Last Updated on 29th January 2021 by Chauncey Morgan
One of the most well known rules for growing long hair usually sounds something like “Do not skip trims” or “Trim your hair ends every few weeks”. Which makes total sense, because you don’t want to end up with split ends going up your long but totally unhealthy looking hair. However, it does feel that when you go to the hairdresser and lose a couple of inches you are loosing a lot of hair that took ages to grow! Hair dusting is the hairdresser approved solution to keeping your hair long while getting regular trims and avoiding the frazzled ends look.
What Is Hair Dusting
Hair dusting is a hairdressing cutting technique where the stylist only cuts the damaged tips of hair, without actually reducing the length. It looks similar to removing the fuzz from a jersey, instead of actually cutting off a set length at the tips and calling it a day. However, this means the stylist need to be very skilled and careful, which means it will take longer than a quick trim. According to L.A Stylist Sal Salcedo, the goal is to slowly go over the hair, with the scissor help almost horizontally, snipping at the frayed ends that pop when the hair is held in the stylist hair. It looks like this
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Why Choose Dusting Over a Trim?
The main reason why you would go through this process instead of just booking a quick trim at your hairdresser is the possibility of leaving the length of your hair untouched. If you remove an inch from your hair every 6 weeks, you are at best halving the rate at which hair grows, and at worst removing the entire progress you made over those 6 weeks. Careful use of masks and avoiding heat tools allows you to space your trims more if you are trying to grow your hair to mermaid lengths but still, it’s never nice to see all your efforts laying at your stylist’s feet. If you have curly hair and are trying to grow it this can be even worse.
However, avoiding the salon isn’t a good solution either. Your hair will start splitting, and as it does the splits will creep higher over the hair shaft. This results in hair that looks frazzled and unhealthy. Hair dusting offers the best of both worlds, despite taking as long as a regular haircut, as you’ll be able to remove only the bits of hair that are actually damaged, while keeping the length intact. However, if your hairstyle needs reshaping regularly (for example, because you have a very structured haircut, very straight hair or layers) then you will need to do that separately, as hair dusting is more of a maintenance thing.
Can You Dust Your Hair At Home?
Provided you have a good pair of hairdressing scissors (NEVER cut your hair with anything that is not sharpened to hairdressing standards, designed to cut hair, or you’ll end up snagging and damaging your hair even more) you can dust your hair at home. However, it is a time consuming endeavour and some parts of your head make for awkward access, so sometimes having a friend over to help can make things much easier. Also, you can’t really dust hair that is already damaged, so if you haven’t had a haircut for over 6 months you’ll need to start there. Otherwise cutting a quarter of an inch of your hair won’t be enough to remove all the damage.
Start with washing and smoothing your hair to get it as straight as possible, so you can see the split ends as they pop out. You will need your hair to be dry as well. The easiest way to dust your hair is sectioning hair into four to eight sections (depending on how much hair do you have) and then taking about ¼ inch from the ends. If you have layers or very textured hair, you can also twist your hair into very tight twists, and trim the hair that pops out very carefully.
A hairdresser or a friend can also hold each 1 inch section on their hands, and pull so the split ends pop up and are easy to see. Keeping the cutting shears parallel to the hair allows you to cut off the damaged hair leaving the length intact.
This Sounds Familiar!
Hair dusting as a technique is not exactly new, and other cultures have been doing it for centuries using things such as razors… and even fire! If you have ever heard interviews with brazilian models, they may have mentioned the word Velaterapia, which involves using candles to burn the split ends. Similarly to hair dusting, velaterapia works by twisting the strands of hair and using a candle to get rid of the split ends that pop out. However, it goes without saying that you can end up with severely singed strands, and despite it being used in Brazil since the 60s it’s hardly a friendly DIY Sunday evening project to do yourself.
It also looks pretty scary, if you ask us! We’ll stick with hair dusting for the time being 🙂