Eliminating the “Trim” – Why “Haircut” is the correct terminology.

Photo Source: @kahlanabarfield, In Style Editor


As a Stylist, there are a lot of frequently asked questions that clients come to us with.  “Do you take walk ins?” “”What’s your latest appointment?” .  The list goes on.  However, there is one question that clients won’t seem to erase.  No matter the length or texture, clientele always inquire about getting a “Trim”.  There are many substantial reasons why, in the realm of professional stylists, the “trim” does not exist.  Before becoming a licensed cosmetologist, the word “trim” was in my regular vernacular as a consumer.  This mindset even transferred over into my world as a cosmetology student.  However, by coming into contact with successful and knowledgable stylists, I was able to change my perspective on why the “trim” should be null in void.

For many clients, the term was birthed out of a point of emphasis.  In some situations, clients may have felt as though their stylist took off too much hair when requesting a routine haircut.  Subsequently, when they needed their ends maintained, clients used “trim” as a safe word, implicating that the length shouldn’t be taken off during the service.  As a result, I’ve found that the mindset around haircutting has been altered and the “trim” has taken precedence.  For several reasons, both beneficial to the consumer and professional, this HAS to change.

1. ONE CANNOT LIVE ON TRIMS ALONE.  Contrary to popular belief, everyone needs a haircut… and often.  To maintain hair in its healthiest state, your haircut should be maintained between every 6-8 weeks.  This recommended but necessary treatment is often missed when only a “trim” is given.  Only addressing the perimeter (the outside layer) of the hair trims leave the interior (i.e., hair stemming from the crown) untouched, as those layers usually do not reach the longest length of your hair.  Leaving these areas unattended makes hair more susceptible to breakage.

2. IS THAT A BOB?  Hair without shape is absolutely lifeless.  In order for your hair to be even and properly blended, a true haircut is required.  More importantly, your hair should have a specific style.  In addition to making your hair easier to style, this gives your hair the proper movement to enhance your overall look.

3.  PUT SOME RESPECK ON MY MANE.   Any stylist that only gives you a “trim” is doing you an immense disservice.  Acknowledge your stylists technique, skill and education by not only calling it a haircut, but paying the respective price.  Chances are that if one is seeing a stylist that truly cares about overall hair health, they are executing a full blown haircut (in execution and technique) even at the request of “just a trim”.  Reward your stylist for recognizing your hair needs in addition to the skill set they are putting into maintaining your look.  There should be no separate price for a trim and a haircut… nor should there be a separate definition.

Photo: @ravenelyse on Instagram

It is extremely important that as consumers and stylists, the conversation around haircutting is opened up and normalized.  This will help to create not only a new level of trust, but uniformity in the salon environment.  Utilizing the word “Haircut” on all ends will provide clarity to everyone and bring us all one step closer to our healthy hair goals!

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Brandelyn Green is the Founder of VoiceOfHair, a platform to help women of color find the best hair care products, regimens and hairstyles! Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends.
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  • Carob Petal says:

    Your sentence…”Chances are that if one is seeing a stylist that truly cares about overall hair health, they are executing a full blown haircut (in execution and technique) even at the request of “just a trim””… is what we’ve been seeing and not understanding for so very long and what prompts the distrust customers have toward having any sort of cut…hence, born of frustration… the phrase “just a trim”. Upon understanding the benefits of the “haircut”, the best interest of the client dictates it should be accepted…but the options of understanding and refusing should be respected by the stylist After all, the customer/client is a consumer, as well.

    • Ashley Lee says:

      I think you’re misunderstanding that sentence. In saying that, I don’t mean they’re taking more length off. I mean that the steps in taking off the half an inch you request in a “trim” are the same (if not more in seeing a professional stylist) as when you request to take off 4 inches in a haircut. Any haircut should be thorough, maintain the shape and address all of the client’s hair needs to blend the hair properly. Thus, within that sentence, I meant that the process is the same. I think in the context of the entire article I speak to the fact that client distrust is a huge issue in the root of the word so I’m not sure how that line was misconstrued to be contradictory to my primary argument. Nonetheless, maybe take a second read now that I’ve explained my stance and you can possibly interpret it through a new lens. Thanks so much for reading!!

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