(5 minute read)
You’ve been flirting with the idea of growing out your hair, haven't you? Becks has just done it so elegantly, Johnny Depp; the king of cool, has owned the look for decades now, and after 7 seasons of Game Of Thrones, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the women in your life telling you how hot Jon Snow is.
Having long hair comes with a host of benefits - the elegance, the cool, the versatility and the individuality all add up to make it a worthwhile investment of your energy and time. So, if you’re really serious about growing out your hair and reaping the rewards of owning a statement piece that could rival the classics such as a navy suit or your favourite biker jacket - read on for the ultimate guide in doing so.
The first areas to consider when weighing up a decision for longer hair are of course your hair type and density. Without healthy, full looking hair and strong enough growth in key areas such as the front hairline and temple area, the odds of you getting good results from longer hair begin to decrease dramatically. If you feel that could be you, don’t be too disheartened by that sentence as all is not lost yet. Spending some time with your barber or stylist discussing your hair type and options for longer styles is the only way to know for sure if longer hair is suitable for you. A good barber will manage your expectations effectively.
As is true with any other area of life, getting good results during the growing out process of your hair depends primarily on preparation. If you don’t already have a stylist you trust and whose advice you are willing to follow, start looking! Find yourself a barber that doesn’t lean too heavily on clipper cutting. Although clippers are a valuable tool, growing out a clipper haircut will be blocky and unflattering after a certain point and someone who also uses alternative techniques will be essential when the hair becomes longer.
If you’ve had short hair all of your life, you will probably think your hair grows fast. On average, hair grows around half an inch a month. When a skin fade becomes thick hair in four weeks; it feels as if you’re a wolf man. When hair that’s 6 inches long takes a year to double in length it feels as if your hair will never grow. It’s all relative. Growing longer hair takes time, so be prepared to wait. This is probably why subconsciously women find it so attractive: because long hair requires commitment and care. Traits not all men possess.
It is possible to enjoy the growing out process and have a multitude of looks along the way. Most people who try to grow out their hair panic and return to short hair at the dreaded “inbetween phase”, don’t let this be you. Another reason to find a stylist you can trust is that they can keep you looking stylish throughout. Growing out your hair shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid being well kept. A basic framework for what to expect and what can be achieved along the way is as follows.
A tapered haircut more commonly referred to as a short back and sides; similar to that of Ryan Gosling in Drive will be the first stop along the way. Request that your barber just refine the edges and lowest part of your hairline for a clean and sharp finish whilst the rest of your hair begins to grow. At this length hair is most commonly finished best with a matte clay and finger styled for a dishevelled look.
After 2 or 3 months this will then evolve into a graduated haircut; think Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby. By this point your hair will be at a sufficient length all over for you to begin letting the hairline grow out and develop some texture. At this length hair is best styled into a parting or undercut using a pomade or cream for a more natural or sleek finish.
Finally, after around 6 months or so your hair then becomes something along the lines of Bradley Cooper in Limitless, depending on texture. At this point it’s important for your barber to stop creating a top heavy shape and begin layering the hair and really reducing the density throughout the top portion of the haircut. As the hair is now longer, hair care becomes more important. Men who have had short hair all of their life have been getting the best conditioning treatment money can buy. They have the majority of their hair cut off every 4 weeks which always leaves hair healthy. With the hair becoming longer now it’s exposed to the elements for far longer between leaving the scalp and being trimmed, therefore a good quality shampoo and yes... a conditioner is essential as well. As always, a good barber will advise here too.
12 months or so into your journey, you can start to expect to appear something similar to a young Johnny Depp during his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. When you do, pat yourself on the back because you’ve made it. At this point your hair will be effortlessly cool and more versatile than you could imagine. Hair care over hairstyling becomes the focus as your hair will only remain attractive for you if it’s in good condition. No amount of matte clay can make unhealthy long hair look presentable. Regular appointments with your stylist are necessary but no more than a handful of times a year, depending on your desired image.
It would be a crime for me to leave out the important point that lifestyle has to be considered before embarking on this journey. If you’re expecting to be the next Usain Bolt and training comes before image, I wouldn't advise growing long hair. On the same token, if you’re a stay at home dad with newborn triplets; all things considered, Is there enough time in your schedule for maintaining longer hair? It’s safe to say that it becomes part of who you are just as much as the outfits you choose to wear, or friends you choose to keep.
These insights into growing longer hair should help in the decision making process. As mentioned above, spending some time discussing this matter with a stylist you trust should make everything much clearer. And now you’re armed with the knowledge to grow out your hair in style, what are you waiting for?