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Whether you’re trying to grow your hair long or keep it short, regular trims are an absolute must. They keep your hair healthy, strong and damage-free. If you’re a farmer lady on a budget, professional trims can seem like a money drain, and if you’ve got natural curly hair — well, you can’t go to just any old hairdresser.

That’s why learning to trim your own hair is such a useful life hack. Trimming is important because it reduces split ends, which cause breakage and frizz.

The good news is, while curly haircuts can be quite complicated, trims are pretty simple and totally DIY-able. Follow these tips to achieve good results.

“Dust” Your Ends

The technical term for a trim that doesn’t take any length off of your hair is a “dusting.” This means cutting around ¼ of an inch from the ends of your hair, particularly those that are damaged or split. A trim, on the other hand, involves cutting 1 to 5 inches from your hair.

If you’re new to DIY haircuts, I recommend starting with dusting. It’s nearly impossible to mess up since you’re cutting such a small amount! You can dust your hair as often as you like.

Trim Your Hair While It’s Wet… or Dry… or Straight… or Curly

Different professionals will tell you different things about the “best” way to trim natural hair. Should it be soaking wet? Dry so that you can see how the curls lay? Blow-dried straight so you can get every strand easily? There’s no “right” answer. Whichever state allows you to easily see each strand, section your hair out, and style your hair afterward will work. My hair can be pretty frizzy while dry, so I usually cut it when it’s clean and a little bit damp.

Work in Sections

Separate your hair into easy-to-work-with sections, starting from the bottom and working towards the top. Some professionals advise cutting just 1-2 curls at a time, but this can be quite tedious! I advise starting with 4 sections on each side of your head, and increase or decrease the amount as needed.

If your hair doesn’t already have a style/cut, try cutting graduated layers into your hair, with the shortest layers at the top. This adds shape and volume and helps your hair to frame your face.

If your hair does have a style, just cut the same amount from each section. Start small, with about an inch — you can always cut more later.

Search and Destroy Method

To limit the amount of hair that you have to cut, you can simply section your hair and examine each section for damaged ends. Then cut those strands only, rather than all of your hair. This is the search and destroy method.

You may need to cut more or less hair, depending on the needs of your hair. Damaged or overgrown hair will need more of a trim.

Trim Every 4-6 Weeks

Once you’ve got a method down, you should be trimming your ends about every 4-6 weeks to keep your hair healthy. In most cases, all you’ll need is a light dusting or a short trim to keep it in good shape.

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Look After Your Skin This Summer

Every season has its dangers for your skin. Here’s what should you do this summer:

High-Factor Sunscreen Isn’t Optional!

Everyone knows about the dangers of too much sun, but it’s a vital point that can’t be repeated often enough. Not only does sunburn cause short-term problems from pain to peeling, it also toughens and wrinkles your skin over time. And of course, frequent sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer.

Always splash on the sunscreen whenever you’re planning to go outside, even if it’s not particularly sunny. The strong summer sun can still burn through cloud cover, and you also never know when conditions can change and catch you out. If you’re planning on enjoying some beach or pool time, use waterproof sunscreen. And if you’ll be outside for more than half an hour or so, take your sunscreen with you so you can reapply it regularly.

Cover Up

You don’t have to be sunbathing to suffer from too much sun. The harmful rays can be reflected from buildings, cars, and other objects even when you’re in the shade. Protect your face and eyes by wearing a hat and sunglasses, and keep as much of your skin lightly covered as you feel comfortable with. Always wear clothes made from breathable material such as cotton, rather than synthetics which will trap sweat and cause itchiness and rashes.

Emergency Repair

If you do get too much sun, work quickly to remove the heat and limit the damage. Use a cooling moisturizing cream containing aloe vera to start treating any sunburn as soon as you can. Avoid extra sun exposure until the irritation has passed. The longer you leave even mild sunburn, the more chance you have of blistering and peeling.

Protect Your Lips

Your lips are probably the tenderest part of your skin that sees daylight, and summer offers several dangers for them. First, they can burn easily in the hot sun. Second, they can quickly dry out in a warm breeze. Avoid both these problems by using a lip balm with built-in sun protection during the day, and a moisturizing version during the night to prepare them for the next day’s heat.

Stay Hydrated

Summer warmth can leave you dehydrated quicker than you think, and by the time you notice a raging thirst, it’s already too late. Take regular sips of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated, and stop your skin becoming dry and flaky. Importantly, this advice isn’t only for when you’re in the sun. On a hot day, when the air conditioning is working overtime, the dry indoor air is just as much of a problem as the hot, arid outdoors.

Eat Healthy

Summer is a season for salads and other light meals, and luckily this kind of food is exactly what your skin needs to stay healthy. Not only does it provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, it avoids the heavy oils which can leave your complexion greasy and easily irritated by the sun.

Exfoliate Regularly

Hot weather makes it easy for your skin to pick up dust and grime, not to mention the sweat that healthy skin produces in warm conditions. If your pores become clogged, you risk acne outbreaks and pimples. Make sure you exfoliate regularly, using a natural antibacterial scrub containing an essential oil such as lavender.

Go into Moisturizer Overdrive

Lastly, whether your skin is naturally dry or oily, in the summertime you need to step up your use of moisturizer at night. In warmer weather, you probably sleep with lighter blankets and leave more skin exposed. This can dry it out overnight, especially your hands, feet, and face. Use plenty of moisturizer on all these places before sleeping to prevent waking up with dry, flaky skin.

Some people love hot and sunny weather, while others spend the warmer months longing for frosty mornings and roaring fires. But whichever way you feel, if you want to greet fall’s arrival with your skin in great condition, follow these tips to look after it properly throughout the long days of summer.

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