Every now and then you want to explore a new style, which often requires growing out your hair. Well guess what? In theory, growing out your hair is actually pretty easy—just don’t touch it! In reality, this ends up being one of most difficult challenges for men with little to no experience in managing a longer mane. So for the guys that decide to take the plunge and go for it, we turned to Baxter Finley Barber & Shop‘s Frank Sariles for a few quick tips on how to get through this journey with success:
Consult and Partner with Your Barber or Stylist
Understanding how to manage and style your hair is not only important, it is a crucial part of this process; maintaining a neat and well-groomed appearance during the awkward phase of growth (between styles) will be your key to success. You should be prepared to spend some time learning how to style your hair with different products to help you through the transition. For example, while the firm hold of Clay Pomade or Hard Cream Pomade works well with shorter hair, you may find that you prefer the lighter, more natural hold of Cream Pomade or Grooming Cream as your hair grows. Take advantage of your barber/stylist’s expertise in these instances—they could just be the saving grace you need to make it through this.Take advantage of your barber/stylist’s expertise—you’ll quickly learn that this will be the saving grace that gets you through the awkwardness.
Plan Your New Look
Growing out your hair means a new hairstyle and a new look. Consider what your new style will consist of as it pertains to your grooming, including facial hair, and plan accordingly while you’ve got the time.
Start with an Even Cut
Odds are that unless you’re starting out with a shaved head, your hair is already uneven. This is actually pretty normal—very few men grow hair evenly throughout. This doesn’t mean you have to buzz it down in order to start over. If you’re starting off with some extremely uneven parts, it may be a good idea to even things up before you let it grow out.
Leave it Alone for 8 Weeks
Keeping in mind that everyone’s hair is going to grow at different rates, you’ll generally hit new style periods approximately every 8 weeks. At that point, you can cut your hair and have it remain in that growth style rather than returning it to what it was before.
Maintenance is a Virtue
While you should resist the urge to cut your hair for at least 8 weeks, remember not to neglect other areas of your head and face. Your body doesn’t know that all you want to do is grow the hair on the top of your head, and the tendency to completely shut down all grooming is what leaves men looking messy. Remember your eyebrows, neck, and facial hair is all still growing. Maintaining these areas effectively goes a long way towards presenting yourself as a man who is intentionally growing out his hair as opposed to someone who flat out became lazy.
Power Through the Awkward Phase
There will be some awkward times during those 8 weeks. As your new hair takes shape and style, it can be a new and uncomfortable time as you learn to deal with that new mop. Take it in stride and power through. Above all else, resist the urge to cut or trim it down. This will be the perfect time to revisit your barber/stylist to educate yourself on haircare and styling products that might assist you though this awkward stage.
Don’t Force the Style You’re Going For
Growing your hair out can be a lengthy process. Regardless of the look you’re going for, remember that it will take time to get there. Don’t force your hair into braids or buns if it’s not ready. Not only will you look silly, you could damage your hair in the process.
Growing out your hair isn’t as easy as simply putting down the scissors and backing away. Your new look will take time and there will be some messy, awkward experiences along the way. Some men struggle with their newfound locks while others embrace it.
In the end, a clean and focused approach will have your hair on its way to levels of handsomeness while minimizing the annoyance of coping with the awkward phase. Your regular barber/stylist understands your hair, perhaps better than you do, and will be happy to offer assistance during this time.