Without a doubt, long hair has been trending hard these last few years. All sorts of styles and cuts have emerged—from man buns, to loose Jesus waves, to silky manes à la Fabio—and now there’s quite a selection of cool ‘do’s to choose from should you decide to jump on the long-hair-don't-care bandwagon.
Here’s the hard truth, though: Growing out your hair is not as simple as you think. Unless you’re content with tossing back a headful of hobo hair, this endeavor is going to demand time, patience, and a more involved grooming and maintenance regimen.
Here’s what you’ve got to do:
1) Take stock of the sitch up top
First things first, check if long hair will actually work for you. On top of figuring out whether or not the style will suit your face and the shape of your head, also assess the texture of your hair—too fine and you might end up with stringy hair, too coarse and you might find yourself growing a bush up there. Keep in mind that long hair is not for everyone, so don’t force it if it’s simply not something you can pull off.
2) Visit your friendly, neighborhood barber
Just because you’ve decided to grow out your hair doesn’t mean you’re supposed to cut ties with your barber. It’s actually a good idea to have the sides and back of your hair clipped short when you're growing out the top, which typically takes longer to grow. This will help you maintain a good shape while you’re still in that awkward phase between long and short hair (and let you avoid the dreaded mullet, which will never be a good style choice).
Pro-tip: While you’re at this stage, take advantage of the cut and try out a pompadour or a quiff so that you’re hair is always on point, no matter how long it is.
3) ... and keep dropping by
Even after you’ve achieved that desired length, you still have to continue seeing your barber. The key to long, healthy hair is getting a regular trim to get rid of split ends that cause breakage. If you just let your hair grow wild and free, there’s a big chance it’ll become frizzy and brittle because of the damaged hair shafts. A visit every 8-12 weeks should be enough, but don’t hesitate to stop by your barbershop if you see your hair getting unruly before your next scheduled haircut.
4) Step up your shower game
Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, it’s actually not a good idea to shampoo your hair every day. The great irony in grooming skin and hair is that the more you wash them, the dryer and more damaged they might become. So avoid lathering up with shampoo on a daily basis, as this will strip your hair of it’s natural, protective oils and lead to breakage. Instead, keep it to just 2-3 a week, less if you can manage it while living in a tropical country.
In lieu of shampooing your hair, start conditioning regularly. When you’ve got long hair, you need to keep it strong and healthy, and that means using conditioner, which will help tame wild strands, repair damage, moisturize, and even stimulate hair growth.
Pro-tip: Never comb or brush your hair while it’s still wet. This will stretch and tear your hair. Avoid vigorous and rough towel-drying. Instead, take hold of the wet locks with your hands and gently squeeze out the moisture.
5) Be happy, be healthy
Your emotional and physical health can affect your hair. There’s a reason people start shedding their locks when they’re stressed or sick. So make sure to tweak your lifestyle: keep a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, always stay hydrated, and cut out stress as much as possible.
Growing out your hair takes time, so be patient. And don’t be lazy about hair care and maintenance, either. Trust us, long and luscious hair is more than worth the effort.