How often do you really need a haircut? We’ve all heard the old standard rule of every six weeks. But we also know that some of the chicest women only get their hair cut a few times a year. So we decided to get to the bottom of things once and for all. We wanted to know: How long can a style hold up? Do infrequent trimmings take a toll on your hair’s health? And is there a one-size-fits-all rule for everyone to follow? These are all questions we asked four of the industry’s top stylists. Scroll through to find out what the verdict is.
The experts say between every three and seven weeks. According to hairstylist Richard Collins, if you have a specific style (like an Anna Wintour–inspired bob with bangs), you probably need to get your hair cut every three weeks to keep the look precise and polished. This is based on the fact that your hair usually grows about half an inch per month, adds Collins, who has worked with celebs like Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale.
Hairstylist Paul Norton—whose clients include Gina Rodriguez, Hannah Simone and Dianna Agron—agrees that more frequent trims are a must to maintain the style and shape of shorter ’do. But if you’re more laid-back about your look, then you may be able to stretch that to four to seven weeks.
The pros say getting a trim about three or four times a year should suffice. “If you have generally healthy hair that isn’t damaged and you’re keeping it mid-length to long, you need to cut it less,” says Collins says. “I recommend only three to four times a year just to dust the ends and touch-up layers.”
But even for long, healthy styles, Tanya Abriol, whose client roster includes Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow, says you need to base your decision off of how good you want your hair to look. “When you like to have your hair longer than your shoulders, layered or not, and it’s been longer than three months, your shape has completely grown out and you’re ready for a new one.”
The experts recommend visiting the salon every eight weeks. “If your hair is more prone to split ends or you have a lot of chemical treatments done, trimming every eight weeks will help keep your hair healthy,” says Creighton Bowman, who has styled everyone from Kate Beckinsale to Elizabeth Olsen. Collins also suggests getting a trim every eight weeks if your hair is chemically damaged, especially fine or has a tendency towards split ends.
There’s no one answer, but depending on your hair and what your end goal is, there is a sweet spot that’s perfect for you. “Two key factors when wondering is it time for a cut is are as basic as this: 1. Can you no longer achieve the styles you desire? And 2. Are the ends of your hair visibly damaged?” Norton says. When you start to approach the three-, eight-, or 12-week mark, ask yourself those questions. If you answer yes to either one, head to the salon.
No time for a cut? Take a look at our five split-end solutions.