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Split Ends, Tangles, and More — Here’s How to Know When to Get a Haircut

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The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. But when it comes to admitting that it’s time for a haircut, some of us balk. If you’re like me, you want to keep your hair growing until it reaches Real Housewife length (minus the extensions), and don’t want anything to interrupt the process.

The good news is, you can keep haircuts to a minimum — if you do things right. “I am a big fan of growing hair out and totally understand people who get haircuts two times a year,” says hairstylist Teddi Cranford of the Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. “You can keep your hair long, but you have to find the right hairdresser who knows how to dust off your ends and can give you shape without losing any length.” So, until you find the hairdresser of your long-haired dreams, here’s exactly how to know when it’s time for a cut.

It has a triangle shape.

My hair is thin and mostly straight, so I don’t ever have this happen to me, but if your hair is curly, wavy, or just very thick, and it starts to resemble a pine tree, it’s time to get it cut, says Cranford.

The ends are split.

But how do you know your ends are split? I mean, you can hold them really, really close to your face and see if they look frayed, or wrap them around your fingers and see if it looks more like a porcupine than a smooth, sleek piece of hair. Those are just my amateur ways of figuring it out. But hairstylist Jen Atkin, who has her own haircare line and some major celeb clients (think Kardashian sisters and more), says you’ll know because they look thin and stringy. “Cutting your hair when the ends look like that will make your hair fuller and thicker-looking again,” she says.

It’s falling flat.

Does your at-home blowout look worse than it usually does? Do you need an entire can of dry shampoo to get some lift at your roots? Have you bought stock in volumizing mousse? That means you need a haircut, according to Cranford.

It tangles easily.

I never realized this, but you’ll experience more knots when it’s getting too long and the ends are damaged. And I’ve always chalked this up to my winter coat…or the saltwater in the summer…

Read Next: Is Water Damaging Your Hair?

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