Deciding to let your hair grow long is not much different than deciding to grow a full beard, i.e., you need time, patience, and an idea of what you want. Let’s break it down and take a closer look; you’ll also want to check out our video to gain a better understanding of what we’re talking about.
Have a Plan
Take an honest look at the reasons and your goals for growing long hair. It’s a commitment, as well as something that needs to fit in with your lifestyle. You also need to make sure you have the extra time for your grooming routine, because longer hair requires a bit more time to maintain than shorter hair.
One of the best things you can do while growing long hair is to own it. By that, we mean stay committed to the process, even when your hair looks bad when it’s growing out. There are going to be mornings when you wake up and, no matter what you do, it looks bad. It’s much easier to “train” shorter hair, but with longer hair you need to endure those moments of annoyance when your hair is at different lengths.
It’s a lot like growing a beard. There will be moments in the process when you want to shave it off because of how it looks, but staying on track through the tough times truly pays off in the end. How long should you let it grow? Ideally, if you truly want long hair, you should give your hair about a year’s worth of growth before deciding your next move. Your hair will go through a lot of phases along the way, so be patient.
When you’re growing your hair out it’s like a new look every month and the ability to train it completely vanishes, as we discuss in this video.
Not that it’s always a hassle, because one of the beauties of growing your hair out is that there a lot of things you can try out – like ponytails – and play around with during the process.
Have The Right Tools
Investing in good tools is important whether you’re working on a car, doing a DIY project around the house, or when you’re taking care of your hair during the growing process. A wide-tooth comb is a good tool to have for hair care, as is a hairbrush with natural bristles. If you’re going the ponytail route, buy cloth-coated bands to hold things in place because they’re gentler on hair.
Have The Right Products
That $3 bottle of shampoo from your local drugstore is fine for when you have short hair, although, we still recommend using higher quality stuff. But any damage caused by cheaper shampoo when you have short hair is lessened by the fact that you’re going to cut your hair in a few weeks, anyway.
On the other hand, using shampoo of lesser quality, one that’s less gentle on the hair, isn’t the best idea if you have long hair or are in the process of growing it out. Cheaper shampoos will cause split ends, frizziness, and dry out your hair because they’ll strip it of sebum – the natural oils from your scalp.
It’s also important to find a shampoo that’s right for your type of hair, whether it’s oily, dry, or somewhere in between. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask your barber or stylist.
Another helpful tool for many men is hair oil, which helps prevent dryness. Just work a little bit into your hair at the roots and distribute it evenly over your scalp. A word of caution about oil, however. Make sure that you read the label carefully to see that it consists of all-natural ingredients. Some companies use non-natural ingredients such as silicone that may damage your hair. But, overall, hair oil is an excellent tool to have in your grooming kit if you have dry or frizzy hair.
After you’ve found the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, it’s time to wash your hair. It’s a good idea to use a wide-toothed comb to get rid of any tangles before you step in the shower and also when you hop out of the shower. Wet your hair with warm – not hot – water and then work the shampoo into your hair gently for a couple of minutes, then rinse. Next, apply your conditioner, which you also leave in for a couple of minutes before (ideally) rinsing it out with cool water.
There’s plenty of debate about how often you should wash your hair. One school of thought says daily washing will eventually dry out your hair, but you’ll want to wash your hair more frequently when you’re growing it out. In any case, you may want to scale back a bit regarding how often you wash your hair, and always use gentler shampoos.
We already touched a bit on drying your hair and the same basic rules apply to long hair as they do to all lengths and types of hair: 1) rubbing your hair with a towel to dry it makes it susceptible to damage; 2) pat dry or air dry your hair instead; 3) be careful of overdoing it with a hairdryer, so keep the heat lower and your hair should be slightly damp when you finish.
Avoid Too Much Sun
We all know how excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can damage skin, but it can damage your hair, as well. The good news is that there’s a variety of hair products designed to protect your hair from the sun, including shampoos and conditioners.
Protect Your Hair From Chlorine
The chlorine found in swimming pools can easily dry out your hair and cause it to become brittle. But you can protect your hair by wetting it first – with regular water, that is – and then apply a mild conditioner before you take a refreshing dip.