Does Cutting Your Hair Jumpstart Growth? Here's The Deal

The desire for beautiful, long hair is nothing new. In fact, most people will do anything to get long locks, which are a universal mark of beauty. This is obvious when you look at the long list of hair-growth fads that have emerged over the years. There's been everything from the mayonnaise cholesterol hair mask craze to peanut butter hair, but people are still hoping for a miracle hack that won't leave their hair smelling awful.

On TikTok, there are a lot of hair influencers who post a variety of anecdotal tips to help you get the long tresses you desire. Some say that cutting your hair will "jumpstart" growth, like user Matilda Mercer, who posted a video of her cutting her own hair along with the words, "At least I have healthier hair now." Then there is the polar opposite view on the platform, where user Trashbuns told her thousands of followers that you have to stop cutting your hair altogether to get long locks. In the midst of all the noise, a doctor cuts through: Dr. Ramya revealed that no, cutting dead ends won't stimulate hair growth, "but trimming your hair does make it healthier overall." And while regular trims don't directly lead to hair growth, they do result in healthy hair, which is what you'll need to maintain the length that you do grow. 

Split ends will keep you from your dream length

On TikTok, Dr. Ramya confirmed that haircuts are so valuable because they stop "split ends from splitting higher up the hair shaft." And she's not alone.

"Cutting your hair makes it grow healthier because it removes the hair that would split," celebrity stylist Angela C Styles told Seventeen. "The hair at the root is able to grow and you're able to maintain length and avoid splitting. If you allow split ends to stay on the strand, the hair will continue to split and you'll never see the length."

ColorProof director of education Erica Conan agrees, telling MindBodyGreen, "There are no magical powers in haircutting scissors that make our hair grow faster when we get a trim." But Conan notes that there are actually ways to make your hair appear longer, and they circle back to Dr. Ramya's note about split ends. "Long hair that is breaking and splitting will look thin and tapered at the ends; this can make the hair appear shorter as well," Conan said.

Styles recommends trimming your hair "every six to eight weeks for naturally dry or chemically treated hair, and every three months for healthy hair, if no splitting appears to be on the ends."

Lifestyle changes that really make your hair grow

So if chopping our hair won't stimulate growth, what will? Healthline explains that there are several lifestyle changes you can make to grow your hair more quickly, including avoiding restrictive dieting and making sure that you're getting enough protein and key nutrients, including zinc, iron, vitamins C, D, and E, and biotin. MedicalNewsToday explains that biotin is just vitamin B7 that our bodies usually absorb through our diet, but if you wanted to give your hair an extra growth stimulant, there are many biotin-rich shampoos that claim to pump up your hair. This is because a biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss, per Healthline

Speaking to Byrdie, board-certified hair restoration surgeon Alan J. Bauman revealed that limiting heat styling is another way to ensure that your hair is growing: "Blow-dryers and styling irons can certainly damage your hair by making it dry and brittle, which can lead to breakage and shorter hair length."

Finally, numerous sources recommend scalp massages to stimulate hair growth. According to GoodRx Health, studies have concluded that scalp massages may improve hair health and lead to more growth, or less loss, by stimulating blood flow to the scalp. To give yourself a scalp massage, simply apply medium pressure with your fingers, moving in small circles over your entire head for six minutes. Aim to do this at least once a day.