How to Trim the Sides of Your Hair: A Step by Step Guide (2023)

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how to trim sides of hair

What tools do I need to trim the sides of my hair?

When it comes to trimming the sides of your hair, there are a few essential tools that you will need:

1. Hair cutting shears:

Investing in a good pair of hair cutting shears is crucial for achieving clean and precise cuts. These shears have sharp blades specifically designed for cutting hair, allowing you to have better control over the trimming process.

2. Comb:

A fine-toothed comb is essential for sectioning and guiding your hair during the trimming process. It helps in creating clean lines and ensures a more uniform cut.

3. Clippers or trimmers (optional):

If you prefer a shorter length on the sides, clippers or trimmers can be used to achieve a more even and consistent cut. These tools come with different guard attachments that allow you to customize the length according to your preference.

List of tools needed:

  • Hair cutting shears
  • Comb
  • Clippers or trimmers (optional)

How often should I trim the sides of my hair?

The frequency at which you should trim the sides of your hair depends on how fast your hair grows and the desired length you want to maintain. On average, it is recommended to trim the sides every 4-6 weeks to keep them looking neat and well-maintained.

If you prefer a shorter style with faded or tapered sides, more frequent trims may be necessary to maintain the desired shape and length. However, if you’re growing out your hair or aiming for longer side sections, you can extend the time between trims to 6-8 weeks.

Regular trims help prevent split ends, maintain a clean appearance, and promote healthy hair growth. It’s important to listen to your hair and adjust the trimming schedule based on its needs.

Are there any specific techniques for trimming the sides of hair?

Trimming the sides of your hair requires precision and attention to detail. Here are a few techniques that can help you achieve a clean and well-blended result:

1. Sectioning:

Start by sectioning off the top portion of your hair using clips or hair ties. This will ensure that you focus solely on the sides without accidentally cutting too much from the top.

2. Gradual blending:

To achieve a seamless blend between the trimmed sides and the rest of your hair, use a technique called “gradual blending.” Start with a longer guard attachment on your clippers or trimmers and work your way down in length as you move towards the bottom. This creates a natural fade effect.

3. Point cutting:

Instead of cutting straight across, try point cutting for a softer look. Hold your shears vertically and make small upward cuts into the hair at an angle. This technique helps remove bulk and adds texture to the side sections.

List of trimming techniques:

  • Sectioning
  • Gradual blending
  • Point cutting

Should I wet my hair before trimming the sides?

Benefits of wetting your hair before trimming

Wetting your hair before trimming the sides can have several benefits. Firstly, wet hair is easier to manage and comb through, making it less likely for tangles or knots to interfere with the trimming process. Additionally, wetting your hair can help provide a more accurate representation of its true length, as dry hair tends to shrink up slightly. This can be especially important if you are aiming for a specific length when trimming the sides.

Potential drawbacks of wetting your hair before trimming

While there are benefits to wetting your hair before trimming, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks as well. Wet hair may appear longer than it actually is when stretched out, so if you trim the sides while they are wet, you may end up cutting off more length than intended once your hair dries. Additionally, wet hair can be more prone to breakage and damage, so it’s crucial to handle it gently and avoid excessive pulling or tugging while trimming.

Tips for deciding whether to wet your hair or not

  • If you have curly or wavy hair, consider leaving it dry when trimming the sides to ensure an accurate representation of its natural shape and length.
  • If you have straight or fine hair that tends to lay flat against your head when dry, wetting it slightly can help create more volume and make the trimming process easier.
  • Experiment with both methods on different occasions to see which one works best for you and gives you the desired results.

Overall, whether you choose to wet your hair before trimming the sides depends on personal preference and the specific characteristics of your hair.

How can I determine the desired length for trimming the sides of my hair?

Consider your hairstyle and overall look

The desired length for trimming the sides of your hair will depend on your hairstyle and the overall look you want to achieve. If you have a specific haircut in mind, such as a fade or an undercut, research different variations and determine the length that best suits your face shape and personal style.

Consult with a professional hairstylist

If you’re unsure about the desired length for trimming the sides of your hair, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional hairstylist. They can provide expert advice based on your individual features and help you choose a length that complements your facial structure and enhances your overall appearance.

Take gradual steps

If you’re hesitant about going too short, start by trimming a small amount off the sides and gradually work towards your desired length. This allows you to assess how each increment looks on you and gives you more control over the final result.

Remember, determining the desired length for trimming the sides of your hair is subjective and depends on various factors. It’s important to consider both practicality and personal preference when making this decision.

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Are there any common mistakes to avoid when trimming the sides of hair?

Using dull scissors

One common mistake to avoid when trimming the sides of your hair is using dull scissors. Dull scissors can lead to uneven cuts and frayed ends, making it difficult to achieve a clean and polished look. It is important to invest in a pair of sharp hair cutting shears specifically designed for trimming hair.

Trimming too much at once

Another mistake to avoid is trimming too much hair at once. It is best to trim small sections at a time, gradually working your way through the sides of your hair. This allows for more control and precision, preventing any drastic or unwanted changes in length.

Can I use regular scissors or do I need specialized hair cutting shears?

While it may be tempting to use regular household scissors for trimming the sides of your hair, it is highly recommended to use specialized hair cutting shears. Regular scissors are not designed for cutting hair and may result in uneven cuts or damage to the hair shaft. Hair cutting shears have sharp blades and ergonomic handles that provide better control and precision, ensuring a professional-looking trim.

What are some tips for achieving a seamless blend between the trimmed sides and the rest of my hair?

Gradual blending

To achieve a seamless blend between the trimmed sides and the rest of your hair, it is important to work in gradual layers. Start by trimming small sections near the bottom of your side sections, gradually moving upward. This will create a natural transition between lengths.

Tapering technique

The tapering technique can also help achieve a seamless blend. Instead of cutting straight across, angle the shears slightly downward while trimming the sides. This will create a softer and more blended look, avoiding any harsh lines or noticeable differences in length.

Should I start trimming from the top or bottom when working on the sides of my hair?

When trimming the sides of your hair, it is generally recommended to start from the bottom and work your way up. This allows for better control and precision. By starting at the bottom, you can ensure that you are maintaining an even length throughout the side sections. It also helps in achieving a seamless blend with the rest of your hair.

Are there any post-trimming care tips to keep in mind for maintaining healthy side sections?


After trimming the sides of your hair, it is important to moisturize them to maintain their health and prevent dryness or breakage. Use a nourishing hair oil or leave-in conditioner to keep the side sections hydrated and smooth.

Regular trims

To maintain healthy side sections, it is essential to schedule regular trims every few weeks. Trimming off split ends and preventing them from traveling up the hair shaft will help keep your side sections looking fresh and vibrant.

In conclusion, trimming the sides of your hair can be easily accomplished by following a few simple steps. By using the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a clean and polished look without needing to visit a salon.

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