For the lucky few out there capable of growing the long, flowing locks of hair so many follicly challenged men only dream of, we decided to create a quick guide to help ease you through the transition process of going from short, cropped hair to long hair that frolics in the breeze.
Many men are hesitant to grow their hair out, not because they think it looks bad, but because they worry about how difficult it will be to maintain. Rest assured, long hair is some of the easiest hair to manage. Just ask anyone with it. If you prefer regular men’s hair cuts, take a look at our hair style guide.
It’s that process in between – the growing out process – that is so challenging and makes you look more awkward than a freckled 12-year-old with a mouthful of braces. It takes some time and even more patience, but in the end, it can be worth it if you have a good stylist and a sense of style yourself. In other words, don’t even think of doing a mullet.
One of the most common questions asked by men is “how long will it take?” That’s a tough question since hair grows differently and at varying rates of speed depending on the person. However, if we look at the statistics, we know that the hair grows at a pace of about 1/4 inch every thirty days. Depending on how long you want to grow your hair, that’s a pretty good place to start.
The Growing Out Process
One of the most common mistakes men make when growing out their hair is just to let it go. If you do that you’re going to end up with split ends, uneven hair and probably look something like this mugshot of crazy-man Gary Busey. The goal is to keep manscaping it with your stylist. You don’t want to chop it, but get it texturized and trimmed so that it grows out with a healthy sheen, not a greasy shine. Focus on taking a little longer to grow it out so that it looks like you’re wearing it that way on purpose. Not like you were involved in some lab experiment gone wrong. By focusing on trendy styles like the samurai during the growing out process, you can eliminate the ‘awkward effect’ as your hair grows.
One tip most men don’t factor in is that they need to energize the hair. It’s a good idea to start taking some vitamin B7 and other vitamins that strengthen your hair follicles.
As your hair begins growing longer, it will do so from all angles. The best bet to maintain that dappered appearance is to focus on growing it out from the top first, followed by the back and the sides. In the beginning, try keeping the back and sides short, only slowly allowing them to fill in as the top of the head’s hair grows out.
Since the growth process can be tricky, you want to give the roots the best possible chance to sprout in a healthy and efficient manner. You may be tempted to cover your head with a hat, but you want to give it as much room to breathe as possible. It’s a wise idea to begin giving yourself hair treatments as suggested by a trained and reputable stylist based on your hair type. You’ll also want to eliminate any stress to your hair which means making sure it’s dry before running a comb through it. Using quality combs like the handmade ones from Kent, which don’t tear at the roots but simply allow them to glide through the teeth of the comb. Click here to buy a Kent comb.
It might be tempting to really work the shampoo or conditioner into your hair, but that’s not something you ever want to do – long hair or short. Instead, gently massage it the same way you’d expect from a massage parlor on some dingy road that asks if you’re a cop as soon as you walk in the door. In other words, be gentle with it. Healthy hair is a direct reflection of your body’s health. Those who stay in shape, eat well and take care of themselves are far more likely to be able to grow out a healthy head of long hair. Consider becoming more active and enjoying healthier meals over the standard burger and fries.
During the growing out process, this is an ideal time to start stocking up on all the products and hair accessories you’re going to need for your new do. No longer will you be using just pomades and gels so begin shopping for grooming creams, texture lotions and finishing sprays to add to your collection. For a list of the top recommended products, be sure to check out our guide to the best hair products for men. While pomades and gels are great for short hair, they tend to be too heavy for longer locks. Grooming creams are going to be your new best friend. Click here to learn about the best hair products for men.
One tip I have is to turn to women. When you’re at the salon buying new products, instead of asking the stylists look for other shoppers with healthy looking long hair and ask their opinion. For the most part, they’ll be happy to help, and if you’re a single guy, you might just meet a new friend. Stylists can be a great source of information but the women with the hair you want to touch tend to have the best information.
Styling Long Hair
Once your hair has grown to the length of your choice, now is the time to really get it styled. Make an appointment with the best stylist in your city and plan to talk strategy. A good hairstyle will properly frame your face and focus on your best features, your jawline and the overall shape of your face. Make sure the stylist has a good understanding of this so they can properly texturize and layer the hair, so it shows off your best side. A long hairstyle can make you look distinguished and dapper or like the homeless man on the corner begging for change. In the end, it’s up to you to maintain it, but you need help in the beginning to make sure it’s an easy task.
A good stylist will be able to give you enough shape so that you can handle daily maintenance which should be easier than it was when you had short hair. At home, the biggest factors that need to be taken into account are the quality of your tools, products, and accessories. You’re going to need the following:
– Hair products such as grooming creams, finishing sprays and even gels and pomades depending on the style and time of year. Using a pomade to tame unruly hair behind the ear can be useful if your hair tends to frizz in warmer temperatures.
– Good quality hair elastics that hold hair without pulling it.
– High-quality combs and brushes by companies like Baxter of California or Taylor of Old Bond Street. The last thing you want is the cheap bargain bin combs from the dollar store because they lose its teeth. Hard rubber coms are also excellent!
– Salon quality shampoo, deep conditioners and hair treatments.
– Other hair treatments like argan oil can really help to keep your hair healthy. Consider speaking to your stylist about various natural treatment options.
The absolute best source of information on long hair is going to come from your stylist. Sure we could discuss styles but you need to groom your hair so work with your face and quite frankly, no cut and dry style will do that. This is why it’s so important to find a good stylist you can trust and develop a relationship with. While it might be fine to switch between stylists with shorter hair, when you grow your hair long you need someone in your corner who knows exactly how your hair behaves. Take your time in the growing out process and find the person who works best with you. A good tip is to stop people on the street with great hair and ask where they get their hair cut. Do you have a favorite long hair style? Any tips or tricks that keep your long hair healthy and flowing?