Hot take: As far as beauty treatments go, getting a haircut is even more personal than getting a bikini wax. While it may not involve allowing a stranger to get all up in your business while they ask you about your weekend plans, it does require trusting them with one of the cornerstones of your identity: your hair. Because if said stylist makes a mistake, you’re stuck looking at it in the mirror every day for the next three months (which is not the relationship that I, personally, have with my bikini line, though to each their own).
It’s only natural that people have got a lot of questions about getting their hair cut. In fact, when we polled our readers last month, we received dozens of responses about things they wanted to know, such as how to find the perfect hairstyle and how often they should really be going in for a trim. To find out, we tapped Jon Reyman, Spoke & Weal founder and Dyson global styling ambassador—and one of New York City’s most in-demand hair stylist—for a little hair-cutting 101. Below, he answers our readers’ most burning questions about haircuts.
How can you find the “perfect” haircut for yourself?
A hairstyle is made up of length, density and texture, so the first thing you need to do is find a hairstylist who can manage all three. If you’re choosing a style for yourself, understand your balance. For instance, if you want to accentuate the length of your face, keep your hair longer; if you want to accentuate the width of your face, cut your hair shorter. If you do not want to visit the salon once every month or two, a pixie may not be for you.
You also have to figure out what makes sense with your lifestyle, personal style, and fashion sense. Use references from celebs, fashion designers, or people you are inspired by, because these people typically have time and resources to spend on styling decisions and become great inspiration and provide good images for reference. A combination of understanding what you want to highlight or accentuate about your face and personal style, researching looks on the internet or social media, and making sure it all fits with your lifestyle is key. But remember: Hair grows! So have fun and experiment, because it’s the best accessory. In other words: YOLO.
What happens if you just… don’t cut your hair, ever?
Your hair will grow as long as it can until it starts to split and break off, and different hair types will grow at different rates and with different levels of rupture. You also lose on average 70 to 100 hairs per day, and your hair will naturally shed and regrow itself, so not only will your length self-manage, but each hair will self-manage through growing and shedding cycles. I do not recommend letting your hair grow indefinitely.
How often do you have to cut your hair for it to maintain its style?
It depends on the cut, though some people confuse length and density. It’s important to understand that hair can get too thick but may not be not too long. Shorter hair typically needs to be cut more often to maintain, so an excellent pixie can last four to six weeks, while a clean bob can stay clean for two months or less (though a great bob with managed density can grow into a nice lob in three months). An excellent long haircut should be cut every three months to maintain the style. I find people look best and hair looks healthiest when cuts are maintained at least every three months, depending on length and density.
Is it *really* worth it to pay for a trim?
Yes. It’s not what you cut off its what you leave. All hair horror stories come from removing too much—it couldn’t happen any other way. A great trim is a great haircut, it is not something less. A trim will refine and polish your look, maintain the integrity of your hair. Let’s just call it a haircut. When people say, ‘Just a trim,’ they are really saying, ‘I want you to cut my hair and protect my length and general style.
How often do you need to get a trim?
If you have a hairdresser who can manage density and length with precision, you can go longer between trims and cuts. Go in for a trim if your hair feels too thick, heavy or long, you are having trouble styling your hair, your hair is hard to brush through and tangles more than usual, or things are generally looking beat up. Ideally, you get in there before the ends get too beat up, as damage can work its way up the hair progressively through splitting ends. I do recommend getting a trim every eight weeks if you are growing out your hair.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity
Once you’ve got your perfect cut, these are the best conditioners to keep hair feeling healthy. And if you’ve got split ends, these magic hair menders will zip ’em right back up.