Dusting - What is it and how does it work?

February 18, 2021

What is it and how does it work? 

Most hairdressers will tell you that to have and maintain healthy hair, you need to get your hair trimmed every 6-12 weeks to keep your ends from splitting or becoming dry and snap off. With that being said not many clients are strict with their salon visits. Purely because they either can't afford to be going that frequent or simply because they fear the thought of losing more than just a standard trim on their hair. 

In saying that you can completely avoid the trim if need be and simply ask for something called dusting. (and no I don’t mean for you to ask your stylist to come dust your living room) Dusting is a term used by hairdressers which instead of actually cutting the length of the hair. It involves the hairdresser to trim very small amounts of hair that has either been damaged or split, to the point where it may not even look like you have had a haircut. The hair that's been cut is so minor that the clippings essentially look like dust. Hence the name ‘dusting’. The reason for dusting is to help avoid any split ends throughout the hair to be cut off so it prevents any further damage or the hair that has been split to not go any further up the hair shaft.

How does dusting work? 

Dusting can be done very similar to a standard trim - just depends on how in depth you want to do it. The best and most effective way however is to put the hair in sections as you would to trim the hair and start with the back.

Steps on how to do dusting: 

Step 1:
Personally I divide the back of the hair into 4 sections going vertically and starting with the bottom row section (nape of the neck). 

Step 2:
With the sections as said above, dusting depends on how in depth you want it done. You can either do more chunky or solid sections for a quick dust over, or you can create even smaller thinner sections so you can be more thorough with the dusting you wish to achieve. 

Step 3:
Once you have your section, you can then feed your first section or one row of hair in between your index and middle fingers. Gradually pull your fingers in a downwards motion so that any broken or split ends will be revealed that need to be trimmed or dusted off. This method usually works best for straight hair.

Step 4:
If you have curly hair however the best way to dust is to twist the sections horizontally until it’s neat and tight. Once twisted you will then see loose/broken/split ends poking out, these will be the strands of hair that you can trim or dust off. 

Keeping in mind that although hair may poke out it doesn't always need to be cut. Dusting is only used to help maintain any split or broken ends, some hair that pokes out may be new hair that has grown and isn't damaged. This being said the hair with no damage to it does not need to be cut. 

When to do dusting?

Unlike a haircut/trim which is recommended to be done every six to twelve weeks, dusting can be done more regularly if you feel your hair needs a cut but you don't want to commit to the actual cut itself. Dusting can be done either every visit or whenever you or your stylists feel it's needed. This being said though does not mean you can skip haircuts or trims, because no two strands of hair grow the same on the head and even the best of the best cuts still need to be re-cut and reshaped (especially short styles.)

The process of dusting needs to be done with patients and care. It's not something that can be rushed or hurried or done in a quick 5 minutes. You need to have a steady hand, Sharp scissors, and a slow pace to ensure that you are not cutting off unnecessary strands or ends of the hair. Not all hair on the head is damaged or broken. If you're in the market for new SHARP scissors click here to find your new pair! 

If you do wish to start regular dusting, still be sure to keep up with your normal cut at least every 6 - 8 weeks even if it is just minimal. One thing needing to be remembered is that you won't be able to get every damaged strand in the one sitting - if ever. There are so many hairs on the head and it is near impossible to cut all split ends at once, unless of course you shave your hair off which I’m sure that's not what you want to do. If you follow your normal hair care routine as well as dusting you better your chances of healthy hair and less loss of length and damaged ends.

What scissors are best used for dusting?

Generally speaking the best pair of scissors to be used for dusting is really what you’re most comfortable with and have the most control with. Needing control, steadiness and a slow motion with scissors is so important so you don't take too much away or worse the wrong section of hair! Only the well experienced hairdresser can be quicker with the motion of dusting. 

Now we have finished with the formalities and important stuff we can get down to the most important part… The scissor! Like I said before comfort is key so choose whichever handles are most comfortable for you, I personally prefer the Matsui Precision range for comfort. Purely because the fingers holes and handle are slightly bent and allows my fingers and wrist to not be as awkwardly bent as what it can be when it's on a standard pair. Please remember that's just me and my preference! No two hairdressers are the same. (Thank goodness) 

Onto the blade we go. This is where the steadiness and slow motion comes into play. The length of the blade is what determines exactly how much in one snip comes off. The longer the blade, the more comes off. The shorter the blade the less comes off - obviously! I personally prefer a 6inch blade which is a good I guess you could say ‘in the middle range’ length of blade. This gives me the ultimate control and steadiness to be able to determine how much or how little is going to come off, without either cutting too much away or having to repeat sections because not enough was taken away in the first place. 

What hair is best suited for dusting? 

All hair is perfectly suited for dusting. The only thing it comes down to is how healthy you want your hair to be. Straight hair is by far the best suited as you don't notice any shorter trimmed/dusted hair lengths whereas with curly hair - the healthier it is the more bouncy and spring like action it has. It just comes down to what the individual client wants for their hair and hairstyle. 

Your stylist should be able to talk with you about it to help make the right choice, but let's be honest - we all want healthy lush locks, we just need to be advised in which direction to take. If they have trouble advising you then maybe it's time to find a new stylist to make the right choice for you and your hair. 

Happy dusting!

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