Good Housekeeping, Sam Escobar

It may sound counterintuitive, but the trick to strong, healthy, and even long hair is getting it cut. But how often do you really need to get a haircut? Some think the answer is every four weeks, others do it just a few times a year. According to Meri Kate O’Connor, senior colorist and educator at Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City, the answer is somewhere in between.

hair salon sun city az“You should get your hair cut every six to eight weeks,” recommends Meri Kate. The reason is simple, but little-known: By trimming your hair, you prevent the hair cuticle from splitting. “When the split goes up the hair shaft, it becomes so thin that it breaks — that’s when people get breakage,” warns Meri Kate. “Once you split your hair there’s no way to repair it.” By getting your hair cut more frequently, you can avoid this unpleasant effect.

Not all hair is created equal, however. If you naturally have very fine or very coarse hair, your locks could be more prone to breakage. Frequently dye or heat style your hair? You could need to trim on a more regular basis as well, as your hair is likely to be less healthy than untreated strands.

While six to eight weeks is a safe bracket to stay within, your hair can give off warning signs that it needs a trim sooner rather than later. If you notice your ends looking more split or fried than usual, or if your hair is dryer than normal, consult with your stylist about what to do.

Another clue: “A good haircut should last you the full eight weeks,” advises Meri Kate, so if your haircut is falling out of shape too quickly, that could mean you need a fresh trim ASAP.