I didn’t know there was an actual name for the phenomenon known as stylists being too scissor happy until I came across a discussion board online and I realized I wasn’t the only woman who had been the victim of this heinous crime. Yes, the dreaded hater trim. From high school all the way up to about the age of 22 my hair was essentially the same length. There were times I’d gotten it cut—you know where I intentionally wanted to lose length—but when I was in the process of what I thought was growing it back, somehow I always came out of the shop with the exact same length I started with despite being absolutely clear that I wanted a trim. Say it with me: t-r-i-m. When I skipped the salons all together and got my length back to where it was post-cut without the recommended 6-8 week trims, somehow every time I went to the shop after that I needed my ends cut, and cut they were as I waved goodbye to my hard-earned length being swept away in a dustpan never to grace my shoulders again.

Eventually my friends and I would share stories about our salon experiences and they brought up the idea that it’s something about black stylists that they are always trying to cut someone’s hair off, I laughed it off thinking, why would they even care? But then I thought back to a few of those instances where the cost of getting my hair done drastically increased because my beautician had to do more than trim my ends and I was charged for a full a cut, and I started to think, hmmm maybe there is something to this.

What’s funny is after switching to Dominican stylists when I moved to New York my hair grew longer than it had ever been. Back home people would always comment that the Dominicans must really know what they’re doing, but I thought not really. For anywhere from the $17 to $22 I had to pay to get my hair done I knew there was no miracle grow in the products they used but I did notice that when I asked for a trim I got my $5 worth. Meaning my ends were actually trimmed and I didn’t lose half my head of hair. Coincidence?

After a few years of Dominicans shops I felt I needed some special care. I wanted to try a black male beautician and despite knowing how much gay male hairstylists hate to see a woman not keep every strand of gorgeous locks on her head, I walked out of the salon looking like the pre-NYC hater trimmed victim I was at 22. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at first but as he explained that I hadn’t really lost any length—he just gave me layers—as I rode the barely-there ponytail struggle bus, I thought this man is worse than a hater, he’s dillusional.

In my post-NYC stint, I refused to go from a $25 trip to the salon to a $50-$60 one so I decided I would simply take care of my hair at home and when I needed a trim I’d hit up a walk-in shop like First Choice, Fresh Cuts, or some place like that that always has that one black stylist. Unfortunately she was never there when I walked in, but a white beautician managed to hook me up just like the Dominicans. My dry, frizzy, dead ends were gone but the rest of my hair wasn’t and I felt certain after my experiences/experiments that the hater trim is real.

In actuality I’m not sure it’s so much a hater – I don’t want you to have long hair trim – as it is beauticians feeling like they have creative license with your hair. Black hairstylists like to experiment and prove they know what looks good on you—sometimes better than you do. If you’ve ever been to a Dominican shop you know they don’t care about all that. Everyone gets the same 3-step, wash, roller set, blow-out process no matter hair length or texture, and if you happen to need a trim, they’ll take the extra five minutes to do it and send you on your way—same with white salons. But a black beautician isn’t satisfied with that simple wash and set, she’s going to show you how she earned that cosmetology license, all at your new growths expense. You already know you have to be careful with who you let cut your hair but if you haven’t already learned, you also need to watch out for who (hater) trims it too.

Have you ever had a hater trim?

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