Regular haircuts do not actually make your hair grow faster — here's why

Jul 17, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Image: Milan Markovic/iStock/360/Getty Images

Sorry, folks. Patience seems to be the only cure for short hair, after all.

When I was 19 and spending a summer abroad, I thought it would be super fun to chop off my hair in an Italian salon. My extremely long tresses were shortened into a chin-length bob with just a few snips. How cool am I? I thought. Within a day, though, I looked in the mirror and asked, what have you done? I spent the rest of the summer longing for hair I could throw back into a ponytail.

Can you really speed up your hair's growth?

Supposedly, regular trims would encourage my hair to grow faster, so I could ditch my awkward bob. I dutifully went back to my little Italian salon throughout the summer with hope in my heart, only to feel disappointed with my hair growth results.

So what's the truth, then? According to Dr. Paradi Mirmirani, hair grows an average of one-half inch per month. It grows as a result of hormones and cell proliferation in the hair follicle, and doesn't vary much. Whatever you do to the shaft of the hair — which is made up of nonliving cells — does not impact the living cells in your follicles. A trim, therefore, cannot speed up or slow down your hair growth. Sad, I know. My summer in Italy taught me a lot of things, and one of them was that I can't do a darn thing to make my hair grow faster.

The benefit of a good trim

That said, this beauty myth has staying power because nicely trimmed hair does make hair appear longer and healthier over time. Split ends can cause hair to look thin and ragged, so a fresh haircut every six to eight weeks can provide shape to your hairdo and actually make your hair look longer than it is. So if you're growing out your hair, you shouldn't expect a trim to make your hair grow faster — but you can certainly expect a regular trim to make your hair look shapelier and longer over time.

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