Growing long hair is not for everyone. Many people cut their hair once they reach the “awkward” stage. If you decide to grow your hair out, be prepared to learn about yourself and the difficulties of long hair. Here are some tips and advice on the road to long hair. Keep in mind what works for me may not work for you. Hair comes in many textures and types. For resources and communities check the links at the end of the article.
Why Grow It Out?
I have always wanted to grow my hair out. My curiosity of long hair started when I met my older brother’s half brother. I remember watching him as he gathered his long hair to tie it into a tail. The males in my family show evidence of baldness, so I figured I should do it now before I begin to lose my hair.
How Long Will It Take & What Should I Expect?
The process of growing your hair out depends on your target length. If your goal is to rock a tail or a bun, you should expect between 16 to 18 months of growth time. Be patient and dedicated, don’t expect hair to grow quickly. My goal was to grow out my hair for at least 18 months.
Awkward Stage. The awkward stage is when your hair is not short enough to look neat nor long enough to tie up. The ability to overcome this stage separates the short hairs from the long hairs. The best advice I can give is to embrace it. Hats, beanies, and hair bands will become your best friend.
Tie It Up. Around month 12, I was able to tie the top of my hair. If your hair is long enough, you will be able to hold it up in different ways. Tying my hair became routine during activities such as eating, working out, showering, and cycling. Your hair will eventually get in the way and may end up in your food! I had a hard time figuring out ways to tie my hair, how not to tie my hair, and what hair products to use. So I turned to the internet and found many YouTube channels dedicated for men with long hair.
Shedding? Yes, you will begin to shed. The longer your hair gets, the more noticeable shedding becomes. When washing your hair you will find hair wrapped around your hand, and on your shower floor. From my girlfriend, I learned to collect these strands of hair, and stick them on the shower walls to throw them out later.
WASH. As a short hair, I would shampoo my head every day. As a long hair you do not wash daily! Depending on how quickly your hair dries up, you could be shampooing and conditioning your hair every 2 to 3 days. When you do condition, it is important to only condition the tips of your hair and avoid conditioning the roots of your hair. If you have thicker hair, then conditioning the roots is necessary.
AIR DRY. I let my hair dry on its own, if anything I will wrap it in a micro towel. Do not use the towel to roughly dry your hair, this is not good for your head and you will end up ripping some hair follicles out.
BRUSH! Brushing your hair becomes important. Never brush your hair when wet because your hair is very fragile and is most likely to rip out. Brush your hair back and forth for a good 1 to 4 minutes. Brushing is essential; it removes dead skin, hair follicles and keeps your head healthy.
TRIM? Deciding to trim your hair all depends on you. You don’t have to, but it is suggested. When growing out my hair, I made sure to trim it every 6 months to maintain healthy hair and promote growth. Trimming your hair will slow down your growth process. I trim my hair to keep it growing in a nice flow. I also make sure the person trimming my hair understands I want “the tips” to be cut and to cut as little as possible. Different parts of your hair will grow out at different rates. For example, the back of my hair grew out faster than my hair in the front.
What To Expect From Others
The following statements and questions are what I heard from friends and family throughout my growing period.
1. “When are you cutting it?”
2. “What is that mop on your head?”
3. “How long are you growing out your hair?” (disgusted look)
4. “You don’t look good, I don’t like it.”
5. “Why are you growing it out?”
6. “Who told you that you looked good?”
Be certain your decision to grow out your hair is for yourself. Understand you will get rude questions and comments. I never understood why people would tell me to cut my hair, as if doing so will make them happy. If you identify as a male you will be mistaken for a female.
The funniest time I have been mistake for a female was while I was waiting to be called in at the dentist. The assistant came out, and before he called my name he was struggling to find someone who looked like a “Steven”. Note, there were only three people in the waiting room, including myself. As long as I was happy with myself and embracing my mop, these questions and statements didn’t bother me.
Create a Team
In general, one should always be surrounded by individuals who will lift you up rather than put you down. One person that was a huge supporter during my growth period was my girlfriend. Having her as my partner in hair motivated me even more and helped me break down the rude comments and questions. Find a fellow long hair or long hair supporter(s) and stick by them.
What I Learned
I learned to understand that people’s opinions about who I was did not make me the person I am. My own beliefs are what matters to me. I have been told I will never be taken seriously and I can’t be a professional with my hair. In the end, these comments just motivated me even more to continue to grow my hair out. I learned to love myself even more and embrace my differences. My hair has become the symbol to my dedication, independence, and the weapon to break down cultural barriers.
Resources and Communities
Find people who are growing their hair out and follow communities that promote hair growth and give advice and tips.