"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trimming Versus Search & Destroy Method


I recently asked myself this question : which one is more efficient, trimming or the search and destroy method? Though I didn't come up with an answer immediately, I can now give a detailed account of the verdict. But before we arrive at a conclusion, let us compare the two.


I'm sure many of you have already heard of trimming before. In fact, I think it's safe to say we all know what it consists of. Trimming is just that, cutting off a bit of the ends of the hair in a uniform manner. Some women do it monthly, or even bi-yearly depending on their needs and hair goals. Some women choose to get their hair trimmed in the salon while others prefer to do it themselves. Another thing to know is that most naturals trim their hair while it is stretched and a lot 90% of these women straighten their hair before trimming it. 


The search and destroy method is a less uniform but direct way of trimming. Instead of cutting of a certain amount, a natural would search through her strands and cut off the split ends, SSKs (single strand knots or fairy knots). The search and destroy method can be done monthly or as one pleases and it is normally done at home. Again, most ladies do it on after straightening their hair.


I will answer this question according to my experience and what I've learnt in my natural hair journey so far. While these methods have their pros and cons they are both useful and though both methods seem similar, they actually have distinct roles in a healthy hair regimen. Some naturals choose to follow either one of the methods and some practice them both. Personally, I think it is best to employ both methods and compliment one of them with the other. To understand this, try understanding how each one of them contribute to a hair regimen. The trimming method helps prevent split ends and damaged ends that can wreak serious havoc is left alone. This method is more into prevention that elimination. You can choose to follow this method alone but it doesn't mean your ends are damage free. For example, imagine you have a number of really bad split ends that have extended to a high length in the hair shaft and then you want to trim your hair like you normally do...If you choose to trim only an inch or so and those split ends go way higher than that, do you think you've solved the problem. No, you haven't. That is why I say the trimming method is more tilted towards prevention. Now the search and destroy method helps eliminate any type of damage (that you are able to spot). This method is totally about elimination. Now let's go back to our story and imagine you also practice this method...well then, you would be able to spot the damaged strands and get rid of them then your problem would be solved!

During the early days of my natural hair journey, I used to believe trimming wasn't necessary and I was oblivious to the search and destroy method. Now I know better. I do still think trimming should not be done too often or else you could loose your length for nothing. But for those of us who still do not believe in trimming, think about this : Imagine you do not trim your hair for a whole year and then all those damaged ends get really bad and affect the higher levels of the hair shaft..and then by the time you realize it, you have to cut about 5 inches of your hair off. Don't try to hold on to length you might have to loose later on because you want to quickly gain length and wear your hair long. It doesn't make sense if your hair is going to be damaged. However, don't try cutting off your hair every so often while stressing over imaginary split ends
In conclusion, my verdict is as follows : both methods compliment each other and I believe they are both a vital part of any healthy natural hair journey. It is up to the natural diva to come up with a hair regimen and decide how to work with both methods and how often she should utilize them.

Which method do you practice? 
Which one do you think is best?



  1. I employ both methods. However, I don't have a regular schedule for either. In the past few months I honestly haven't seen any splitting. I would like to attribute that to finger detangling, which took a minute to get used to, but now I use solely my fingers to manipulate my hair.

  2. I do search and destroy, and if I find that I have a LOT of split ends or knots, then I know it's time to trim.

  3. Though I haven't started destroying split ends, from what I have read, I think it is good to use both methods
    Start by trimming and search for the remaining that trimming did not catch and destroy them.
    Please, can you comment on how to identify split ends, cos I don't think I know how. Thanks


  4. @ FunTó : It's always a pleasure hun! Glad it was of help!

  5. @ Africa Naturalista : Hey sis! Thank you for stopping by! Split ends come in different forms. Any strand of hair that starts out as one from the roots then bifurcates is definitely a split end. There are also strands that split in between but the ends and roots are one. Others split into three strands. Some even split but one of the two strands breaks off, making you think it's not a split end while in reality it is and will only cause more damage. The identification of split ends takes patience and time and you can never identify them all at once, that is why it is best to do a search and destroy spree on a regular basis. If you cannot identify any split ends then it means you have very few of them. I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to ask anymore questions you might have. God bless

  6. Wow, thanks. I have never identified split ends, its probably because I have never searched for them. However looking for the will be very tasking o, cos I have to pick my hair strands one by one, right?
    I guess it is necessary in order to have healthy hair


  7. I dust (1/8-1/4 inch) every 3-4 months. I keeps my spits at bay and my ends looking nice.

  8. @ Africa Naturalista : It's a pleasure sis! It's true that it is not easy to identify split ends at all and I also never really saw any before looking. Yes, you pretty much have to do the searching in sections. I pick a section and look through but I try to be as fast as possible. That's why I say you cannot identify them all in one session therefore, it's best to make it a regular practice. Yes o, healthy hair comes with a sacrifice of time.

  9. @ mangomadness : Nice sis!! That should definitely keep your ends looking fabulous. Thanks for sharing!


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