Hair Update: Trial and Error and Scissor Happy Stylists

Monday, November 14, 2011 10:05 AM

Left Photo: Before Trim       Right Photo: After Trim          ~ The best way to tell the difference to observe where the hair hits my boobie.

The Background

Back in August, I was feeling overwhelmed with maintaining and styling my hair, so I got two inches cut off.  Ever since then, I've been in love with hair all over again and styling has been so much easier

How has it been easier?  *Less tangles and pulling hair out while washing and conditioning.  *Less manipulation during styling (when I separate into sections for twisting, braiding or blowdrying, it separates easily).  *No matter how I wear my hair, the style seems to maintain better throughout the day.  *Of course, I still have the natural hair "swell" that occurs throughout the day (that I love) but it's more contained.  *It swells and gets bigger, but I don't have a crazy detrimental detangling session to deal with at the end of the night. 

Since I've been natural, I've only had my hair professionally trimmed two or three times.  I was a long term transitioner, so I got my hair cut frequently while I was growing the relaxer out.  I've relied primarily on search and destroy sessions and/or dusting to keep my ends somewhat healthy.  But now I've realized that if I'm going to continue to grow my hair, I will only be able to do so with regular trims.  Otherwise, I just don't have the time or patience to maintain it.  

The Learning Opportunity

With this realization, I scheduled a reminder on my calendar to get my hair trimmed in early November, about three months after the August trim.  I'd decided to get a trim every three months and see how that works.  The stylist who trimmed my hair in August works at a Haircuttery right down the street from my house and she did a great job.  She did exactly what I asked.  Initially,  I asked her to only trim one inch.  She didn't push back, didn't argue.  Once she got started, she sectioned off my hair and started trimming.  After a couple snips, she held a section out and showed me how much she was cutting.  She asked me if I was sure that I only wanted one inch.  I looked at the piece she was showing me and said, you know what, go ahead and cut two inches so that I know I'll really be able to feel the difference.  And so she did. 

I absolutely loved the results and how cooperative she was.  For $15.99, I knew I'd continue coming back to her for my trims every three months and I gave her a great tip. 

Fast forward to about a week ago, I had some free time on my hands and went by the Haircuttery (without calling or referencing the card the stylist gave me with her hours on it) and of course she wasn't there.  There was however, another stylist ready and available to trim my hair.  So, I paused for just a second and said OK, I mean it's just a trim.  It shouldn't be that big a deal for any stylist to do it.


Here's the conversation that ensued:

Her:  When's the last time you had a trim?
Me:  August
Her:  Oh! Well, you're long overdue.
Me:  No, I'm actually right on time.  I get my hair trimmed every three months.
Her:  Oh.  (voice full of disapproval)  OK if you say so.
Me:  Well, that's what works best for me because I'm trying to grow my hair.  Any more frequent than that and my hair will pretty much stay the same length.  Plus, I wear my hair curly quite a bit (she squinched her face up when I said that!) and for curly styles it doesn't matter so much if it's cut perfectly. 

I don't know why I always try to reason with people.  Sometimes you just need to be firm and that's it.  Anyway, if you haven't already guessed, despite my request that she only cut 1/2 inch or 1 inch max, she cut at least two inches.  Seems like more in some places, but maybe I'm just being dramatic.  I could tell she was cutting a lot but I didn't say anything.  I told myself that my hair was long enough that even if she cut more than I wanted, it wouldn't affect it too much.  By the time she was done, my hair was just about arm pit length again.

Let me say this, I know that it's just hair and it will grow back.  That's why, although I was annoyed,  I didn't make a big deal or scene in the salon.

The Discovery

I learned a few things from this situation.  First, I am probably the type of client who is extremely annoying to a stylist because I think I know more about my hair than they do.  And I do, dammit.  I want full decision making authority and accountability over my hair. 

I need to stick to stylists that I have developed a relationship and rapport with, so that I can trust them to do what I ask.  What's important to me as a client, is that the stylist does what I ask - even if they disagree.  I don't know if that goes against what they are taught to do, but that's what I want!

I also learned that I probably only need to go every six months - unless of course I'm noticing an unusual amount of damage.  My revised plan is this - I will get my hair trimmed every three months, but will alternate between Vonnie (bestie mentioned above) and the Haircuttery.  We'll see how that works. 

What is your trimming process?  How often?  Who cuts it?  How did you figure out what works best for you?