cut Short Hair

Since short 'dos are typically designed to frame your face, the cut and shape can look very different in just a month. That means you'll need to commit to more frequent visits to the salon to maintain the style. Plan on getting a haircut every four to six weeks to maintain pixie-length hair, six to eight weeks for short crops, and eight to 10 weeks for a chin-length bob, recommends Small.

If you have shorter bangs, you should get them trimmed every two to four weeks, even though isn't a common practice, recommends Small. (After all, this can be timely and get expensive fast.) On the other hand, if you have curtain bangs, there's less of a reason to get your bangs trimmed between regular appointments, as they tend to look good (hitting at a part of your face that most people find flattering) while growing out.

How Often to Cut Long Hair

Straight Hair

Generally speaking, straight hair appears healthier when cut a bit blunter, which makes your locks look fuller at the ends. For this reason, plan to get your straight hair cut every eight to 12 weeks to maintain the overall look and add volume to the hair, recommends Small. For layered hair, err toward 12 weeks since frequently-cut layers may start to look dated (think: Mrs. Brady), says Small.

In an ideal world, you'll dust as needed, trim when you develop dry, brittle ends, and get a full cut when you notice that your ends are looking see-through or thin.

Wavy or Curly Hair

If you have wavy or curly hair, you might only trust curl specialists to create a cut you'll find flattering, and that can impact how often you visit the salon for a trim. In general, though, you'll want to wait a bit longer between haircuts, which helps waves and curls appear less blunt and fall in a manner that many people find to be the most flattering. To allow ends to appear "soft-edged," wait 12 to 16 weeks between cuts, recommends Small. (Related: The Best Conditioners for Curly Hair)

As with straight strands, wavy and curly hair can be dusted on an as-needed basis. Knotty or dry ends are a sign that it's time for a trim or full-on cut depending on how far up the hair shaft the damage has traveled.

While they may take a chunk out of your schedule, regular haircuts are integral to hair health, and may even help you achieve a longer length faster. Consider each appointment a modest investment toward your hair goals.