By trimming your hair regularly, you’re able to prevent split ends and ensure you get rid of the dead part of the hair, thereby maintaining healthy, strong hair.

“The structure of our hair creates knots at the end,” Mthembu-Fawkes says. “This is the oldest part of the strand and is dead, which means it’s fragile and weak, which is why you need to remove it.”

Many women may want to hold onto the length of their hair even if the hair is unhealthy. Mthembu-Fawkes cautions against this. Besides,  even if you were to avoid trimming, when the hair is combed, the dead part comes off anyway.

“The danger in this is that it damages the rest of the strand. If you were to regularly trim, you’d create space for healthy, strong hair to grow because you’ve removed the unhealthy ends,” she says.

Once you have split ends, trimming is your only option, hairstylist Brian Warfield told us in a previous article in DESTINY. “Although there are some products that temporarily bind the ends, this isn’t a permanent solution. Once the ends are split they need to be cut off to prevent further damage.”

READ MORE: The fundamental natural hair dictionary

How often you should trim is a personal choice; some people trim every three or six months and others trim based on how damaged the hair is. Mthembu-Fawkes explains the difference between trimming and dusting.

“Dusting is when you remove small parts of the ends to prevent split ends. Trimming on the other hand is when you do a length test, then trim the dead ends to make sure the hair is even.”

She recommends dusting every two months and trimming every six months at the least. “I advise trimming hair while it’s stretched, whether through a braid-out or African threading,” she says. “I wouldn’t recommend trimming the hair while it’s wet as it gives a false indication of the actual length of the hair due to shrinkage.”

The “search and destroy” method is also a great way to maintain healthy hair. This involves eliminating unhealthy ends when and as you see them.