Are you frustrated and think that your hair needs a cut in order to become healthy? Are you tired of breakage, unable to get products to work well or do you have unexplained shedding? If you are in this group you may just be thinking that the only thing for it is to get rid of the damage and just start all over again. However before you pull out the scissors, consider this:

1. Your hair may not be that damaged
It is a rare thing to have 3-4 inches of split ends without having in some way severely abused the hair. Think, regular high heat , bleaching or regular super rough detangling where you hear strands popping every pass of the comb. If you have not done this, then the likelihood of having inches upon inches of damaged hair is quite low. Your problems with breakage (which some people mistake for shedding) may actually be more of procedural issues such as finding the right detangling method or a decision as to whether your hair may require more/less protective styling.

2. Even if your hair is damaged, it may be possible to hold on to the length
If you are certain that your hair is irreparably damaged, it may still be possible to keep the length and over the next few months do strategic cuts to get rid of the damage. Keeping the length of damaged hair is a good exercise in learning to handle damaged fibres and therefore learn how to be very gentle to your hair. The extra length will also come in handy when it comes to achieving some styles.

3. You may simply just be frustrated
Picture the scene – Over the course of several months you have tried and failed to achieve a particular goal whether it is growing hair to a particular length or cutting down on detangling time or reducing tangling of hair. The bottom line is that when your hair gets stuck, it is very easy to be frustrated and think that the only possible solution is a hair cut. However, a better bet is to really try to address the issue that is causing your hair to be stuck and homing on two main things – when does your hair break the most and secondly what can you do to stop it.

4. Analyse whether you should protective style and what style you should pick
If you have been living in protective styles kept in for weeks at a time and see no progress in the length of your hair, you need to consider changing the type of style that you are doing and the time you spend in that style. For example, twists are almost always the go to style for many naturals but they can be terrible for high shrinkage hair that is washed frequently, braids are a better option. Equally, some hair can actually benefit from little to no protective styling. If you can wear your hair open and have no real need to detangle it on a daily basis, protective styling may not be for you at all.

5. Hide that hair for a while
If all else fails, stop yourself from cutting your hair by hiding it for the next few months. I promote not using extensions, weaves or wigs as a permanent hair style but I think they are useful especially in the case where you may do something catastrophic to your hair. You might not be ready to do all the analysis that you need to do to fix your problems. You may also be very frustrated having tried everything in the book. Simply hide that hair for a while and then come back to it when you have more presence of mind and more patience to do the analysis that needs to be done to fix the problems.

Ladies, have you been tempted to do a second (or third!) big chop? Did you go through with it? Why or why not?