Considering growing your hair? Fades have dominated men’s hair recently but what happens when you decide you want to grow your short haircut and go for a longer, looser style?
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Due to the extreme difference in hair length, the fade can be particularly challenging to grow out gracefully. How do you avoid the awkward in-between phases of hair growth?
We asked hair experts for their advice on how to grow out your hair (for men) and skip the awkward middle stage.
Expert Tips for How to Grow Out Your Hair in Stages
1. Prepare your hair goals to lay a foundation
Obry stresses the importance of communicating your hair length goals to your barber, “My best advice would be to know where you’re going and what’s your goal in terms of length. It’s important for us stylists to know how to prepare the foundation.
The choice of the style/haircut depends on a lot of different parameters. It’s the reason why we spend a good amount of time here at Martial Vivot on a consultation.
We define the styling habits of our clients and also their lifestyle, their work environment (most people in the city work in very corporate/conservative industries), and the amount of time they’re willing to spend styling their hair in the morning.”
So, come armed with some photos or idea of what you’d like to achieve but also be prepared to listen to your barber’s personalized advice.
2. Start by cutting your hair to a more uniform length
Obry suggests cutting your hair shorter to begin the process, “Transitioning can be tough and a long process, especially because of the fade/undercut trend. Most of the time, the disconnection created by barbers between the side and the top doesn’t leave much room for a dramatic change.
If a client does come to me with this request, I usually advise them to go for a shorter haircut in order to catch up with the sides and start over with a more even base.”
It might feel frustrating to want to grow out your hair and instead end up with shorter hair. However, in the long run it’ll pay off.
3. Keep the edges clean as you grow out your hair. Or more specifically – how to avoid a mullet
Of course, hair will grow in all by itself. But that’s not the best tactic if you want to keep a professional appearance. Linares emphasizes regular maintenance as your hair grows in, “Keep the edges clean: Transitioning to a longer, brushed-back style takes time and patience, and there will definitely be an awkward phase to push through as your hair gets to the length it needs.
During this time, visit your hairdresser regularly for minor cleanups, especially at the neck and around the ears. Keeping the perimeter of the haircut tidy will allow the interior to grow in nicely without the shape looking unkempt.
4. Learn how to style longer hair
As for styling longer hair, Linares advises, “Preparation is everything: Longer hair can definitely misbehave throughout the day, so disciplining it right away is essential.
Using a blow dryer with the right preparatory styling products will set your lookup for success. Focus more on foundational volume or smoothing products (depending on your needs) that can be blown dry into wet hair.
This sort of styling will create the behavior you want in your hair, and going from wet to dry with the right product will provide longer-lasting control than just finishing products like pastes and pomades, creams, or hairspray. Save those for last, to provide the final touch to the established look.
How you style it might also depend on your hair type. Longer hair shows more texture, so if you’ve got curly hair, you’ll need to style your curls so they’re defined (or flat-iron them). If you’re dealing with thinning hair, you’ll want to find hairstyles that maximize the volume of your hair.
1. Plan for growing your hair out in stages and realize how fast your hair will grow
As perhaps the most universal factor, men’s hair grows about half an inch per month. As such, realize that it will take anywhere from six months to a full year to get the length and cut you desire, if not to just get past the awkward stage.
Depending upon where you’re starting from, it might mean waiting a total of 18 months. Time period, too, varies. It might take less if you start with a short, slicked-backed cut than if you’re essentially starting from scratch with a buzzcut, crewcut, or even a French crop.
In turn, prepare for the awkward stages, where your hair might stand up or fall forward. In line with the expert tips above, some ways guys get through this period are:
- Wearing a hat or beanie, particularly as the hair is in its sticking up stage. However, we realize this isn’t entirely feasible when you’re out at the gym, in the workplace, or playing sports.
- Learning to use the right products and style your hair through the awkward stages. Sometimes, you can camouflage uneven length by slicking back your hair, or opting for the textured and tousled route for an intentionally messy, grunge-inspired look.
- Timing when to grow out your hair as a man with a vacation or holiday.
- Working with a stylist to thinning it out around the sides and ears.
2. Learn how to style your hair as you grow it out or how to avoid a mullet when growing your hair out
Let’s face it: When your hair’s growing up and out, some hockey hair will soon result. Although retro cuts (see the quiff) are back in style, the mullet hasn’t made such a grand return, and continues to carry around over two decades of baggage. As such, you have to make an upkeep plan to steer clear of any party-in-the-back looks.
For the best course of action, work with your barber or stylist to keep it clean around the ears and neck — but emphasize during your appointments that you want to keep the top long. Generally, you want a touch up every four to six months.
As a third option, grunge hair has made a moderate return. Get inspired by your favorite early-90s rockers, and once your hair starts to have some length, add some waves and texture for a light tousled look that appears as if you’ve just gotten out of bed to do a rock gig.
3. How to make your hair grow faster or why hair growth products don’t actually work
We’re getting this out of the way: It’s a myth that certain supplements can make your hair grow faster. There’s no magic pill that, within a few weeks, will leave you with luscious locks. However, certain practices and habits actively go against how to properly grow your hair out as a man, and instead leading to thinning and breakage.
To start, many factors involved in growing your hair out can’t be controlled — mainly, your hair type, age, and any underlying medical conditions and medications you take to keep them under control. But, a couple are within your grasp: Particularly, what you eat and your stress levels both have a noticeable effect on your hair.
With these factors in mind, changing up a few daily habits eases the lengthy, year-long process of growing out your hair:
- Get plenty of sleep – at least seven hours. What many men fail to realize is, as you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that speed up cell production and turnover and, in turn, affect how you regrow your hair.
- Reduce sources of stress. Added to the point above, significant stress interrupts the body’s cell production, which affects your hair’s growth phase and, long term, can thin out your hair.
- Think about styling. Certain factors place additional physical stress on your hair, which can lead to breakage. These include twisting and pulling, from hairstyles like ponytails and braids, to harsh chemicals used for bleaching and styling.
- Consider a scalp massage. Doing this daily is said to improve circulation to the hair follicles, which in turn reduces hair thinning.
- Examine your diet. For both men and women, a diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and reducing the amount of sugary, calorie-dense foods helps combat hair thinning and loss. As well, consider incorporating iron-rich foods and supplements.
Products to Use When Growing Out Your Hair for Men
Lightweight (under 1 lb) and quiet ionic blow dryer delivers powerful airflow. Use it to create smooth, frizzless hair. Built-in ceramic/tourmaline ion generation.
Redken Brews Clay Pomade is a good finisher after blowing dry — it creates a pliable matte finish that just gets better the more you handle it.
With a soft-to-medium hold, this product lets you sculpt your hair on your terms, adding volume and texture without a hint of stiffness. The organic, aloe-based formula pairs waxes and oils that sculpt and nourish strands, and rinse away easily.